Does the way you read other people’s blogs influence the way you write your own?
My fellow blogger and photographer Jim Grey recently wrote about how he reads blogs and compiles posts of interest for his weekly “Recommended Reading” round up, which I recently, er, recommended, along with a few others.
It prompted me to think about how I follow and read blogs, and how this might inform the way I write posts here on 35hunter.
How I Read Blog Posts
First, I don’t follow many blogs. Currently it’s around 30, but some of those haven’t posted in months. I estimate I see perhaps two or three new posts a day on average.
Those I do follow, I generally read every post. I only followed them in the first place because a high enough percentage of their posts were what I felt worth my reading time on a consistent basis.
Now this might all sound a bit pompous, but a major lesson I’ve learned in life with all kinds of things, is that we only have so much energy, focus and time “between the horns of the day“.
What works for me is doing less and doing it better.
I’d rather read three blog posts fully, enjoy them, and find them memorable and inspiring in some way, than skim three dozen and get virtually nothing from any of them.
Hence why I don’t follow many blogs.
This is also one of the main reasons I don’t do social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
I don’t like all that frantic skimming and swiping, and find it too much surface noise with no feeling.
I don’t want to use my valuable and limited time online constantly curating the best posts to read. I want to find and follow writers that consistently produce worthwhile work, then enjoy them.
This evolved from how I used to read magazines.
When I subscribed to a monthly or weekly publication like the NME, Q or Mountain Biking UK, I would relish devouring the contents cover to cover.
Partly to get my money’s worth, and partly because I liked (and still like) immersing myself in one thing for a sustained period, rather than dipping into a dozen.
I’m the opposite of one of those tiny pond skaters that appear to defy gravity and skitter across the surface of the water. I dive in deep and stay under!
How I Write Blog Posts
How I read blogs then influences how I write.
I rarely go for “click bait” titles like “5 Ways To Transform Your Film Photography Skills Overnight”, with a snappy and simplified intro.
In my day job working in a local authority, when we revamped our website a couple of years back, a major part of the redesign brief was that the average adult reading age is apparently 10 years old in the UK, so we need to write so a 10 year old can understand it.
I don’t want to do this on my blog, because you’re not the average reader.
I want to have lengthy, sometimes obscure titles.
I want to ramble on sometimes, and use sentences that are three times the length of a Twitter post.
I want to have posts that occasionally tumble on towards two, even three thousand words, because that’s how long I feel it takes to explore the subject fully.
I want to use the kind of language I use in my daily conversation, and not simplify it so it sounds, like, you know, like, great, like, dope, like awesome…
So much language around us today is dumbed down, butchered even.
Now I love how language evolves, the richness of local dialects, and the quirks of pronunciation. (I remember an old friend who could never wrap her head (or indeed tongue) around how to pronounce cacophony. Instead of ca-coff-oh-nee, she would also say cacca-foh-nee, which was very endearing.)
And from the majority of comments on here, it seems you speak in a very similar more expansive language, and enjoy the deeper thinking and more interesting conversation around being a photographer that we share.
Again it’s about slowing down, going deeper, investing more time and thought in fewer things, and enriching the experience along the way.
Now I appreciate there are others who love following a hundred different blogs and a thousand people on Twitter, and scanning through to find the glittering gems amongst oceans of sand. If that works for them, that’s fantastic.
But that’s just not for me, as a reader of blogs, or a blogger myself.
Perhaps it is no coincidence this is how I photograph too.
Slowly, intentionally, thoughtfully, rather than auto-everything scattergun, in the hope that one of those 37 shots will be good afterwards.
How about you? How do you follow and read blogs? And if you have your own blog, does the way you write mirror the way you read?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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