Many years ago, the smartest woman in the world gave me some great advice, hoping to mentor me into improving a newsletter I used to edit. She told me that being an editor is really hard, because you have to say no to people a lot. You have to be very demanding about what you choose to publish, always asking yourself if the story is interesting enough for your readers. You even have to say no to your boss sometimes, when he or she suggests a story that makes sense for internal reasons, but which you know will turn out to be a dud. It sounds obvious, but I think her point is often missed by people editing newsletters, and especially people publishing blogs.
I read a lot of blogs. I collect them compulsively as I surf the Internets. And as I peruse the blogosphere, I think about Virginia's advice a lot. As much as I believe that blogging is a revolution in our culture, I also see that there's a lot of really boring stuff out there, and as a reader, I wish bloggers would show a bit more self-restraint. For what it's worth, here are some of the pet peeves of a blog fanatic:
- Don't describe your blog as "the random thoughts of..." or "a day in the life of..." Zzzzzzzzzz
- Don't telegraph your humor. (Joke!) If you have to tell someone you're joking, it's not funny.
- For god's sake, learn to spell.
- If it's been on Boing Boing, or Instapundit, or the like, don't bother posting about it unless you've really got something to add.
- (And just an aside, don't ever, ever, have music start playing automatically on your Web site. It makes me want to stab you.)
Would the commenters like to add anything to the list?