The always-insightful D. Keith Robinson has sparked another interesting round of discussion with his two recent posts, attempting to pin down just what factors make a weblog worth reading. I, being a whiney lonely little nobody, lamented my lack of readership. But it wasn’t just whining, really, I swear. There’s a point to it.
My greatest stumbling block is thinking of things to write about. Or rather, deciding what is actually worth writing about. As a reader, I want the blogs I frequent to offer content of actual substance, to be about something, not idle ramblings about some person’s ordinary life. And of course I want to be the kind of blogger that I want to read. Aye, there’s the rub.
I seek out information on the topics that interest me. By the time I read about them the subject has already been covered, so I tend to assume there’s not much need for me to expound further. Should I bother finishing my tutorial on the intricacies of converting an unordered list into a menu, or should I just point to this article, and this one, and this helpful blog post? It hardly seems worthwhile to rehash and regurgitate what I’ve read elsewhere. I’d enjoy writing it and get some personal satisfaction out of it, but why would anyone else read it when they can find it in all in the same places I did? Perhaps I falsely presume that if I know something, so does everyone else. It’s common knowledge, isn’t it? Of course you have to apply a border-bottom to those block-level list items to keep IE from adding line breaks, everybody knows that!
So I probably pass over many topics I could write on, just because I know what I’ve seen before. And with no readership to tell me what they’re interested in reading, I continue to figuratively bite my tongue. I currently have at least four unfinished articles held in draft stasis, likely never to be seen because I think the subjects have been well covered already. Maybe I’ll finish that list tutorial after all, since at the very least I could put it all in one place. And maybe plenty of people don’t know the inner workings of the spam trade and would welcome Yet Another Spam Article that defines all the terms all over again. I need to get over my fear of redundancy and just write whatever the hell I damn well please. If people don’t read it, so be it, people don’t read lots of things.
Then along comes the Great Whitespace Blog Review, with Scrivs offering to give some exposure to 20 obscure blogs he deems worthy. I’m slightly hesitant to submit myself, just because I don’t want to be That Guy. But you know what… I am That Guy. I want to be heard. I want to join the community. Blogging is very much a cathartic outlet, a platform for self expression, a playground for my fancies, and I enjoy it as such. I’m free to blather on about the things I’m passionate about. But as I’ve been at it in some form or other for about three years and still have no real sense of an audience, it becomes difficult to legitimize the effort. If I’m going to put this much time into maintaining something, I’d really like to make some contribution to the world. I’d like to know someone is listening.
So, I’ll submit myself to Scrivs for review. And if you reached me by clicking through, thanks very much for reading this far. But now I’d like some feedback. Take a look around, dig through the archives, view my source even. Then leave a comment. Tell me what you like and don’t like, what you want to see more of or less of, what kind of stuff I should be writing about that would make you bookmark or blogroll me. I might even listen to suggestions. I blog because I want to, but I’ll feel much better about it if you want me to blog too.