Trent Polack's site for cats, games, game development, and undeniably powerful sociological insight all with a healthy dose of narcissism.
My Article-Writing Habit/Guidelines
Published on March 31, 2008 By mittens In Blogging

After a few days of Nick's endless campaigning, I finally signed up for Twitter; it was an odd concept for me and one I was greatly resistant to doing. After all, I never use the Facebook status messages or anything, so why would I want a system which is exactly that? He said "just try it, you'll like it; it's hard to explain." He even linked me to other blog entries about it and I still thought it was insane. Finally, I gave in. I said I'd try it. And now, a week later, I have about a hundred updates. Once I integrated it into my my site and got some more friends (namely, game developers) using it, I saw the appeal: it's a fantastic way to just quick-talk about whatever I'm working on, what I'm having issues with, what bug I just resolved, a link I want to share, and so on.

But that's not what this entry is about. Twitter got me thinking about my blogging habits and some of the rules I follow whenever I write an entry to my site.

  • Specific Topics: Anyone who has read one of my three sites before knows that, for the most part, I write about a very small subset of issues: games, game development, writing, television/film, and, rarely, about a recent move I made or life accomplishment (graduation or something). I don’t write about personal things, politics, sports, or whatever because, for one reason, the things I write about tend to be whatever is on my mind and interesting to me at the time of writing. The other reason and, in this enormous blog-filled Internet, the people who read my site/articles can expect certain kinds of content. Ever since I've started being more consistent with my writing topics, I've found that I have received a great deal more interest and page views (something I could increase even more if I tried to publicize my site more, I'm told). The most important, though, is that a person writes with consistency over time; letting a site stagnant absolutely severs a reader base.
  • Avoid Personal Life: This is something a lot of people write about and, really, what makes a lot of people keep blogs in the first place. It was why I started blogging five-six years ago. But, as time went on, both my name and my handle ("mittens" is lucky enough to be a very common word but my alternate name when that is taken is not) became very well-associated with my activities over a wide number of websites. After a handful of blog entries where I used the medium to vent or ramble on about certain situations (whatever they may be) were found by people who would have known what I was referring to I stopped writing about personal things. I later transitioned to very general personal entries but, at this point in time, I have so many topics I love writing about that personal topics rarely are at the top of my "I should write about this" list. Writing is an inherently-cathartic activity but, really, a rant is just as well-served when talking with friends unless, of course, that's the only reason a person's blog exists and he/she is readily okay that everything they write is in the public domain (unless it's kept absolutely private and treated like a diary/journal).
  • Keep it PG: To be honest, I have the tendency to swear up and down, toss vulgarities here and there, and generally "cuss" like a sailor (I'm not sure why sailors got the bad rap). I know a whole bunch of words and I love to employ the extent of my lexicon but, really, swear words are just more fun. This all said, I never swear when I'm writing a blog entry or article. Years ago, when I had started blogging, this wasn't the case whatsoever but now readers would be hard-pressed to see anything above a "damn" or "hell" and even those two words are rare. A majority of the things I write are aimed at a very specific audience (gamers, programmers, and game developers) and all of these people tend to be above the age of fourteen-to-sixteen, but I still see no real need to swear in the kinds of articles I write. It detracts from the tone of a piece and doesn't add to the personality of an article whatsoever, it just makes it annoying to the people who dislike vulgarities.
  • Originality: Above all else, I like to write about things that I don't think other people are writing about or, at least, in the same way/sense that I am. This is kind of the narcissistic aspect of keeping a blog (though that is kind of covered by the mere existence of a personal blog in general), but the kinds of topics seen in my blog are things that I think are unique to my site/blogs. I know a whole lot of super-smart people can contribute on these topics just as well as I can (and, most likely, far better), but since I like writing in general, it can't hurt to try. If nothing else, I believe my writing style has a distinctly me kind of tone so even if I write an entry that magically covers the exact same points as John Doe's recent entry, I can do it in a way that is unique.
  • Desperation: When all else fails, rely on the cuteness of animals and tired Internet memes.

It's worth noting that I loathe the word "blog," but felt it was inescapable for this entry.

on Mar 31, 2008
After a few days of Nick's endless campaigning, I finally signed up for Twitter;

He inadvertently got this JoeUser twitterfied as well. It's a contagion.

Nice site, by the way.