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Thing 5 in the 23 Things for Research course on social media asks us to explore each other’s blogs.  I enjoyed this introduction to the wide variety of participants and began to follow a few.  In doing so, I found myself reflecting on what, in my opinion, makes a good blog.

Why Do I Follow a Blog?

I posted a criticism earlier that “some blogs have no point”.  My friend Meagan asked whether they really needed one.  An existential question, to be sure.  My answer is this: someone doesn’t need to have a point to write a blog, but a blog needs to have a point for me to read it.

What do I mean by that?  What qualities do the blogs that I follow share?

1. The blog’s content is interesting and insightful.  Some blogs I follow out of professional or educational interest; Balliol Archivist and Monasticism in 100 Manuscripts sparked my curiosity as a former student of history.  Others I follow to live vicariously; I am fascinated by #bodathon’s project to visit all of the Bodleian libraries.

2. The blog content is mostly on-topic.  I start following a blog based on my interest in the author’s insights on a specific subject.  I lose interest if the material deviates frequently from the subject attracted me to the blog in the first place.

3. The blog is well-written.  I prefer writing that is considered, organized and grammatically correct.  I was never a fan of stream of consciousness, so posts that ramble or perhaps weren’t edited don’t hold my attention.

Why Would Anyone Follow Amy’s Inkwell?

Frankly, I don’t know.  I don’t believe that I would follow a blog like mine right now.  How horrid is that?

My blog doesn’t have a central theme; my content is all over the map.  At best, I can say that my subjects and verbs agree most of the time.

What Should I Do About It?

I should write considering an audience with criteria such as my own.

1. I should pick a cornerstone subject for Amy’s Inkwell and focus on posts that build on that foundation.

2. I should limit off-topic posts in the future and curate the existing posts as not to obscure the content that a reader might expect from Amy’s Inkwell.

3. I should always edit my posts.  Amy’s Inkwell may be an informal pet project, but I want to represent my thoughts to the best of my ability and to be proud of the content that I’ve sent out into cyberspace.

It’s clear to me that if Amy’s Inkwell is to have a purpose online, I need to make these changes.  Otherwise, maybe I should just pull out my diary and write for an audience of one.

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