Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Ten Commandments of Blogging

1. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's blog. Sure, everyone else's blog appears to have nicer type faces, amazing graphic inventions, and an imaginative set of divisions. Their desk is probably neater than yours. People will read your blog for the content.

2. Thou shalt not raise hell nor rant. Blogs are marketplaces for ideas, museum walls for verbal or graphic images of the interior reaches of your creative process. You want to rant, flame, and bash--go listen to Rush Whatsisname.

3. Thou shalt not post entries defending or castigating yourself for not having blogged. Bloggers have enough issues with their own posting performance without wanting to read about your ennui, anomie, or hectic life; they look to you as you should look to you, in good faith and interest. You want self pity--go watch streaming videos of George W. Bush's press conferences.

4. Thou shalt give credit to whom credit is due. It is legitimate and instructive to quote, attribute, ratify, or take issue with an idea expressed on another site, provided you give credit to the author. Internet technology makes it possible for artists to be ripped off; the blogging world can be a source of the culture of morality in which the artist gets credit for the work. Plagiarism sucks

5. Thou shalt not ask another blog site to link to you. It is lovely to be popular; the whirring sound of clicks on the counter you have installed on your web site can be hypnotic, but do not ask. You can link; you can even tell the linkee that you have done so. Period. It stops there.

6. Thou shalt keep relevant thy responses and comments posted on other blogs . Even one- or two-word responses are Kosher, so long as they remain clearly identifiable as an expression of agreement, support, and/or disagreement. Opaqueness doesn't get it. Cuteness doesn't get it. Trashing commentary is of a piece with tagging the Mona Lisa; it is an advertisement for Rush Whatsisname, and you don't want to do that, do you?

7. Thou shalt not make anonymous comments/responses on other sites. That speaketh for itself. You want people to think you're a nut case or a coward? If it's worth posting, it's worth owning.

8. Thou shalt spell check thy blog before posting. Language changes, sometimes even spelling and punctuation conventions change; sometimes the heat of enthusiasm gets one typing fast, but a spell check speaks to the dignity and integrity of the intent.

9. Thou shall avoid sarcasm. Sarcasm and its first cousin, irony, are complex emotions, requiring the kinds of revisiting and revision to bring off with success that are not inherent in the spontaneity and improvisational freedoms of the blog.

10. Thou shalt not celebrate numbers. No welcoming the hundred thousandth visitor to your blog, no opening the champagne over the hundredth or five hundredth or thousandth posting. Let the celebration come from content of the blog post rather than from mere numbers. Indulge and enjoy the miracle of having a site, posting to it, and giving it your best thoughts and feelings about tangible things.

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