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January 23, 2009

How Do You Blog A Complaint?

One front page story at Philippine Star a few days ago involved four students of the Quezon City Science High School (a government-run science-oriented institution) being suspended due to several blog posts being severely critical of the school’s administration, particularly its principal.

Officials of the Quezon City Science High School (QCSHS) recently suspended four students who allegedly posted a blog that criticized the school’s principal.

The concerned blog … contains articles and photographs against Sadsad’s policies and person as well as the students’ gripes over irregular lunch hours and required subjects, among others.

The personal attacks against Sadsad in the blog even included violent declarations such as “Sadsad must die.”

While much of the students’ blog postings are on locked Multiply accounts–meaning they not for public consumption, but rather accessible to friends only–the Star cited another Multiply account as subject of the controversy.

I’m not taking sides on this issue yet. For all I know, the students’ gripes might be valid. But i usually get taken aback when people overdo it when they air their gripes online–especially if one resorts to personal attacks. This often results in a knee-jerk reaction, which can similarly be personal in nature. As bloggers, are we becoming a community of whiners? And because of this, are other people becoming overly defensive and over-reacting whenever they are attacked online? And why do we resort to ad hominem attacks?

On some forums and sites that I manage, I have experienced being on the receiving end of personally-directed attacks, too. Some are through private emails, some through public comments. Sometimes the argument gets lost in the midst of name-calling, swearing, and typing in all caps (probably the worst of ‘em all, eh?).

Then again, there’s a difference between launching an attack on one’s person and the recipient’s taking a valid argument too personally. But whether it’s one thing or the other, the perception of people reading rabidly-written complaint blog posts might not be too good. read more

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December 21, 2008

Don’t Give Excuses. Just Blog.

There comes a time in a blogger’s life when time for writing is a bit too sparse, and you can only post once in a while. And one mistake that most bloggers make is to do those “I’ve been busy …” and “Sorry I haven’t posted much lately …” posts, or something to that effect, where you detail practically everything that makes you busy, to the extent that you miss the point of your post, and focus only on why you weren’t able to post for the past few days/weeks/months.

I’ve been reading through Stephane Grenier’s Blog Blazers (my review at Performancing) and one of the common blogging mistakes cited by the interviewed top bloggers was exactly this. The point is that if you’ve been busy, then you shouldn’t have to explain yourself. Just write. Just publish. Just blog.

read more

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November 3, 2008

7 Blogging Tips from David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy, in what is perhaps one of history’s greatest understatements, referred to himself plainly as an “advertising man”. The truth is that, in many circles, Ogilvy is though of, even today, as the advertising man, an idol in an industry where egos often run very high.

Though he first retired over thirty years ago, his writings and teachings are still standard reading for college students today. Over the course of his 40-plus year career he helped create many of advertising’s most famous print ads, he founded Ogilvy and Mather, an advertising agency is still thriving today, and he wrote two books that are still relevant today.

Ogilvy was known for his laser-focused efforts on creating ads that “make the cash register ring”. Though his approach was not as “creative” as others in the field, it was very effective. His ads also tended to favor longer body copy, including at least one ad that contained some 10,000 words. In fact, Ogilvy’s first book, “Confessions of an Advertising Man” was originally written as a lengthy piece of direct marketing, mailed out to prospective clients.

Though Ogilvy died in 1999, he left behind a powerful legacy and one that any writer, no matter the field, can glean something from. Even today, in the age of the Internet, his philosophies, Ogivlyisms and rules remain just as effective today as they did forty years ago.

What are some tips Ogilvy has to teach bloggers, here is just a sample. read more

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September 24, 2008

Guest Posting is the New Article Marketing

Filed as Features with 7 comments

Right as I throttle down my guest posting to the lowest in my blogging career it seems guest posting is gaining steam.

This is because it’s not just traditional bloggers who are realizing the value of guest posting, but marketers, SEOs and other webmasters. Rather than looking for profile and personal brand building, these folks are using the tactic for growing their traffic and links. read more

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September 10, 2008

Blogging and the Handwriting Challenged

My handwriting sucks. I’m sure of it. I sometimes can’t even read my own notes. It’s worse than doctors’ prescriptions. One of my elementary school teachers even likened it to chicken scratchings on the ground.

It all started when I was in preschool. Being the obsessive-compulsive kid I was, I always used a ruler to straighten the lines of my letters. I loved it when I wrote those I’s, T’s, X’s and other letters with straight lines. When there were curves, I even used the rounded edges of coins just to make ‘em nice and round.

I had nice, straight lines, and nicely-shaped curves. But my teacher kept scolding me because I was always the last to finish writing works. And so I was forced to learn how to write without guides. And without these, my handwriting really deteriorated. My hand easily got tired, I had sweaty palms, and while I’m right-handed, I wear my watch on my right wrist, adding to the strain.

Meanwhile, I had my first experience with computers at ten, when we had our first PC-XT compatible at home. That really changed things, because I quickly became very adept at computing. I often topped my school’s computer classes. I typed the fastest. I encoded and finished programming works easily. read more

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September 3, 2008

What Do You Want When You Blog?

Filed as Features with 4 comments

When you post your blog content, what do you want to happen?

  • Adsense clicks?
  • Comments and reactions?
  • Attention and traffic?
  • Links and SEO boost?

There are many motivations for writing content, and how you approach blogging has to suit your goals. read more

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September 1, 2008

Are You a Non-Ad-Clicker?

Chris Garret recently wrote about the suggestion that clicking on ads would be like tipping a blogger. Consider the opposite. Are you the kind of blog reader who would go to great lengths just to avoid clicking ads?

I’m like this sometimes. And it’s not only because I’ve grown desensitized to ads (ad blindness). But it also stems from being overly-cautious. For one, clicking on bad links seems to be one of the popular ways of getting infected with malware. Because of this I try to avoid clicking emailed links. I usually copy the URL and paste. Or if it’s a service I use, I type the URL directly. And when browsing, I always check the URL on my status bar before clicking. If I find an AdSense ad interesting, I usually just type in the URL–if the URL is visible–on another tab to see what it’s all about. read more

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August 26, 2008

Help Blog Readers Keep Up With You

I’m a fan of Groklaw, but like any long-running soap opera, I tune out for weeks – okay, months – at a time and then check back in. I love the copyright news and litigation insider bits, but sometimes, unlike an ongoing soap opera, I don’t know what is being talked about. I can’t catch up.

Lately, there have been a lot of coverage dealing with SCO, IBM, and Novell. Two of the three I know, but the fourth I don’t recognize. Even if I knew all three of the acronyms, I don’t know enough of the story to follow the current blog posts.

In the legal world of who did what to whom and why, I’m trying to catch up. Why?

That’s what I keep asking myself.

A blog is a chronological vehicle of expression as well as communication. The most recent post may be the latest in a long back story that can go back for days, weeks, months, even years. However, I just landed here. I need to get caught up fast!

Which begs the question:

Is it my responsibility, as the reader, to keep up with the story, or should the blogger play a role in helping bring me up to speed? read more

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August 24, 2008

Blogging Under Pressure

Pressure make diamonds, but does blogging under pressure make for a better blog and blog posts?

Joss Whedon, Creator and Executive Producer of the television series, Firefly, summed up the show in the season’s DVD extras in a way that reminded me of how many bloggers work under pressure to publish:

A lot of the pressure of being a show that might be canceled at any moment really helps you. It doesn’t help your digestion, it doesn’t help your marriage, but what it does help is your storytelling. Because you go back and say what is the most important thing I need to feel. What is the most primal story. What is the thing that is going to show how great this crew is, how funny they are, how brave, how disjointed – whatever it is you need. What do I need to get to the primal story?

A television and film under pressure of a time crunch and the threat of cancellation still has time to go back and “get it right” – clean out the clutter and time wasting words to really get to the point. Does a blogger have that kind of time?

There are a variety of pressures a blogger can be under. Time, timing, and word counts are the three key pressure factors I see most often at work. read more

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August 22, 2008

Do You Make Snap Posts?

I have been collecting topic suggestions from my readers this week and one of the replies I got was not a suggestion for my forthcoming content but a cry for help.

This blogger had been notified by a visitor that some of her old posts were, while funny, likely to land her in hot water. She quickly thanked the visitor and unpublished two or three of the worst offenders.

That wasn’t where the problem ended though. read more

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