This is the seventeenth post in our “How I Blog” series. To read the rest, visit the archives. Interested in participating? Drop us a note about ‘How I Blog’ along with a photo or yourself or your blogging space at tips [at] blogmedia [dot] biz.
Haasim Mahanaim, Journalism Student, Blogger.
I am a journalism student, so I try to apply the lessons I learn in the classroom. So when I see a developing story, I try to do research and send out interview requests so I can add to the story. But since I’m just some nobody blogger, I don’t usually get many replies. Although, surprisingly, there are times when people are very willing to talk with me. Right now I am working on a variety of articles that I’m really excited about. You know that Seinfeld joke, “The Summer of George”? Well I’m hoping this will be the summer of the geek.
I am trying to produce more original content (essays, videos, and articles). And I have given myself goals and timelines in order to fight my tendency to procrastinate.
When I write long articles I try to get them edited by a friend. Otherwise, I usually whip something off in a few minutes and then find myself correcting typos throughout the day. One of the most poorly written things I have ever written, remains one of my blog’s most popular articles (approximately 30,000 pageviews). One morning I read a story in The Toronto Star about some university stripper incident; I quickly wrote up some rant about the story and somehow my blog got linked on a bunch of sites including Fleshbot. These sites were quoting the Toronto Star article, but they gave me a “via The Canadian Geek” credit. It blew my mind! It was a such a fluke, but it gave me motivation to draw an audience through hard work and quality content instead of mere happenstance.
Since my web site is one of those generic blogs about “everything” it is difficult to figure out what to post on my site on any given day. The topics range from sex and movies to politics and the media; as a result, I have suffered blogger burnout over the past few years. These days, I try to set aside postings that aren’t time specific so that I can publish them on those days when I feel particularly lazy or tired. I am finding the WordPress future-posting functionality to be invaluable.
For a while I tried separating my interests into separate blogs, but I wasn’t able to post regularly on all my sites. The Canadian Geek is my fifth blog. Without categories my site would feel incoherent. I use simple headings to give the site a sense of focus and purpose. I don’t use sub-categories anymore… I find they make web sites seem overwhelming.
A few months ago, my blog almost got me my fifteen minutes of fame.
I live in Canada and we have a national TV network called CTV. Someone from the CTV news division found my blog and offered me a non-paying guest appearance on a morning news show. It was supposed to be a series of appearances where I would chat about pop culture. But the offer eventually fell through and I suddenly became self-conscious about what I wrote about on my blog. I found myself wondering what would be interesting or offensive to a potential employer.
But then I realized that a blog should never be a censored version of our true self. There are times when I am crude and other times when I’m thoughtful. I imagine the combination probably scares away some people, but I think that most people who read my blog appreciate the duality of my personality. (Which could be signs of bi-polar disorder, but I think it makes me more interesting.)
Haasim Mahanaim is a journalism student in Canada and blogs at The Canadian Geek.
Matt Craven is the former editor & publisher of The Blog Herald. Currently, Matt is the co-founder of Bryghtpath LLC, a consulting practice located in Woodbury, Minnesota. Matt's presently looking for new blogging gigs. Ping him at matt (at) bryghtpath dot com. You can follow him on Twitter.