BATB = Blog About the Blog, and welcome to the first of an intermittent and continuing series of posts about...the blog.
In common with other bloggers we receive lots of emails inviting us to attend various functions. We would love to be able to attend each and every event, launch, or gathering that we get invited to but if the schedule clashes with our day jobs then we simply cannot go. And we only have so much time off from work every year that only a precious few weekday events get that special treatment of chipping off our annual leave.
Saying that, with the right timing and location combined with an interesting function, every so often we do make it.
At one of these events we attended recently the host of the party asked me for one piece of advice with regards to blogging as he intends to start one of his own soon. To which I replied:
Just be yourself and share your passion with consistency. Like minded people will naturally gravitate towards you and if they keep liking what they are reading then your followers will grow in time.
As soon as I said that I cringed a little bit inside. Not because it was untrue but because it sounded like a cliche. But he did only ask for one piece of advice and that little statement does hold a lot of truth and can be expanded if needed into a multitude of other related advices.
His reply back though a little more surprising. He said my advice sharply contrasts with an advice given to him by another blogger, and that is to be as scathing and vitriolic as possible, to not hold back on the things that you say as readers like those sort of things.
I repsonded that we are not that sort of blog hence not the direction and tone that we tread. And then I asked who this blogger was and he said that it was... [snip - like I'm going to reveal that!]
Ahh, I recognised the blogger instantly. It's one of those garden bloggers that I call 'The Wannabe Journalists'.
The type of blogger that has chosen the platform of gardening to illustrate their writing skills by trying to create and expound issues which in turn provoke and engage readers. In the process of doing so, they hope to catch the attention of mainstream media and land themselves a column, article commissions, or perhaps even a full time journalistic job.
To be honest I rarely read such types of garden blog. They can be entertaining at first, and initially effective in provoking thoughts and bringing issues to attention but their steam tends to run out quickly. But why?
First, these sort of blogs are often, especially once you start dissecting the personality of the blogger and their writing, not really about gardening per se but about...issues. Second, once you look closely some do very little gardening or just do a mundane, minimal, and repetitive set of gardening tasks. And yet they have a lot to say about it. Third, some don't even have gardens at all, and yet they write about gardening. Not a requisite I know but it certainly helps if you have one, whether big, small, borrowed, or in pots...
A few years ago, when I started detecting members of this group of garden bloggers one of them managed to spin so many issues and posts about one tomato plant growing on a windowsill. Creative writing perhaps?
Going back to the party I followed up my query with a suggestion saying that he needs to make a decision first which direction to take. If he wants to take the direction the other blogger has taken then go for that advice.
Blogging can be a very personal thing and corporate blogs that tread this path rarely get as much interaction as those written by individuals for personal reasons. Often the personality of the blogger is in parallel or directly reflects the content of the blog and garden blogs are no exception to that.
In real life, people who constantly spout drama, conflict, and dwell on 'issues and tissues' may be entertaining at first but quickly become toxic and to be honest quite boring and eventually are best avoided. Life is too short to let people that drain energy hang around you for too long.
Perhaps I can say the same with garden blogs? One based on conflicts, issues, criticisms, and controversies may be informative and thought provoking at first but without the solid backing of a product (i.e. a garden, especially for a garden blog) or a feel good passion that others can have an affinity with then such a blog will rarely persist.
And going back to that particular wannabe blogger, did he create a critical blog or a more personable one, well lets just say I'm still reading it...