What Makes for a Good Blog (A list by Merlin Mann)

Though Merlin Mann is not an academic, he writes about technology, productivity, and finding time to be creative. All in ways that I think would be of interest to any of us who do things like writing and thinking for a living. He has assembled an interesting list of the important components of an engaging blog, titled “What Makes a Good Blog”. I think this list provides a good read for those of us who have moved beyond the mechanics of setting up a blog and are mulling over how to represent one’s self via a blog, how to think about what topics will be of interest to you and your readers, and how to generally build a blog as a meaningful and expressive writing project.

[Note: Merlin's language is "colorful." I suppose that is part of his charm - Tony]

Some highlights:

1. Good blogs have a voice. Who wrote this? What is their name? What can I figure out about who they are that they have never overtly told me? What’s their personality like and what do they have to contribute — even when it’s “just” curation. What tics and foibles fascinate make me about this blog and the person who makes it? Most importantly: what obsesses this person?

3. Good blogs are the product of “Attention times Interest.” A blog shows me where someone’s attention tends to go. Then, on some level, they encourage me to follow the evolution of their interest through a day or a year. There’s a story here. Ethical “via” links make it easy for me to follow their specific trail of attention, then join them for a walk made out of words.

8. Good blogs try. I’ve come to believe that creative life in the first-world comes down to those who try just a little bit harder. Then, there’s the other 98%. They’re still eating the free continental breakfast over at FriendFeed. A good blog is written by a blogger who thinks longer, works harder, and obsesses more. Ultimately, a good blogger tries. That’s why “good” is getting rare.

Read the full article and more by Merlin Mann at his blog, 43 Folders:

http://www.43folders.com/2008/08/19/good-blogs

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