March 1st marked this blog's one-year anniversary. I plan on taking the ol’ blog out for dinner and drinks (and maybe dancing if it’s lucky), but for now I just want to jot down a few things I’ve learning over the past year and list some of my more memorable posts (according to me, that is. lol).
- Your "voice" actually means something. People visit blogs for a couple reasons: 1) to get breaking news, 2) to get in on the convo, 3) to get a different, unique perspective on a particular issue, 4) to view the world through someone else’s eyes. I quickly came to realize that I would not be authoring a niche blog or an “inside scoop” blog or a 2,000 comments-per-post blog, so I've faced that crazy challenge of attracting return visitors (other than my parents). But I’m a writer, and so I’ve turned my blog into the place where I am free play with my voice. I write my posts strictly through my eyes, openly and honestly. I think that's what brings people back.
- But you’ve got to continuously define your voice. And that takes time (time meaning time you've been blogging and time meaning the actual time it takes to sit down and write a blog post). Consequently, I’m still working on this one. I probably always will be.
- Focus on the personal. In the beginning, I’d try to report on big issues. But, yeah, I’m not a reporter and my blog isn’t a news site. Once I switched the focus to be on my personal thoughts and opinions on issues, I found that I could really get a good convo going.
- And make friends. Connect with other bloggers, read blogs, comment on other blogs, send other bloggers your stuff. It’s all good in the hood.
- Don’t be afraid. Say what you want! Who cares if others don’t agree with you. I’ve gotten in so many arguments on so many types of blogs (like, even auto blogs). But arguing, especially when all you’ve got is words and a screen, makes you smarter. I’ve sharpened my opinions and am able to debate so much better since I began blogging.
And a few things that have helped me out personally.
- Make an informed decision when choosing a blogging platform. I chose Typepad, and I like it ok, but I’m in love Wordpress designs. They’re so clean. But less customizable. So I’m back with Typepad – I knew I chose it for a reason.
- Leave work out of it. Like, as a rule.
- Respond to your commenters via comments themselves or via email. I guess that’s the marketer in me. Or the person who likes to make friends.
- Be open and honest about yourself, but don’t go into specifics about anyone close to you other than you. It’s just a little rude, IMO.
- Don’t cry or punch the monitor if someone bashes you on your blog. It happens and it sucks. But that's life.
- Write how you talk. Great point that a fellow blogger wrote about in his Age of Conversation chapter. And so true.
Ok, that was fun. Now here are my favorite blog posts from oldest to newest (with the ones that generated the best conversations bolded)
I made friends on the Internets!
Conversation, new and improved for 2007!
And so began my quest for hair products, hairstyles, hair tips. This is also about time when I began to piss off my straight-haired readers :)
My Crazy Interracial Curls – I need a product NOW.
Ryan’s first meme
8 Random Things About Ryan
The start of many interesting, and oftentimes heartbreaking, conversations
Interracial dating and support between Black women
There was this rumor going around saying that Philadelphians were ugly, so I had to set the record straight
Philly is fly: The proof is in the photos
That time I got in a full-blown fight on my blog
Open Letter to Star Simpson, fake bomb creator extraordinaire
Ballsy move, Ryan B.
Exclusive footage: Ryan shakes her groove thang
Guest blogs. They’re all great. I can’t choose a favorite.
When I said “don’t be afraid,” these were the posts I had in the back of my mind
Michael Arrington: Arrogant TechCrunch editor stink bombs his own event
Getting all industry on you
MITX Event: I've found it! The magical solution for marketing to the social web!
My aunt's quilts. They're unbelievable.
A delicious treat for quilt and color lovers
And finally, my Obama endorsement
Who is the American Dream? Why this PA native will vote for Obama on April 22nd