What can blogs do for you?

Freshman year of high school I got my first computer and suddenly my entertainment options on the Internet seemed limitless. No more would I be restricted to sending email chains and browsing YouTube on my dad’s computer. Now hours of fun were only clicks away. In those first few months I explored everything from Hulu to my town’s poorly assembled web page.  My only exposure to blogs was from accidentally clicking on a link.  Blogs carried a stigma of unprofessionalism. I could clearly imagine the bloggers fingers caked in potato chip crumbs droning away at a keyboard writing about their favorite video games.


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Why should I listen to that guy, and what did these blogs have to offer me?

In the five years since I first began exploring the Internet, it has evolved greatly. Text interspersed with photos, film, and links makes reading blog’s a much more interactive and enriching experience. There are blogs that capture all of my interests. I can be just as entertained reading about someone biking, and someone performing titrations in a lab.

One unifying aspect of the blogs I read is that credibility is paramount to my experience. A well-qualified and knowledgeable author will keep my attention. A well thought blog should include an about the author page as well as the author’s contact information. I recently started reading a high school friend’s blog, andybromberg.com.  This simple, elegant layout clearly showcases both an about me, and a contact me section.

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Andy writes that “Not only is learning my full-time job as a university student, but I love to pick up new skills and knowledge in my free time. You’ll see a lot about my attempts to learn on this blog.”

His effort to reach out to the audience and place himself on their level agrees with Brian Carroll’s statement “The everyday person voice of many blogs encourages identification versus the dispassionate, clinical voice if traditional media.” A good blog should establish a personal connection for the reader and give the reader a sense of what qualifications the author has.

My favorite blog is titled What if?  This blog aims to answer reader’s outlandish questions through well-researched physics while also staying approachable and humorous. The blog itself utilizes many of the methods for good digital writing in Brian Carroll’s Writing for Digital Media. The author always writes with the same voice. He manages to be incredibly factual, but there in humor in every facet of his writing. The questions he answers are incredibly absurd while also being scientific, such as “What would it be like to navigate a rowboat through a lake of mercury?” The layout of the blog also utilizes layering a concept that takes into account reader’s desire to scan, not read some pages. Key words and phrases are in bold, and bulleted lists are sometimes used to clearly display information. The top of the page has a header with a larger font that draws the eye to the title, and the subhead.

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Clever and applicable illustrations further attract the reader and make otherwise dry physics entertaining. Hyperlinks on certain words link to the sources the author used in his research, which gives the reader the choice to further pursue the topic. The site does not have any advertising, and best of all is consistently updated every Tuesday. This scheduled posting time ensures that I check What If? at least once a week, which is the best sign of a good blog.

As I begin making my own blog I will try to utilize all the aspects of the blogs I enjoy to read, in hopes that one day a person with ten minutes of time to kill will come to my site.


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