Blogging is not easy. It is an activity which involves many essential elements, all of which must work together for the blog to be effective. As such, blogging is a multimodal jigsaw puzzle. In order for a blog to be truly excellent, it requires all of the multimodal pieces of the puzzle to mesh together.
The first vital piece of the multimodal puzzle comes in the form of effective digital writing. Unlike traditional print writing, digital words – according to Sean Michael Morris’ article, “Digital Writing Uprising: Third Order Thinking in the Digital Humanities” – “have lives of their own” due to the fact that digital writing “is communal writing” (3). Thoughts that were once private are now made public to readers across the globe, and are accessible at the click of a mouse. As such, posts need to be written in a clear and concise manner. As Morris writes, in the blogosphere “text becomes functional” (5). Words must be used with a purpose – no, with the purpose of not only grabbing and holding the reader’s attention, but also with keeping them wanting to come back for more. In order to further entice readers to return, timely and frequent, yet still cleanly-written posts are necessary.
Yet, when writing in the digital age, effective design and a comprehensive social media engagement must also be pieces of the puzzle. In his article, “Why We Love Beautiful Things,” Lance Hosey explains how “we think of great design as art,” and are naturally drawn to certain geometric design principles and colors (2). These concepts of human attraction to aesthetically pleasing designs and layouts can be applied to blogs. A blog’s design should flow with the content. It should not only be pleasing to the eye, but it should also allow readers to access posts and content without any confusion. Design should aid in efficiency and organization, while also enhancing the appearance of the blog’s content. It should also allow readers to link with other forms of social media to create a truly engaging and complete multimodal experience.
For an example of an excellent blog, check out “A Lady in London.” Not only is the writing clear, attention-grabbing, and engaging, but the design works with the blog’s theme and provides an easy-to-navigate layout, as well as links to an abundance of multimedia links and other social media accounts.
A successful blog can only exist when all of the multimodal puzzle pieces fit together: effective and organized prose, timely posts, an appealing, eye-catching, easy-to-navigate design, and the potential for further reader engagement with links to various social media accounts. Without each piece of this multimodal puzzle fitting into place, a blog cannot exhibit true excellence.