What Makes a Good Blog?

During our earlier discussion over the Hughes article, we established how technology is considered “the norm” to us. From that, we gave technology a two-part definition that includes modern vocabulary (such as “share,” “like,” “tweet,” and “favorite”) as well as being an innovation. So, with that in mind, thinking of a blog as technology should mean that the blogs I read, share, and bookmark make my life easier…right? I did a little experiment on myself, very much in the How to Be an Explorer of the World fashion, to answer this question. I looked over the blogs I sent to Professor Kersh to add to the in-class blog discussion and analyzed how I use each one and why I deem them an excellent blog — as the prompt for this post suggests I define. A lot of what I found came from our discussion over the Carroll article that heavily generated the words “community” and “connection.” The question raised during our discussion of “what do or don’t we read?” really got my wheels turning to figure out why I read the blogs that I read.

First up: Eventing Nation. I have this website open on a tab on my phone at all times and it’s the first bookmark on my web-browser. This blog connects with equestrians, specifically of the three-day eventing discipline. What I love most about this blog is how it has a variety of information – competition live-blogging, competition recaps, personal interest stories, product reviews, reader submissions, tips from professionals, and the like – all in one place. I am clearly the target audience for this blog, seeing as I read it to stay connected to the world of three-day eventing. I also love the interaction with other readers that Eventing Nation promotes, in comments or reader submission posts, because of the discussion that occurs. I also follow EN on Twitter, which is great for live-blogging during competitions.

Second: Mental Floss. So, funny story. My mom is a scientist and heard about this company from a friend of hers who subscribes to the magazines. For my birthday or something as a kid, my mom got me a subscription…so that she could read the magazine, too. As I’ve grown up and progressed to reading on electronic devices, I’ve followed Mental Floss. Literally, I follow them on Twitter. Sometimes the articles are really bizarre, but most of the time I really enjoy reading what they consider “random, interesting, and amazing facts” as well as testing myself with their “fun quizzes and trivia” almost every day. I also enjoy how a lot of the articles come from recent events, even though they are not directly reporting on the event. For example, I read an article about the different between Great Britain and the UK that was published shortly after the Brexit announcement.

Third: Le Monde. As a technology, this website has made my life a lot easier over the course of my French major! Le Monde is essentially the New York Times of France – in fact, their website design is very similar. I actually do not read American news websites all that often (if ever?), such as NYT, but I check LM frequently for world news. I think that my major has really opened my eyes to other cultures because in so many of my classes I am learning about another culture, as well as how other cultures view my own culture – the American culture. I tend to read more of the reporting articles as opposed to the writer-blog articles due to the fact that I am more interested in LM as a news source telling me the basic questions of who, what, where, why, and when.

A general take-away from this self-experiment is the design of the blogs. Eventing Nation has the “busiest” website of the three, due to the high amount of ads and graphics. I still think that it’s a fairly clean website, but not as clean as Mental Floss or Le Monde. Eventing Nation recently changed the layout of their website away from the traditional blog style that they first used (and is now listed as an option at the top) into a homepage similar to that of Mental Floss or another news website.

Another discussion point during the Carroll article was that of being a responsible reader. I think that it was really interesting to think about why I like the three blogs I mentioned because it explicitly unpackaged my implicit feelings.

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