Marshall Payne (marshallpayne1) wrote,
Marshall Payne

Shameless Self-promotion, Community Spirit, and Entertaining My Ass

Imagine turning on your TV and waiting for your favorite program to come on. But it never does. Instead you get advert after advert plugging this and that and sundry. Well, you don't have to turn on your TV. You can read blogs.
Everyone's free to program their blog as they see fit, and everyone's free to read someone's blog or not. However, communication works best when it effectively reaches people and offers them something they find of value. Here's a good format, I think, breaking it up into thirds:
1. Promoting yourself: Because if you don't do it, nobody else will. And as a writer you're expected to. A little of this goes a long way, however. If all a writer ever does is plug their projects, why should I care? I've got my own projects to worry about.
2. Promote other people: Everyone likes to be mentioned in a positive way. It creates good will and it keeps your posts from sounding all me me me. More importantly, it creates a community atmosphere and spirit.
3. Entertain my ass!: This is the one I work the hardest on. Entertaining your ass, I mean. Whether I'm successful or not is for each reader to decide. But I know that if I want to keep readers here I have to give them something in return. Mostly we all blog about ourselves, but if I'm going to tell you what I had for breakfast then I damned sure better make it interesting. Frankly, I'm not even interested in what I had for breakfast, so I doubt if anyone else would be interested either. But we're writers, are we not? If anyone should be able to entertain "the masses" on their blog, it should be us. Btw, some of you are doing a damned good job of this!
Also, there's this crazy thing behind each post called the comment section. Making it easy and comfortable for readers to comment is important, I think. One thing I always try to do is reply to each and every comment, often as soon as I can. If I make a friendly comment on someone's LJ who I'm new to and they don't reply to it, I figure I'm not welcome there and wonder why we even friended each other in the first place. Perhaps I'm not welcome there after all. In that case, I'll probably stop reading their blog. There are lots of other places I feel welcome. I get the feeling that it's not so much a case that people aren't welcome, just that sometimes bloggers forget that they're the host of their own blog. And like most hosting duties, it's a service industry. Just saying, look at it from the other guy's POV. He/she has to get something out of it as well or they won't stick around. In that case you might find yourself blogging into the ether.
All this is assuming that you're using your blog to promote yourself as a writer and want to gain new readers for your blog. If you're just keeping a casual diary and don't care if you have many readers or not, ignore this. But #3 is the most important to me. I want to be entertained and I think you do to.
As most of you know, my alter ego marshall_payne had a god awful boring blog. All he ever did was plug stuff. That's why I killed him off and invited everyone over here and unlocked the Super-Sekrit Friends Clubhouse. Time will tell if I'm entertaining sundry asses sufficiently.

ETA: By request, I'm bringing Herbert P. Grumbacker back for those who missed him before!
Tags: essays/thoughts
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