I’ve been around Tumblr long enough to start believing that my longevity entitles me to some opinions. And, at the risk of sounding like the uncle who makes Thanksgiving awkward by being elderly and opinionated, I’d like to hold forth on what I think makes a blog good. In some cases, these might not be the same thing that will make your blog widely read
Don’t engage the slimemold. If you get in an argument with some goo growing in the drain, you’ll probably win. But nobody will be impressed and the goo won’t notice. The same thing applies with the thirteen-year-old who left a truly odious comment on a thread somewhere.
Engage other viewpoints. The accoustics on most of the Internet are terrible. Everything gets drowned out by the echoes. Find people you disagree with who you nevertheless respect. If you can’t find any, look harder (or look inward).
Go the extra mile. Fix the formatting of that messy reblog chain. Where possible, make it look decent. If you screwed something up, fix it.
Use hypertext like you mean it. It’s like text, but more. You’re not just putting words on the screen. You can add pictures, charts, videos. Any given word can become a link—which means it can have a multitude of different meanings. And every time somebody writes anything about millenials, you can link to this Monty Python sketch.
Kill your brand. Every once in a while, it’s worth throwing in a post about something that most of your blogs readers don’t care about. People will probably get outraged, but that’s okay. It helps disrupt the echo chamber thing.
Get the story right, even if it means you’re not the first person to get to the story. If somebody you want to be outraged with did something unbelievably outrageous, do some bare minimum of fact-checking to make sure it happened before believing it.
Write. Revise. One of the best ways to get better at writing is practice.
So I have some views. You may not share them. That’s fine. And some of these definitely won’t make you a super-famous blogger. I think you’ll draw more page views if you can be the first partisan to hack up a story—even if you get your facts wrong. But if you’re going to spend however many hours creating a space on the Internet, you might as well make it a decent one.