I Like Ham 11: What Should a Blog Post Be?

As some of you may remember, I used to post blog entries here, shortly after we fist moved to the Ning site. Some of you may have noticed that after awhile, I stopped.  Since no one asked me why I stopped, I assumed that this was not a matter of general interest, and so never offered any explanation for the stoppage.  However, it's something that has been on my mind on-and-off ever since, and so I'm posting today - not, I hasten to add, in hopes of provoking a clamor for me to start blogging again, but instead for the exapnsion of my own understanding.


To clarify - around the time I posted my last blog entry, someone - I don't remember who, and I wouldn't want to seem to be singling anyone out, anyway - posted in the forums their observation that many of the blog entries that had been posted up to that point were of such a nature that they could just as easily have been posted in the forums, and did not need to be posted as blog entries as such.


Now, I don't know that that was aimed at me, but nevertheless, it gave me pause.  I had been blogging on topics that interested me that I hoped would also interest those who read my offerings.  Thinking about it, led to the question - what ought a blog post to be?  What should distinguish a "blog" post from a "run-of-the-mill" forum post?  It seemed to me that many of the blog entries posted on the board could just as easily have been posted in the forums. (Note: This is not meant to disparage any of the other folks who post blog entries - all better writers than I, to a man.)


So, I stopped blogging until I could come up with a satisfactory answer, and since, so far, I haven't been able to do so, I'm bringing the questions to you folks:


What ought a blog post to be?  What should distinguish a "blog" post from a "run-of-the-mill" forum post? 


Views: 143

Comment by Cavaliere (moderator emeritus) on June 10, 2011 at 11:55pm

Something I've blocked more than one blog submission for is that they were only a couple of sentences. The entries were barely topic starters, much less blogs.


A blog, to me, is a well thought-out essay exploring a topic. Cap's columns sometimes cover more than one subject but, heh, it is his name at the top of the screen.


If it were me doing the weekly shipping lists, I'd post them in a forum instead of as a blog entry. As a blog entry, they're easier to find but, well, aren't really blogs.


These are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all the moderators.

Comment by Figserello on June 11, 2011 at 8:14am

I did once complain when posters started just posting links to other sites instead of actually discussing something.  So I hope you didn't pick me up wrong on that score.


I've just looked over your previous 10 Blog posts and they are perfect examples of good blog posts done well.  You take one particular topic that you have something to say about and give us a succint essay with a beginning, middle and end.  I enjoyed them very much, and think you should give us more ham as and when the muse strikes.  I met Steve the other day and he was saying he never hears from you anymore!


I'd say a Blog is for when you have a short argument to make about something that should be fairly accessible to the average Legionaire.  Chris Fluit's likewise fit the bill.


On the old board, I was very impressed with the long discussions I read where different people argued with, elucidated and enlightened each other as they explored a particular topic in depth. 


That is what I have been aiming for by using the discussion threads the way I do.  Sometimes, of course, it's more like an extended monologue if there isn't much interest, but even then I like the way I can develop and elaborate on things I said earlier or lay a bit of ground work for things I'm going to mention later, or even revise my thoughts and opinions as I get deeper into a subject.  Once you put something down as a blog, that's generally it, set in stone. 


A blog post is a product, whereas a discussion thread is a process.  :-)


I've been thinking about trying to do more of my readings as blogs, but that's a big challenge to coral my wildly scattered thoughts into something cogent and pithy like that.


By these criteria, you have been using both in the 'correct' way.  I don't think you are going to downgrade Alan Scott, Doctor Who or 1984 as great entertainments anytime soon, but you might have a different view of the Munsters after you watch them systematically this time.


I hope there's more Ham to come.

Comment by Jeff of Earth-J on June 11, 2011 at 8:47am

Succinctly, here's the way I look at it: the blogs invite comment; the forums invite discussion.

Comment by Mike Parnell on June 11, 2011 at 9:48am

A blog is a closed end conversation.  It is a topic discussed that may invite, as Jeff said, comment.  That also means that there can be no comment.  That does not mean the blog entry is not good if there is no comment.  It may mean it so well thought out that no comment is needed. 


As Jeff also said, the forums are the place where an issue is presented and discussion ensues.  When you start talking about the direction of Action Comics, it invites others to begin a discussion.  Talk takes place to "flesh out" the issue at hand. 


A blog can cause this to happen, but generally that is not it intent or purpose.


To the issue of the Baron's blog, Bob can write and I will read.  He is a good friend and I am interested in anything he has to say. 

Comment by The Baron on June 11, 2011 at 12:27pm
Thanks, follks! You're worth every penny I would pay you, if I had any money.
Comment by Don Collett on June 11, 2011 at 1:01pm

Figs is correct, I believe, in his distinctions between blog posts and forum posts.  I kept my personal blog going for almost four years, and the pieces I felt were my best were those I gave some thought to before writing.  I'd suggest if it's something that can be summed up in a paragraph or two, it's better as a forum post.

Here's my advice:  If you really want to write a blog about something, then do it.  Don't worry about if anyone else is interested (though you already have at least two who are -- Mike and me!).  Some topics catch people's interest more than others.  What we're interested in is what you have to say.


Comment by The Baron on June 11, 2011 at 1:10pm
Thanks, DC. Just remember - you asked for it!
Comment by Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) on June 11, 2011 at 1:50pm
Count me in, too, Baron. You got a crazy mind, so just go nuts!
Comment by Commander Benson on June 11, 2011 at 1:50pm

"Don't worry about if anyone else is interested . . . .  What we're interested in is what you have to say."


Yeah.  If they'll read my stuff, they'll read anything.

Comment by Jason Marconnet (Pint sized mod) on June 11, 2011 at 2:25pm
Keep it up, Baron. I'd love to do a blog here but I haven't found an angle yet. I blog off and on, mostly off. It's a fun way to express yourself if you have anything to say. Keep blogging if it makes you happy. I love reading anything you post and the blog title is great.


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