We’ve heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards
could produce the complete works of Shakespeare;
now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.
And that brings us nicely to blogging. There are an estimated 150 million blogs floating around in cyberspace. A few blogs are read by huge numbers of people. Most blogs are read by very few people. Some are well written. Some are not. But none of that really matters. What matters is that each and every blog has a special reason for being there. Each and every author pecks away at a keyboard of some description, and then bravely sends their inner thoughts to the outer world. I say bravely, because blogging was a bit scary for me in the beginning. It was one thing to write a Christmas letter for my family and friends. It was quite another thing to write that first blog post. And no matter how easy WordPress makes it to set up a blog, there are many, many things to figure out before a random collection of thoughts becomes a cohesive story.
Of course, some blogs don’t want to be a cohesive story. But mine does. I didn’t know that when I started out. After writing my first few posts, I realized that my recurring post topics could be put into a Post Tool called Categories. Categories could be displayed with a Widget. Now my posts could be rounded up and indexed! Pages… I found they were good places to park my “Big Picture”. They are like the paper jacket on a hardcover book – they talk about the author, and give the reader a taste of what the story is going to be about. Links are handy things. They are a bit like footnotes in that they point the reader to further information on topics. Links also have a handy Widget to display them. I think “a picture is worth a thousand words” so I try to put some sort of Graphic in each post. Finding the right graphic isn’t always easy… Well, it is easy if you just “borrow” it from someone elses web page. I don’t think that is always right, so I find other sources.
Last, but not least, are WordPress Themes. These create the mood for the story. I have tried many of the themes, and am still looking for the perfect one for my story. I want one that has a custom header that is not too big and not too small, a custom background, a font that is easy to read and not too small, a sidebar for my widgets, tabbed pages along the top somewhere, title text that is not too big and not too small, and block quotes that stand out a bit.
Everyday our real world becomes more homogeneous. The boxes we live in, the jobs we perform, the cars we drive, the places we eat – they all start to look more and more like the boxes, jobs, cars and eateries of strangers half way around the world. But a blog story – well, no two will ever be exactly alike. And a million monkeys at a million keyboards will never be able to duplicate these stories either!
How do you make your blog tell your unique story?