The first of the standard weekly questions: Why do you blog?
I've looked at all the questions, and on reflection this is probably going to be the most difficult one to answer. I started out years ago with a Wordpress Blog called Paradise Discovered. It was aimed specifically at recording events that were occuring in our personal life at that time, but our "Cunning Plans" got delayed somewhat and I stopped updating it. Then, recently, the Music-Police threatened the site with closure, so I decided to put it on hold myself. It is worth the click to see my 'holding page', and if you really want to see what the original looked like, simply change 'index' to 'index2' in the URL.
Now my blogging has become an extension of my main website. On the site I restrict myself to publishing what others have to say about a fairly narrow subject. But the blog element of the site allows me to continue to express a more personal point of view. I don't post frequently, the result of running the main site, updating it regularly and fending off the attentions of the mindless morons that exist in cyberspace.
What's the story behind your blog name?
I am running several, like Terry's Playpen that a few of your visitors are familiar with, but the one I consider a 'Blog-blog' is called the FLOG and is an acronym composed of the first two letters of my surname, FL, and the last two letters of the word blOG. Seemed like a good idea at the time!
What is the best thing about being a blogger?
The ability to 'publish and be damned' without being constrained by the outside influences of structure, or plot, or grammar! And it is always nice to receive comments on something one has written, especially the complimentary ones. There are some very interesting people out there, and a Blog is a terrific way to reach out and touch them.
What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?
In no particular order of merit:
- Keep it short and sharp. Surfing bloggers don't have a long attention span. Most tend to do their blogging and reading AFTER they've done a day's work and by then they're tired and don't have much patience. If you don't catch their attention immediately they are more likely to leave than surf through the posts!
- If you blog about a topic that isn't your primary source of living, and if it isn't about you personally, then expect the reader to wonder, "What is your authority for discussing this subject?", and leave. Most won't even be tempted to leave a comment.
- Try to break up your textual matter with something pictorial, preferably relevant to the text. This will entertain your visitors.
- Try to use a template that has a good contrast, preferably dark lettering on a light background. You don't want to exhaust your visitors by making it difficult to read what you have so carefully composed and written.
- Îf you use 'parochial' references (or phrases), take every opportunity to explain them to your readers. Visitors from your own country may not be familiar with them; the international ones will certainly be thankful for the insight!
- Post as frequently as you can, but try to be 'cohesive' about your posts. Stick to a theme, or perhaps two, or even three, max! Scribbling the first thing that is on your mind isn't necessarily going to cut it. Your regular visitors may put up with it for while, but even they will eventually drift away.
- Never apologise for anything you've published. If you didn't mean it, you wouldn't (or shouldn't) have published it in the first place! Which means you need to give your blog posts a great deal of thought before you publish.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?
Tough one, this. There are dozens, but if you insist on one then it has to be the post on Shrinky's (I'm using her new pseudonym) Shrink-wrapped scream - (the first blog) - about her visit to Kenya and how her son ultimately 'accepted' their guide. A human-interest story of the highest calibre! Unfortunately, I am unable to link to the article because she has mothballed the previous blog. I hope she is going to resurrect the good stuff she had on it.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?
The Old Lady. I was in the role of observer and only narrated what I saw, but I still like how it turned out.
Today's Sunday Roast with Portugal-based ex-RAF man Terry Fletcher is the sixth in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.