Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Sunday Roast

Espousing The Cause Of The "Heard" Mentality

This week's interview is with Mojo,
who writes the blog Why? What Have You Heard?.

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

Well I originally started this blog to meet chicks, but then it got all serious. No, I'm kidding of course. I suppose I have the same reasons as anyone. Blogging offers a platform that's uniquely mine. No editors, no publishers, no advertisers, no board of directors or shareholders to satisfy, just me. More to the point, I never get rejection notices from myself (I'm good that way).

What's the story behind your blog name?

"I Could Tell You But Then I'd Have To Kill You" wouldn't fit on a t-shirt, so I opted for my second favorite all-purpose response to any question: "Why? What Have You Heard?". There really isn't a story behind it, it's just something I say. Not very exciting I suppose, but you'd be amazed at the number of people who leave comments saying they love it. Well, I'm amazed anyway.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

I'm almost tempted to copy and paste my answer to #1, but that would be cheating wouldn't it? And while it would be true, it wouldn't be the whole truth. This platform gives a voice to people who might not otherwise have one. When you write for a publication, you're always going to have to compromise.

There will always be the disclaimer that "the opinions expressed here may or may not reflect the views of management, etc". When you're writing for your own blog though, all of that is stripped away. You're the management, you're the editor, you're the publisher and the opinions expressed damned well do reflect those of the "bosses". At the end of the day, the only person who has to be satisfied with my content is me. Of course, it's helpful if my readers enjoy it too, otherwise I'm talking to myself in the biggest empty room in the known universe.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Lesson the First: I can sum up my best advice in two words: "Be. Genuine." Because if you're not, it will show and you'll find yourself talking to yourself in the biggest empty room in the known universe. (See how I tied that together? Neat, huh?) Find a direction that's important to you. If you do that successfully, you won't care if you're read by 10 or 10,000. And in the beginning don't be surprised if you look at your Sitemeter reports and find out that both of the people who read your post today were you at work and you at home. Chances are -- unless you're an ace at self promotion -- you're going to start out that way.

Lesson the Second: Find other bloggers who share your interest and focus. Visit them, read them, leave comments for them. Visit their regular readers -- chances are you have the same things in common. Find your segment of the blogging community and make yourself at home. Even if you're in a niche that's made up solely of left-handed, vegan practitioners of Santeria there are others out here that share your interests. There are roughly 70 million blogs online, with new ones being launched every day. Believe me, in that number there are at least a few left-handed, vegan Santeros to share your stories with.

Lesson the Third: Resist the temptation to pen a Great Epic in every post. First of all because you'll find yourself not posting because it's just too much like work. But more important, you'll find you're not getting read because... well because people don't read Great Epics. If you really have that much to say, break it up into blog-sized chunks and publish it as a series. Five hundred words is good, 700 is pushing it. Three hundred is probably better still.

Remember, the people who are reading you are also visiting 10, 20, 50 others today and if you put a 3000 word article in front of them, they'll say "I'll come back when I have the time to read this". Which will probably be "never". Because tomorrow will bring another 10-, 20-, 50-visit tour of Blogaritaville. (Of course, that rule goes out the window when you're answering questions in an interview. *wink*)

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

This is a tough one, because I've read some very powerful posts. In fact, I read at least two significant posts every single week at the blog Violence UnSilenced. Because there's not one single post on that blog that isn't significant. I'd nominate that whole blog for "Most Significant" and I'd be in good company. But since you asked for a post, not a blog, I'll have to go with the first time I heard the title of it on Maggie's (the author's) other blog, Okay Fine Dammit. Because it was that post that cemented my own commitment to support her efforts. But I can't do it the justice it deserves, so I'll ask you (and you, and you too) to see for yourself. That's not to say I haven't read significant posts on blogs that weren't related to either of these. I have. But this one affected me enough to get me moving, to do something. Pretty significant hai na?

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

This should be a slam dunk, because I don't write all that much, and even less that would be called "significant" by most. Especially when the authors I mentioned in #5 have set the bar so high. But out of the nine hundred and change that I've either published or scheduled to date, I can think of two posts that had a direct, measurable and positive impact on some person or group.

The first was my contribution to Mimi Lenox's BlogBlast for Peace last November. No, if it had brought about world peace I'd think we'd have heard. That kind of thing usually makes it into the news somewhere between the winning lottery numbers and the latest Wall Street scandal. (At least unless Sarah Jessica Parker has a wardrobe malfunction at the MTV Movie Awards or something.) But it did have a big impact on some people very close to me as a side effect. Wasn't a bad piece in its own right either.

The second one I didn't actually "write", although I did "storyboard" it. Just as Violence UnSilenced launched, I was working on a promotional YouTube video for it. The day after VU went live, I published it with an apology to my readers whose comments had been largely ignored with the explanation I'm Not Ignoring You, Really I'm Not... But I've been busy working on this. The video took off and has apparently been turning up on blogs and FaceSpace pages all over cyberspace. Who knew?

And now, since I'm already at better than double the recommended word count from my newbie lessons, I think it's a good time to practice what I like to call "The Art of Shutting Up".

Today's Sunday Roast with Mojo is the 73rd in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.


A Woman Of No Importance said...

That was great, David, thanks so for garnering Mojo's views - Some great advice there, and a blog I haven't read yet, but have heard about muchly in despatches!

By the way, David, whenever you use the term 'Mate' in your blog, I can hear the tuna on the barbie and feel the slick of Factor 45 on the bridge of my Pommie nose! Lovely, thank you x

Shrinky said...

I am so pleased to see Mojo up here, he's well worth the knowing of, a really smart, funny and compassionate guy.

Great interview!

Saz said...

I'm with Fhina on this one...a new Blogger to me so I am grateful. And as always 'one to watch' I find over here at yours.

Is it Sunday already even where you are...hours ahead? blimey!

Rosaria Williams said...

David, congratulations on capturing another fresh viewpoint, and introducing it to your readers.

You ought to be paid for all this service.

Mojo said...

Ya know, I'd flat forgotten about this in the crush of various recent projects. Thanks for the platform and the chance to get a plug in for my two favorite causes too.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Great Sunday Roast David. I have not visited Mojo yet but will do - he has some very useful advice for a new boy like me - thanks ~ Eddie

Susan English Mason said...

I love this blog! I have been a follower since almost day one six months ago when I started blogging! I found Violence Unsilenced through Mojo. I am a violence survivor and I promote Maggie's blog too. This was a great interview; one of my favorites, and that's saying a lot since there have been lots of good 'uns.

Mimi Lenox said...

Mojo is a blogger with a heart for people and a true passion for photography and words. What a deserving recipient! I like the way he sets pen to paper. Besides the posts he mentions here, there are lots of succinctly written and relative vignettes across the blogosphere you'll usually find buried in comment sections - writen by Mojo. He supports the efforts of others and does it wholeheartedly. That is to be commended and admired.

Did I mention that his photography is wonderful?

Congratulations to Mojo and thank you, David, for featuring him here!

Daryl said...

As a Left-handed, vegan practitioners of Santeria I can honestly say
I love your blog

Love Mojo but he has a crush on Shrinky, isnt that always the way it is?

Brian Miller said...

another great interview and introduction. Off to check out Mojo and the blogs he name dropped. Thanks for letting your voice be heard Mojo.

Anonymous said...

Very good interview this one. Some excellent advice and suggestion to the newbie blogger.

CJ xx

K. said...

Excellent interview...I like his advice for newbies especially!

Unknown said...

Very well done! Both interviewer and interviewee are in possession of fine wit and intelligence...not to mention talent...

you're a most excellent blogger!

Thumbelina said...

Fabulous interview and so good to see Mojo here.

maggie, dammit said...

David, thank you so much for featuring Mojo.

The amazing Mimi (above) alluded to something I think is so spot-on, and that's Mojo's writing ability. He always pushes it off and shrugs and hems and haws and shifts the focus to his photography (which is also great) but I swear, in the 2+ years I've been blogging, some of my most cherished comments have come from Mojo; more importantly, over on Violence UnSilenced, he is often cited by the contributors as leaving life-changing/affirming words. I wish he believed more in his own writing prowess.

On top of it all, he is without a doubt the most genuine, caring individual I've met in the blogosphere to date, and I have met a LOT of amazing people.

I honestly don't know what I'd do without him, and I'm so grateful to you for featuring his blog today. Very, VERY cool interview. Thank you.

Gabriel said...

This is a really cool series which I have unfortunately just found today (so I will have to read back issues!) :-)

Let me know if you're ever interested in hearing from an Argentine living in Canada... :-)

Robin said...

Thank you David for both sharing this great interview with us, and for giving us the chance to share in cheering on a man who as a blogger and a friend is always there with an uplifting word, funny comment, or encouraging note. Seriously, the guy never misses a chance to build up others, I'm thrilled he's now gotten to be on the receiving end.

Way to go Mojo!

Maude Lynn said...

Excellent, Mojo. Just excellent!

SandyCarlson said...

I think I really stopped, stopped, stopped to notice Mojo's blog after blogger Suzanne Horne took her life last year. That was a moment when those of us who valued her blog I think found value in each other. A very cool and important thing. We are all people here, and our blogs are part of us.

I like Mojo's advice about keeping it brief. I say, "Oh, no!" whenever I write a long one and whenever I face a long one. It can be done; and it's great when it works. It's not about me or you but about us. That's the blogging deal.

Anonymous said...

Now that is a blog I must read, thank you David. Such great answers, makes me feel the need to rewrite mine.

Anonymous said...

It goes without saying, and yet it MUST be said- Mojo is a rare bird. Talented beyond description in multiple mediums- and genuine.

Reading his comments on VU and not knowing or caring whether he was a man or a woman, I valued his commitment to protecting the vulnerable in each one of us.

His photography is a joy- pure and simple. The wit and intelligence and wry humor displayed in the comments he shares never cease to amaze me.

I'm glad to have found this interview here- even if a bit after the fact.