“Interesting” is the Basis of Blogging

Wise Old Owl

I’m feeling distinctly old skool this afternoon. As I pick through my RSS feeds for little nuggets of bloggy goodness, I found a couple of things that depressed me. Firstly, Mr Mayfield had this to say:

If I think it’s relevant I’ll mention it, but otherwise you’ll just have to trust me: I blog about people and brands because what they are doing or saying is of interest to me. That’s it.

And then I find Euan Semple saying this:

I was listening to Twit the other day when the contributors were talking about their concern that too many blogs “just” pointed to stuff. I am not so sure that this is a problem and sort of rests on the, mistaken in my view, assumption that blogging has to be like journalism.

It’s a shame that the perception of blogging is in a place where these things need to be said. One of the stock ideas I use when training journalists to blog is that the basic currency of the blog is the thought “that’s interesting”. Everything you post to a blog is something you find interesting and want to share with others, be it a link, an article, a photo or a video. 
Everything that you post stems from that initial reaction to something of “that’s interesting”. That’s why I encourage our bloggers to immediately act on that impulse and get the post up straight away. They should, at all costs, avoid the situation where they’re casting around for a quota post for the day. That leads to things which are non-interesting pretty damn quickly.

Indeed, I think that the simplest possible blog post is the word interesting, with the word being a link to something that’s interesting. Now, that does depend on you having built up enough trust amongst your audience that they’ll follow it unbidden. 
I think it’s unfortunate that so many of the blogs that have risen to some note in the past few years have been built without that idea at their core, given rise to a host of desperately over-written blogs, all crying our for attention, without a clear, personable voice of their own. Still, as Doc Searls pointed out last month, even they might be abandoning the barren slopes of flogging
  • You’re absolutely right.

    I was slightly embarrassed to have to post what I did, and I also concurred with Euan.

    Some things in my head were getting in the way of blogging – an activity which has become really important to the way I process things, make sense of them, by talking out loud.

    It was just something I needed to say, to articulate to give myself permission, as it were, to not self-censor.

    I think actually its partly borne out of my background as a PR person, the training and habits that were all about controlling output in communications. Has that been signed off? Is that on message? What will the implications of saying that be on partners and other stakeholders. Blah, blah, blah.

    Shaking those habits off, most of all when it comes to my own blog is something I need to do.

    Perhaps it does say something about the state of blogging too, but for me it was all about how I felt and how I wanted to be thinking.

    There: you ranted, I rambled.

  • Well, to be fair, ranting and rambling are right behind “that’s interesting” as base units of blogging. 🙂

  • Euan

    I often refer to the collective “ooh that’s interesting” process. I see stuff that I want to point to in my blog and if I find interesting enough stuff other people will then point to that and the filtering that goes on at each step is really powerful.