FOR NEW BLOGGERS

Somewhere along the way during the past four years, I’ve gained a slew of new followers. Many of them fall into a group I call “baby bloggers.” Not only are they new to blogging, but they are new to life. They are children. Teenagers as young as 12 or 13 years old for some obscure reason actually follow me. Some are girls and boys who want to be writers or photographers– which makes a certain amount of sense. Others aren’t sure what they want, but have discovered blogging and follow me, hoping I’ll follow them back.

If blogging had existed when I was a teen, I’d have been doing it. For a creative kid, blogging is a godsend. So much better than keeping a diary which you have to hide under your mattress so your mom won’t read it, but she always finds it and reads it anyway. Or just writing stuff no one ever reads. When you blog, even if you don’t have followers, you can be pretty sure someone will read your stuff. Eventually.

bench mumford uxbridge kids

It’s hard to get a blog off the ground. There are weeks, months — even years — before it begins to come together. So when these kids ask me if I’ll follow them, I try to at least give them a read, a “like,” a comment, and some encouragement. I’m already following more blogs than I have time to read, so something has to really grab me to make me sign on.

Some of these baby bloggers are surprisingly good. Others — not so much. Some young photographers need to learn the rudiments of composition and stuff like focusing the camera.

In the writing department, many youngsters need to understand there’s a difference between writing and texting. For the wannabe writers, I’d like to offer some unsolicited advice:

  • Use real words, not internet abbreviations
  • Check your spelling. Spell checkers are one of the premium inventions of the past century
  • Write in sentences and paragraphs. You can break the rules, but first understand them
  • Leave white space on your pages. Too much text and graphics looks cluttered and is difficult to read
  • Punctuation is not optional. Discover how exciting commas and periods can be
  • Do not end every sentence with one or more exclamation points!!! Really, just don’t!!! If you do that all the time, it makes you sound hysterical!!!
  • Use emoticons sparingly 🙂 😦 😀
  • Contractions require apostrophes. In other words — don’t, not dont, can’t, not cant
  • Use black text on a white background (not vice-versa) if you expect anyone over 40 to read you.

If you want grownups to read your posts — by which I mean people other than your texting pals — you will have to write in a way we old people can understand. It’s not just the words you use. It’s also subject matter. I’m mildly interested in what’s going on with your generation,  but I’m way past makeup and gossip. If you are going to write about things that only interest your high school friends, your only followers will be your high school friends. Fine if that’s what you want … but … if you want a broader audience, you’ll have to find other topics.

Most importantly, make sure that you write in a real language, not text-speak. Texting abbreviations are not English. They are something, but I’m not sure what.



Categories: Blogging, Writing

Tags: , , , ,

36 replies

  1. Hi & thank you for the advice. I am 10 & a very new blogger. I do a lot of reading & got inspired to have my own blog to share my thoughts on these books & also to improve my writing & expressions.
    I think, along with good writing, understanding the color scheme is also very important for new bloggers to have easy readability.
    Please visit my blog at http://www.ishanizone.com

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  2. Love this! I’m 23 and a new blogger. Definitely loved reading your thoughts on this topic. Thanks!

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  3. I am a 10 year old boy in India. I have just started writing short stories and have a new blog. I am trying to learn how to write better and have been working on my grammar. You can read my short stories at https://shortstories4kids.wordpress.com Please let me know what you think.

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  4. Some of the best advice I have read today 🙂 thank you for inspiring me and teaching me a thing or two.

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  5. Thanks for the tips, just started blogging a few days ago and this helped 🙂

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  6. Yes punctuation is important.
    Example
    Let’s eat, grandma.
    Let’s eat grandma.

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  7. I am surprised young people would even consider something as old fashioned as blogging. The younger followers I’ve had are more likely to participate erratically (post umpteen times a day then disappear for days or weeks) and are more likely to just up and delete their space. Which is all fine and dandy, but I like some form of consistency in those I follow…

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    • I like the ones who follow you … nearly stalk you … for a month or two, then turn briefly hostile before vanishing completely. Vanishing seems to be trendy. The ones who were obsessed by blogging, posted a dozen times a day for a year, then — I suppose — a spouse said “give it up or give me up” and they are gone without a word of farewell. Personally, I think they could at least put up a last post and explain they are quitting, not dead. But what do I know?

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  8. When I first started, I adjusted by blog settings to allow followers of all ages. But then I started running some posts that were maybe a tad racy (and I created Not CM), and realized as a mother, I would not want my 12- or 13-year-old reading them, so I reset my blog to allow only those followers over 16. I still can’t stop the kiddies from reading, of course, but at least I know I’ve made an attempt to keep some angry mama from tracking me down because I somehow corrupted her innocent little lamb.

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    • I don’t think my stuff has ever (well, maybe once) been racy. But it is sometimes adult in concept and material. Still, I was reading Dostoyevsky when I was 12, so who am I to tell kids what they should or shouldn’t read? I read a lot of very serious literature when I was quite young. You couldn’t PAY me to read it now. These days, I’m more likely to read YA lit … and I would never have gone near that when I was supposedly “age appropriate.” I know I was weird, but I doubt I was/am entirely unique.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. U R right 😀😏😋😉😉😉

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  10. What do you mean about exclamations points, Marilyn?! I know I use them way too much so go back and correct myself. If you know what I mean! 😀

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  11. Good points, but one thing that concerns me; spell check. I know most people use it, religiously, and for many words it’s a godsend, but when you enter the murky world of ‘sounds like” it’s mostly a matter of trusting too much to a phonetic robot. They’re, their, there. Bear, bare, beer, Bayer. Four, fore, for. Hair, heir, here, hare. Spell checkers only focus on the word in question, not it’s meaning, and too many people assume that if spellchecker says it’s okay then it’s okay.

    One thing I always emphasize if someone asks me, is reading. Read good writing. Blogs and textings and tweets are not necessarily good writing, and you write, usually, what you read. People magazine isn’t going to make it, The New Yorker is. Read writers, not texters.

    Dennis, you make a valid point about native speakers. I sometimes wonder, myself, if I’m reading a native speaker or someone who is using English as a third language, at least. “i don no wat i want”. Sometimes when I call them on it they’ll say, “so? u unerstod it, riite?” Sigh.

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    • Spellcheckers are far from perfect. Some of the embedded rules — especially in the WordPress version — are arguable and a few, I think are just plain wrong. But a crappy spellchecker beats nothing. I run it at least once to pick up doubled words — the the — to to — stuff I think of as editing leftovers from cutting and pasting. They never pick up the homonyms or when your fingers have typed “of” while your brain was saying “or,” and of course punctuation is way out of its reach.

      It helps. If nothing else, it may pick up on a badly written section. I’m terrible about typos, but I understand typos. What I don’t understand are native-born Americans who have no idea that we have a language. With words. And grammar. As Americans, they should at least give a nod to it when they are supposedly using it as their tool!

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  12. Great advice for newbies.

    Like

  13. While I am a German blogging in English for fun, I was sometimes surprised when I have read comments or blog posts of younger people when they later mentioned that they would be native English speakers… seriously, there have been cases where I thought “This person is starting out with English as I did in the past”… So, as a German I would even say that all your listed points can even make someone look like a non-native English speaker.

    And by the way, our German youth is the same and I think it’s fine until they create their blogs, because if I search for information’s, I am not going to read posts of people that start like “Hallooooo!!!” and “LOLZ” and any other non-sense that makes it difficult to find what I am looking for, wether it is informative content or entertaining content. But to be completely fair, I must admit that I found similar articles on my blog when I browse the 2012 archives.

    That tells me that I wanted to go a step further at some point and making my writing look a bit more serious, I think those who stay interested in blogging will get to this point. When I started to write tech or software tutorials, I asked my self how someone could take my information’s serious if my article is plastered with internet abbreviations like “LOL”. Anyway, I am in no way perfect in English, I want to improve further, but I did already reach the point where I want to be taken a bit more serious.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I would hope that people who are serious about blogging — or just simply writing — would improve over time and practice. But you are right. Many youngsters who were born here and don’t speak any other language can’t write English. They don’t know any grammar, can’t spell, and worse, they don’t TRY. It’s the not trying I don’t get. Especially because so many people like you write far better English that a generation of native-born Americans. Then they complain about foreigners? Really? They look like space aliens themselves!

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of my ex-girlfriends worked in the personnel division of a local company, she never understood this either. It was always funny to listen to her stories, but in a way also sad. When I asked her how they would choose the right applicants considering that there are so many, she replied with a dry voice “You take the whole stack, read the first paragraph of each application, and one or two thirds are already out” and she continued “from there you take a closer look at the remaining applications with more time and focus on different aspects of the application”.

        She said that many people disqualify themselves with bad German grammar or spelling, the first impression. She also said that there are those who didn’t read before the applications, who didn’t research about the company or business.

        She said one part of her job was to go through hundreds of applications so that her boss wouldn’t have to, and if she would put certain applications on his table, she would most likely have to apply for a new job too at some point. Her point was, as difficult as the idea sounds to make a hard selection, many people simplified her choice by not trying to shine with their applications with the very first paragraph.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dennis, your English is better than many of our home grown neighbors’ vocabulary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Garry! It really helped me back then to just start an English blog. I was hunting for vocabulary and grammar rules, I still do this, but it was and still is learning by doing. After learning the basics, I experienced that blogging is a good way to get into a language.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dennis, I’ll look forward to reading your blogs. One piece of advice: Write conversationally. Write the way you speak to friends and family. Short sentences.
          Good luck!!!

          Like

  14. i break all the rules … but i’m a cowboy !!!!

    Like

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