Every once in awhile a blogger will suddenly veer off-course from their usual post routine, pull up a chair, and really talk with you.
A blog is like an American order of french fries.
With fries, you usually get them delivered to you plain, with nothing on them. You can blob catsup all over them, so your fingers get messed up every time you grab a fry. Or, you can glob catsup in a corner and dab a fry in there with a fork, one by one, stabbing carefully and praying you don't drip catsup on your shirt.
With blogs and fries, you get used to the same delivered order. You get familiar with the blog cook. You come to expect the plain fries blog, where you scroll down and grab the news in bits and pieces, hoping it's not a re-run you just read at another blog. Sometimes you get a catsup splattered blog, which has embedded links, pictures, quotes, categories, tag clouds, and comments. You get your fingers wet because there's lots of places to stick them.
You like that sharing...the whole "blog community" thang.
Sometimes the blog delivers a post or a style that is not like french fries. Their readers get a different kind of trip, where they will dip just the ends of their brain into the topic because, by golly, the blog writer has gone off and written something real.
This is where you get the intimate post, a good story, political commentary or something meaty to think about.
The Big Question
I've been quieter in this blog because I've been reading other blogs. There's several things happening in Blog-Land, and I've been breathing it all in. I do this reflecting thing often.
Somewhere in my travels I found someone who was trying to nail down a definition for blogs. He came up with two definitions. Another post I found wrote that blogs come in 3 basic themes. Still other blog sites have a club-like atmosphere where your blog has to be like everybody else's or your blog simply isn't. A. blog.
Everytime I think about posting in this one I face the big question. Do I post news, information or write from the heart?
I wrestle with it, beat myself up, challenge myself to be unique and end up not doing anything because I can't make up my mind about why I have a blog. This is dangerous territory, when Kimmy asks questions.
What is a blog?
Have you noticed that some people will tell you what they are, and are more than happy to also tell you that your blog isn't really a blog? And when you push them for what makes a blog a blog, they tell you it needs comments, can't have archives, must make money and must be updated every day.
Have you ever watched kids eating french fries?
They fight over how to do it. Their fingers are everywhere at once. Someone is forcing catsup all over the fries, while somebody else is screaming for them to "Stop!" because they don't want their hands to get dirty. Others will feed each other, one fry at a time, and somebody else will complain there's not enough salt.
The whole time, they're giggling. They're talking to each other. Making eye contact. Passing out napkins. Or going to find some.
What's brought them together, is they know, from previous experience, that french fries taste good. They can be trusted to always taste good. There's never enough of them to go around. Kids know that if someone has fries, others will come over and ask for some.
This is what a really good blog is all about, for me. It's not in the official delivery of the product as much as how I react to it, what I come to expect from it, and whether I'm looking forward to the next post.
There isn't any one proper standard way of creating this experience for me, which is a bit of a relief to discover. Maybe for a little while longer, blogs will be allowed to be fun finger food.
Kim is a Member of the Usability Professionals
About Kim's Web Site Usability Reviews
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