Tag Archives: blogger

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Blog

Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

 

Audience: fellow writers, aspiring authors

 

As a writer, I’ve been told that I need to have a platform. For many writers, this means starting a blog. But for those of us writers who just want to write our novel and not get mired in keeping up with social media (which can be a job in and of itself), we feel that we have no options. After all, the first question we anticipate getting from a prospective literary agent is “What’s your platform?”

So I looked for advice on the web.

Why Blog—From the Writer Who Said Goodbye to Blogging covers one writer’s response to this issue. Publisher and author L.L. Barkat began years ago with myspace.com and eventually moved on to blogging to help promote her work. She found that the currency of the realm was “reciprocity” (commenting on other people’s blogs and posts to ensure she received the same). Eventually she became overwhelmed with the amount of time she was devoting to staying current with social media, and in 2012 she pulled the plug altogether. Her advice to writers was to avoid blogging from the get-go. After 6 years, she has returned to blogging, but with the caveat of turning off comments on all her posts. This has allowed her “a peaceful place for me and for my readers. And this is in line with the times.”

As an introvert, I must admit that I was immediately drawn to this concept of getting myself out there with a blog, but circumventing the draining aspects that go along with staying current. On the other hand, L.L. Barkat is an established author with an existing readership already in place, while I have yet to publish my first book. Could this also work for beginning writers?

I wanted to get another viewpoint, so I turned to our reading Social Media is Bullshit by B. J. Mendelson. He argues that social media is essentially an irrelevant waste of time, and that old-fashioned marketing advice is where you should actually begin placing your efforts:

“America is perceived as an every-man-and-woman-for-themselves kind of place, but it’s not. It’s a place where we look out for each other and take care of our own. And part of doing that is by calling out bullshit like ‘social media.’ […] The reason the generic stuff [old-fashioned marketing advice] works is it has all been done, proven, and tested since the time Jesus rode around on a Brontosaurus. On my desk right now is a second edition of How to Win Friends and Influence People. After reading almost every popular marketing book that’s come out since 2001, and this book, originally published in 1936, I can conclude one thing: If Dale Carnegie were alive today, he’d sue all these guys for plagiarism.”

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle. While I intend to begin a blog on the recommendation of the author community in general, maybe it’s also not the worst idea to reach out to local brick-and-mortar media outlets and become my own publicist (or hire one if I can afford it).

Word?

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As a dental assistant, I recently turned to Google to see what I could find out about something a patient asked me about in the office.  She said she had heard from a girlfriend of hers that she could use activated charcoal as a less expensive and highly effective way to whiten her teeth at home, by brushing with it.  She wanted to know if this was true.  This wasn’t the first time I’d heard of this so I thought I’d look into it.  We advised her that brushing with it likely is too abrasive to her enamel, but didn’t have much else to say about it except to research it before trying it out.

The very first thing Google gave me was a blog post titled, How to Whiten Teeth with Charcoal, written by “Katie- Wellness Mama”, not Dr. Katie, D.D.S. which certainly would have been a more dependable source.  Out of pure amusement, I read the blog, and then oh my gosh, there’s a video, too!  I’ll admit, it was mildly entertaining watching a stranger brush her teeth with black, chunky charcoal in her home bathroom…

https://wellnessmama.com/3662/whiten-teeth-naturally/

As much as I wanted to dislike and rag on Katie, I did appreciate that she did not claim to have all the facts, she literally just told people how to brush their teeth with charcoal, and even showed us.  And she did state, on more than one instance in the post, that she is not a medical or dental professional, but she did consult her dentist friend and mentioned that people should check with their dentist before trying to whiten with activated charcoal.  She also provided links to healthcare sites about the use of activated charcoal for food and other poisoning.  While she seemed more like a salesperson for activated charcoal, she clearly did her research and gave some good background information and explanation of why she thinks it is effective, in many situations.  However, it is still my opinion that this is a totally useless post clogging up the internet,  making it even more difficult for me to find the reputable sources of information I am searching for.

Nowadays, any person can blog about any old thing on the internet, whether it’s putting a particular spin on the facts, spreading rumors, or telling outright lies.  We also have the ability to share and spread misinformation.  It’s getting rather tricky to filter through what’s legit and what’s not.  And to make things even more challenging, there are all these algorithms and ways of limiting your search results to things that are popular or things that the internet deems useful to you based on previous searches, popular searches, and that of your social networks.  This is the age of misinformation and useless information.

Sorry Wellness Mama.