Friday, October 03, 2003

Seven Laws of Blogs

People continue to try and answer the question of "What is a blog?" I believe we should be answering "What is a good blog?" This is a much more interesting question and it helps advance blogs as a medium.

My proposed answer to this question uses the framework for deriving The Seven Laws of Money by Michael Phillips, Salli Rasberry, et. al.

  1. Do It. A blog, no matter how well planned, is worthless unless the author does it. In most cases this means writing. The blog needs a constant stream of ideas, observations, news and more. If you do it, the blog will satisfy.
  2. Blogs Have Their Own Rules. If you don't follow the basic rules of blogging, people will have a hard time finding and reading your blog. These rules are different than the rules for a web site or any other media. Though not yet well defined, this is the major topic in most books about blogging.
  3. Blogs Produce Good RSS Feeds. This is not about RSS. Rather a well written blog results in a good RSS feed. Snappy headlines, compelling content and a link to more quality information. The elements of a great blog map directly into RSS.
  4. RSS feeds are not Blogs. While a good blog produces good RSS, the reverse is not necessarily true. For example, an RSS feed could be a rather mechanical report from some server's monitoring system. Obviously not compelling reading and certainly not a great blog.
  5. Writing a Blog Does Not Get You Accepted. Any one can start a blog. You can even have great ideas and but not everyone is is going to notice tomorrow. Or maybe ever. So do you write for yourself or to get accepted?
  6. Reading a Blog Gets You Accepted. Blogs are open and simply by reading (or listening) you become part of the club. The blog you are reading is probably being read by others, maybe even linked to by others. So if it is good, link to it.
  7. There are Worlds Without Blogs. Have you notice that people take vacations from their blogs? I can not hug my kid with my blog. And a blog does not taste refreshing. Just as "sound bites" don't sound the same in a newspaper, some things don't translate into a blog. Enjoy your blog. But enjoy your life.

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