Ah, Becoming a Pretentious Blogger

30 04 2012

I was apprehensive when signing up for this class. I have always been a regressionist when it comes to technology and digitized media. I also was worried I’d become one of those hated pretentious bloggers. There is nothing worse than the stereotypical “smater-than-thou” English Major (the one who is always right, one upping your literary reference with something from Ecclesiastes). They probably wear those ridiculous fake glasses that don’t actually increase visualization. After I swallowed the blogging thing down it was actually rather interesting. And to boot, the class was full of intelligent people with very different opinions which always enhances the learning experience.

The main obstacle for me, forcing me to step outside my comfort zone, was writing for an audience of internet-based readers. The world of web writing is fast paced and the averager reader has a very short attention span. This pressures the traditional prose writer to condense their would-be flowery language packed with metaphors into hard-hitting excerpts of their comprehensive ideas. Romanticism is dead on the Internet. But, mixed media writing is the future so I better get a grasp on it!

Our first project of creating a rhetorically successful website was an exciting challenge. Deciding what kind of audience you wanted to capture and what type of content you wanted to curate was not an easy decision. At first I wanted to do a blog dedicated to understanding Shakespeare. This site would have been equipped with a forum for questions from students who were studying him and just couldn’t quite grasp it. My next idea was a travel blog, reminiscent of Matador Network. I realized that would have been more successful when I was backpacking Europe or South America two years ago, but not so much taking the train back and forth from the suburbs to North Philly everyday. Finally, I decided to combine my love for music and writing (As well as my love to give my opinion on things).

After researching other websites dedicated to the Philadelphia music scene, I realized that there weren’t many, if any at all. It was a sign. Ever since I had a column in my high school newspaper I loved the idea of doing a weekly commentary. It was tricky to figure out just who my audience was, and if they would change post to post, depending on the show that was being reviewed. This gave me an opportunity to interview people at shows, sit in on band practices, and really get the low down on certain events. Because music is the love of my life and writing is my passion, this was a wonderful combination of the two. This helped me to channel the enthusiasm Gary Vaynerchuk had in his video.

Once my site, Mental Expanders, went public I was excited to see if it got a response. It was minimal but I realize that there are certain aspects of maintaining a blog that I need to research more and learn how to execute. One thing that is really important is traffic and you need proper tags to ensure traffic. Deciding how to tag each post is important because then they have the potential of coming up in a search on google. Another aspect that is important is getting people to leave feedback on posts, showing that there is interest in what you have to say.

Although I have little feedback, I was luckily still able to attain an internship based on the work I have done thus far. I was offered a position at ReverbNation based on my Black Keys and Catullus articles. ReverbNation is a company that is dedicated to doing promotional work for artists and festivals, as well as updating social media sites and writing musician biographies. This was exciting because it shows that I was successfully gearing my writing toward a specific audience, which was my biggest fear for this class. I have a tendency to be too wordy.

Overall, I think this class was extremely helpful in bringing me out from under my rock. Not only did it force me to look at the future of writing, it forced me to put my writing up for everyone to see. I have always been shy about my style and never had much confidence (which is a superior hindrance considering how much I love to write). And thank goodness I did! Otherwise I wouldn’t be someone’s personal errand bitch in a New York office next year haha. Since I bought my domain I hope to keep it up and running and continue to improve.

I also came to the conclusion, yes bloggers are pretentious asses. That’s what our blogs allow us to do, even if we try not to.