5 Simple Ways to Alienate Readers: It's My Birthday and I Can Bitch if I Want To Edition

Disclaimer (i.e. Wind covers her ass with every ounce of self-respect she can garner): This post should really be: 5 Simple Ways to Alienate Windsoar. And that wouldn’t really be honest either. Like everyone else I have likes and dislikes, and some content I just don’t like. *pause for gasps of astonishment* I know, right!? So before you read this post put on the heavy protection skin. Be aware that I’m not personally picking on you! I will not be linking examples of what I don’t like, because that would be freakin’ rude, and everyone has the right to write about whatever the hell they like, whether I enjoy it or not. If you need someone to string up and roast at the end of this post, I nominate John who poked me into writing the post in the first place.

P.S. You’re welcome to go trawling through my archives and find instances where I’m being a total hypocrite. I accept that I probably have done some of these things myself, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

P.S.S. Why yes, it really IS my birthday, thanks for asking!

1. The One-Liner

You just know you’re messing up my feed when you do that, don’t you? If you don’t have anything to say, cool, I get that. Don’t freakin’ leave me a note to let me know! Now, this does not include “I’m quitting the game, I quitting this blog, and oh, by the way, I bet you never knew I like to wear green underpants!” I want to know if you’re planning on leaving until the end of time (even if it’s 6 months later, and yea, we got the message yo) but if you’re not meeting your personally constructed schedule and feel the need to post something to prove your worth as a blogger to yourself or your Uncle Buck or whomever, do me a favor and actually write something. Tell me an ancedote about your latest weekend on the town, that time you wrote a paper and discovered you had the topic all wrong or how you have a personal disdain for the color pink in its variety of shades. Otherwise, you’re screwing up my scrolling rhythm. Naithin recently had an update to give us regarding his blog, but instead of telling us “I quite WoW again, but still planning to blog!” He made it into an entire post.

2. The Achievement List

I love the fact that you’re awesome. I’m happy you want to share your awesome self with the rest of us out here in the ether. What I don’t particularly care about is that you reached kill 100. So? Haven’t we killed 100 things at some point, whether in Warcraft or not. Killing is what most gamers do. Sometimes you just want to shout from the mountain top how awesome you are, and I really do get that. However, spice it up–make it relevant to me. You know, your reader, who may or may not be personally invested in your ability to kill 100 things. Gnomeaggedon¬†always keeps us up to date on his latest achievements and progress, but he includes us in his reindeer games too!

3. The Insider’s Post

I know, you don’t have a caption at the bottom of every post saying: To Windsoar, With Love. I’m cool with that. No, really. Ok, maybe just a little bit. Well, now that you mention it, fuck that, I’m not ok with it. When you post something that only 4-5 of your closest intimates is going to “get” it makes me a little upset. I wanna be part of the party. Look, see that follow button–I USED that, and I deserve to be in the cool kids club now. This does not mean that I expect you to censor all posting that doesn’t apply to 100% of the people you think might read you. Just, open it up a bit. Explain it to the dullards in the back so we can be overcome with joy at your super funny too. Twitter seems to exacerbate this problem, and to be honest, I don’t always follow twitter, and I know darn well that not all my readers are hanging out over there either.¬†Alas does a lot of writing about her guild experiences, but she makes those experiences accessible to everyone.

4. Make a Point

I’m a big fan of the ramble. Pulling in a multitude of stories, personal ancedotes, and generally, having me slog through a mountain of text is just fine by me. But sometimes, rambles are horrid. When I get to the end of a post and wonder why I went along on the ride, I’m a little irked that I spent the last few minutes of my life wandering around the pumpkin patch. In a nutshell, this is why I don’t read most fanfic: bloggers tend to want to post short, punchy stories, but what they’re really doing is building up that novel that they’d like to write one day. So their short story isn’t really a short story, it’s a few paragraphs from the eventual novel. The plot doesn’t develop fast enough for the amount of space given over the project. However, they’re not alone. Sometimes, when you don’t have anything to post, instead of giving me a one-liner, you give me a ramble instead. If you’re just airing thoughts to think about things, then you should be able to tack a question on the end. If you can’t do that or you haven’t made an identifiable point, then you’ve just wasted my time. And yes, I was thinking of the bear-walls of Big Bear Butt as I wrote this. While he always goes far afield in his discussion, in the end, he manages to reel you back in.

5. Your Voice

Something about the way you write, the expression you give to your game time, attracted me to read your blog. I know when I read certain blogs, I can expect a certain take on things based on how they address themselves to their readers. Some of us haven’t found our voices yet: I know I sure haven’t. But the longer you write, and the more settled you become, the more I have an expectation of what your voice will be, even if I can’t ever know your opinion any particular subject. I mean, how often have you been surprised that your favorite blogger is on a completely different page, scratch that, completely different novel that you are? That’s not what I’m talking about really. Instead, if you’re given to clear, concise and logical arguments and then I show up and you’re spewing all kinds of random crap about a new change, I’m going to be confused. And upset. I mean, this isn’t the blog I know. I demand that you give me some level of comfort, and the only one I can appreciably expect is that your voice–whether witty, sardonic, angry, or happy–maintains some semblance of consistency. The strongest most stable voice that I can imagine is Larisa: even when she disagrees, is angry, or just doesn’t like something, she always has this fabulous way of sounding like a warm, wonderful person.

If you’d like some useful tips and tricks that are not so Windsoar-centric, you might to check out the Layout and Content Delivery Editions.

Post-note: My husband says that this post is a perfect example of doing #5. Windsoar-smash!

20 thoughts on “5 Simple Ways to Alienate Readers: It's My Birthday and I Can Bitch if I Want To Edition

  1. Well Happy Birthday! You know normally on peoples birthdays they get gifts here you are giving us one with a new blog post to read.

    I will admit that I am probably guilty of some of those points, well at least number 4. I do tend to ramble on soemtimes. /hide in shame

    I guess I will have to work on that. Once again happy birthday! I hope you get some sweet gifts. =D

  2. Happy Birthday! (a bit belated perhaps)

    You know what I like most about this post? I like that instead of giving negative examples of people who've done the things you dislike, you give positive examples either of people who have avoided doing them, or of people who do them in a way that is still interesting and engaging to you.

  3. Happy Belated Birthday!

    And while you may have windsoar smashed through all five, it was a very good read. I enjoy these helpful lists, they give me something to consider while writing my own blog.

  4. Thanks for all the birthday cheer!

    @jed
    A good ramble is always fun!

    @Naithin
    It's nice to not be alone in the universe with your grumbles ^^

    @Larisa
    You're always welcome (although I didn't figure out the piggy part 'til this morning)

    @Kamalia
    Thanks! I was trying to figure out how to tie the rants to something concrete.

    @Laerith
    I think that's the best compliment I've received. Whether someone agrees or not, if it makes someone think about the choices they make and go "yes, I like that" or "I could use improvement there" I'm a happy camper!

  5. Well, very belated happy birthday from me, for starters. I'm very behind these days.

    I started reading this post and went oops, that's me. Oh, so is that. And there. Oh, but I do that one well? Well that's all good then! ;) Many thanks for the kind words and here's hoping all my bad habits don't bother anyone too much.

    As to you, I very much enjoy your posts and wouldn't dream of reading to find fault. Here's to many more to come!

    • See that "Windsoar covers her ass part!" I'm totally covered :P I'm glad no one has seen fit to go find out how what a big hypocrite I am… it might get depressing :)

  6. And that seems a bit like it came out backhanded. I do not mean to imply that you do read to find fault. Just declining the opportunity to take you up on your invitation to look for instances where you have done any of the aforementioned things. Sorry that came out poorly the first time. :P

  7. Happy Belated Birthday. I hope it was celebrated in fine style.

    I saved your post for my Monday morning reading (ok, that's a lie, I did'nt pop in all weekend), and enjoyed it. A short list of what not to do provides a nice complement to Ophelie recently completed guide.

  8. Great post! Particularly liked your #5. As a writing teacher, voice is incredibly hard to teach – impossible, really. People are taught in school to write in this distant, academic, vacant voice that sucks the life out of otherwise interesting writing, and I'm really glad to see that element included in your list here. Write like you're conversing with a friend; that's what blogs are, on a much larger scale. You mention Larisa as your example for voice, and wholeheartedly agree, even though I've only been on the scene a short time, that she has a very strong voice. I see myself sitting in her inn in front of the warm, cozy fire with a pint of lager or whatever's being served, and I'm not even British (I think she is, though only due to her voice). That she can so efficiently paint the environment around her conversation is a testament to writer's voice.

    Once again, great post.

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