Mindcasting vs. Lifecasting

by Rachel on April 22, 2010 · 30 comments

When thinking about creating good content, one of the ideas I love is the idea of “mindcasting” and “lifecasting.” These words come from the mind of NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen and really apply to social media — specifically Twitter. But I think about them a lot when it comes to blogging.

Mindcasting is sharing ideas. For us, it might be recipes, articles, links, or really just any commentary. I also think of mindcasting as instruction or information; an entire post on, say, fiber, or horseback riding.

Lifecasting is sharing your life. It’s pictures of your food, your dog, your family; stories of your workout or your trip to the winery.

I believe that a good health blog combines both mindcasting and lifecasting. Another Hollaback girl mentioned today that she’s going to aim to do only one “lifecasting” post a day; I think that’s a great idea. The more mindcasting you do, the more you’re offering a service to people. I think many bloggers have the goal of inspiring people. While, yes, your day-to-day existence can very well inspire (I know many of us cook better food after seeing good food pictures or are inspired to sign up for a race hearing about one), there’s also so much more you — we! — can offer. More mindcasting posts (even things that still are about you like “Why I Love Racing” or “How I Learned to Cook”) are awesome. I truly think those are the best posts because we really get to know the blogger and we’re also inspired to comment! It’s really hard to comment on lifecasting. Like, “Oh, that food looks amazing! Just like it did yesterday!!”? Yeah…I guess. But it’s also great to be able to have a real discussion.

See, mindcasting is thought-provoking. It will get you more comments. It will also invite people to, well, holler back. People link to mindcasting posts. We’ve all seen someone write, “I’ve been thinking about *this post* all day and it made me really want to try Bikram yoga.” If you want to be *that post* more, try mindcasting.

I love the idea of aiming for more mindcasting and less lifecasting — or even just doing 50-50. Personally, the more I write and the stronger I get, the less lifecasting I do. And I also don’t lifecast unless I truly have something to say. I don’t lifecast pictures of leftovers or a workout that was the same as yesterday’s. I never post pictures of my breakfast. Why? Because I eat the same thing every day! What’s the point? Just to say something? Nah — no point. So even when you lifecast, find a way to make it better. This doesn’t mean more pictures or more smiley faces; it means more thoughts and words.

And don’t think you have nothing to mindcast. I bet you do! And I think it’s really important to recognize that you do. Don’t rely on lifecasting because you’re afraid to have an opinion or point of view — your readers will appreciate these things! I’d rather disagree with someone than just have nothing to say about a blog. I love those days when I read a post that’s so on point (or off point, for that matter), I have to comment or I want to re-tweet it. That’s the kind of blog post I strive to write and those are the blog posts I love to read. So what if you’ve been lifecasting for six months? We know what your breakfast looks like; now show us your brain, your heart, your opinion, your thoughts!

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