Because my claim to blog fame is that I once weighed 300 pounds, it should come as no surprise that I spent the majority of my teen years making friends online. ICQ, AIM, LiveJournal, Xanga, MySpace, personal websites on envy.nu…and remember Friendster? What the hell was that, anyway? I don’t know, but I believe I had a profile.
Now that I’m 27 and have a full-time job, my Internet presence is slightly more grown up, and the blogs and websites I read are too. Or at least, they used to be. More and more I am disturbed by the posts I see on healthy living blogs that are reminiscent of the teen angst-filled Internet of yesteryear.
I get it: blogging is an outlet. Bloggers are, at their best, a supportive community. It’s cathartic to share your experience and emotions and have other people respond. But if you are spewing words into your keyboard and onto your screen and hitting publish without a second thought, well… first, it’s obvious to everyone who reads it that you don’t care, and that’s rude to your readers, and and second, it makes your blog appear to be written by a teenager. I’ve been shocked a few times to click on an “About Me” tab to find that a blogger I pictured to be about 17 is actually a 20- or 30-something adult with a job and responsibilities.
A few tips to ensure your blog reads like a blog and not, well, a MySpace profile:
- We’ve been over this before, but it’s worth repeating: Is your post worth the space on your blog? Is your post — whether it’s an emotional rant or a mundane almost-more-of-a-status-update-than-a-post post — something you want on your blog? Photos of you and your BFFs goofing around at Walmart/Denny’s/wherever …that is a MySpace post. That is not something for your blog.
- For the love of God, put some thought into whatever you’re posting. This means everything from proper grammar and spelling to the actual content. If you have just vomited 500 emotion-filled words onto WordPress, use the “Save Draft” option, take a step back, and think about it. The raw emotions that might’ve been OK as a MySpace update when you were 16 are probably not OK as a blog post. It’s not that you can’t blog about emotional topics, but it needs to be done in such a way that you sound like a sane adult, not an angst-ridden teenager.
- No irrelevant photos of yourself or bikini crotch shots, no matter cute/hilarious/thin/awesome you think you look. Throw it on Facebook, play with it on Instagram, but don’t pass it off as blog content. No secret Internet fatty photos, either. I’m all for posting flattering photos, but there is a difference between “flattering” and “a complete and utter lie.” Being a grown-up means being OK with your grown-up body.
- Knock it off with the emoticons and cutesy words.
A good blog is one that’s written maturely, and if you are an adult who lacks a firm grasp on that, you probably shouldn’t be putting information on the Internet.