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Blogging Fast and Sloppy December 19, 2006

Posted by Ben Craigo in Blogging.
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Caught this post on how to blog faster.  The first thing that struck me was “Wow, this is very, um, detailed.”  There are some great tips in there in how to construct different types of articles.  Following these tips supposedly allows for the creation of a blog post on a first draft.  That would be fantastic considering I draft, draft again, publish, edit the published post and perhaps tweak again. 

The second thing that struck me was that some of comments pointed out the poor grammer or typos that were frequent and obvious.  The retort was that blogging is more informal and having mistakes come with the territory.  So is it OK to blog sloppy as long as you get your message across?

It kind of depends on your audience.  There are folks out there who really pay attention to proper form – things like grammer, spelling and punctuation.  If you have enough snafus in your writing it will distract certain people from the content of your message.   While I wouldn’t necessarily agonize over a rare mistake or two the mistakes shouldn’t be obvious or frequent enough that it’s clear that you didn’t at least give it a once over before publishing.

Of cuosre tehre are tohse who wlil piont out taht the brian is vrey aedpt at pckiing out cnoentt bsaed on paettrns isntaed of dteails.

And then there are those who will send me hate mail for putting you through that last “sentence”.

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Comments»

1. Stephen Downes - December 20, 2006

“While I wouldn’t necessarily agonize over a rare mistake or two the mistakes shouldn’t be obvious or frequent enough that it’s clear that you didn’t at least give it a once over before publishing.”

My first reaction was, “Why not?” They were calling my flight – why not just post it? And if you don’t like the typos, the license allows you to correct the mistakes and post it on your own site.

My second thought is, who cares? Firefox 2.0 now has a built-in spell-check, so now I have a nice red underline to point out spelling mistakes to me. That is much much better than editing your own work (because, after all, you see what you meant to write, not what you wrote).

Finally, it seems to me that talking about the mistakes, and observing in passing that it is detailed, allows you to get away with the unsubstantiated “supposedly” in “supposedly allows for the creation of a blog post on a first draft.” What are the grounds for your doubt?

If there is a criticism to be made – and I think there is one – it is that more time should have been taken to highlight section breaks and headings, to allow people (like you?) to get something from skimming the article rather than reading it.

One day I will do that.

2. Ben Craigo - December 20, 2006

Stephen – Thanks for your comments. And I think you make valid points. I’m much more a fan of content over form. I would rather get the information. However, when I’m trying to communicate to others I tend to spend more time on format so that it doesn’t distract from the readers. But that’s just my style and that leads to an important point – everyone has a different style.

Not everyone is going to like my posts whether it’s the topic, how it’s formatted, how it reads, what points I decided to leave in and what I left out. For some folks that’s a tough hurdle to get over and just put yourself out there. Just get the information out there.

I like your recommendation of segmenting out the post. There’s so much information that it would be good to focus on one specific type of article/essay: argument, explanation, definition and description. It would make it a much better reference (for me) to go back to get the crib notes.

One last thing, because it probably didn’t come across this way, I thought it was a great article.

3. Ben Craigo - December 20, 2006

Oh, and forgot to mention on the “doubt” question…I take most of what I read as face value until I actually put it into practice or see it crop up in several different places. I don’t endorse something out of hand. Basically I thought it was valuable enough to pass on with a “see what you think” label.

I do plan to come back to it and give some of your suggestions a try (famous last words). Will let you know how it goes.

4. Cynthia Huber, CTM - December 31, 2006

I am one of those folks who are bothered by more than a few errors in written documents. To make it worse, I am an instructor for students with poor language and reading skills. I work hard to teach them to speak and write properly so that potential employers will give them as much time as other job seekers. I don’t sugar-coat the fact that errors create the impression that the job seeker doesn’t care about quality, is too lazy to be bothered to make sure the document is error free, or worse, uneducated.

What concerns me is that if we continue to “allow” errors in written text, it will become the norm. Secondly, how can we distinguish the experts from the “I think I know a bunch of stuff and want to tell the world” type writers if the experts don’t set themselves apart by focusing on quality. Excuses are excuses and everyone has one, two, or a zillion.

Call me old fashion, but I want to be recognized as someone who still values quality work. I think that the extra few minutes it takes to create a message in word, correct errors, and then copy to the bog is worth it.

My question is, “Are blogs meant to be used for sharing quality information, having casual conversation in written form, or a fast way and fun place to dump every thought that pops into one’s head?”

5. Cynthia Huber, CTM - December 31, 2006

OK – before the comments start…. I found my own error…. “bog” should be “blog” in the 2nd to last paragraph.

My excuses…. “My cat was on the table and I was distracted.”, “Someone was knocking on my door.”, The phone was ringing and I wanted to post the message before I had a conversation with a live person.”….pick one – any one…..

6. Ben Craigo - December 31, 2006

Cynthia – Couldn’t agree more. I’m a bit of a stickler. Though blogs are supposed to be more informal and conversational. It’s OK to not be completely proper. Expected even. From my own personal experience I find that those blogs I enjoy are those that read very well and break a few rules along the way.

Oh, and comments are even more informal. We’ll overlook the the “bog” incident of 2006 🙂


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