The reception of words on a blog often seems to go hand and hand with what visual they accompany. It’s natural that a visually appealing post would be a boost, but really, much like the average person looking someone else over, the likeability of any post is usually summed up in an instant. Or, if your blog features a picture of you in which you’re attractive in any conventional sense, bonus points on the likeability. Perhaps it should be said that liking any post so quickly is often a pretty thin version of the sentiment. I’m not harping on human nature (too much), it’s just that as posts by some of my favorite bloggers decline or stop altogether, it reminds me that I like reading a blog when it’s sort of like the antithesis of reality TV (or some crappy indie movie): lots of great text, probably not too concerned with image, and easily passed over for lack of glamor.
What do I like in a blog? Attempts to figure out the human condition, and not just the condition of the ones whose looks are idealized on TV, is key. Good humor. Funny dog stories (’cause there are no funny cats in real life — except, possibly, if you’re using sixties slang). Also, the occasional entertaining whine session, though I guess that goes back to good humor and even a bit of the human condition criterion.
It’s an effort to keep up a good blog, in the first place. And it seems especially so when it’s something done simply for its own sake. As mentioned before, I don’t typically find a whole to relate to in most of the big journals on the web. But I know that they pay their writers, and beyond myself (well, maybe a bit for myself), I wish there were comparable venues for those who write interesting cultural commentary outside of a coffee shop — or wherever else only has smiles for the presentably upwardly mobile. Something to help more folks keep going. To that end, I have to wish that there would be more likes for these folks as well. As flimsy and slightly shallow as they can be, there can also be a sight for sore eyes.
Sometimes, though, I have to wonder if it’s all just people preaching to a choir. And maybe that’s the problem, everyone wants to see themselves in some group that never really challenges them. That’s often where it’s easiest, but if you’ve managed to drag yourself away from TV to eke out a thoughtful post about culture beyond gardens that no one seems to care about, thanks. And if you made a garden interesting by writing about something more than how pretty it is, even more thanks. When I’m not writing myself, I’ll be reading.