The 1990s are calling. They want their Internet back.
Sitting here, enjoying a warm cup of coffee from my “RTFM” mug, I realize some of you aren’t even old enough to remember a day before “blogging” was a thing. Back when the Internet wasn’t free, but we had freedom. Back before a quick Google search for rules blog* netted “about 551,000,000 results.” WTF?
People, you cry out for free speech and yet you are so shackled by this need for “rules” over it that you will make them up at the drop of a hat and seek to impose them on yourself and others in the name of something to blog about. Holy cats, why?
Not that things like, “Know how to construct coherent sentences and string them together in reasonably clear paragraphs” isn’t important. Not that civility doesn’t require common sense and etiquette – general good manners that might be considered “rules” of a polite society. Stuff you learned when you were three, one can hope. So here are my proposed 5 Rules for Blogging:
- Comply with applicable laws and don’t plead ignorance as an excuse. “Applicable laws” would be your local laws, including copyright, and your web host’s terms of service. If you’re reviewing or selling stuff on your blog, read about the FTC’s new guidelines for reviewers.
- Don’t be a jerk in the name of web traffic or “just because you can.” There’s trolling just to be a jerk – to make strangers’ lives miserable for your own entertainment – and there’s satire and controversy. Know the difference.
- If the blog topic you’re considering has “about 551,000,000 results” already–and you should do a quick search or two to find out–consider whether the Internet really needs you spending your precious life’s moments writing more of the same. Come up with something fresh and original, or go fly a kite. Seriously – Google “how to make a kite” and “how to fly a kite” and go do it. If you have nothing new to say, why blog at all?
- You own your own stories and experiences, and that is all that makes you stand out in the blogging world. Share those, because they are what make you interesting and they are what keep your readers coming back for more.
- If you’re a happy blogger, breaking no actual laws and bothering no one, do not get tangled up in someone else’s “rules for blogging” post. Do your thing. Be happy.
Now get off my lawn, kids. Go read a book. 😉