"Cat with a Pearl Earring" 2.5 x 3.5" colored pencil on paper.
Copyright 2008 Maggie Stiefvater.
Available on mugs/ bags/ stuff here.
Sunday is my blog-reading day. Well, it's really my lazy all-purpose doing things I don't have time to do the rest of the week day, but it's quicker to say "blog-reading day."
Anyway, the bigger my blogging circle gets, the more chances I seem to get to actually meet some of the folks whose blogs I read or who comment on my blogs. It's always a weird experience. Because sometimes, you meet someone whose online persona is just like them -- their speech patterns and their . . . I dunno, aura . . . are exactly like their real-life mannerisms.
But more often than not, there's a strange disconnect between someone's online persona and their real-life persona. And as a blogger, that's a bad thing. Because most of us are way better at speaking in real life than we are in writing. Sure, a lot of us can throw together a nicely patterned sentence or a formal paper, but we sure as bunny-fluff don't actually speak like that.
So the reason why this sucks for bloggers is because the success of your blog (and for artists who rely on blogs to drive purchases) relies on how well you can connect with your fellow man. The younger set doesn't have the same problems with this because they've grown up talking to people online. To them, there's no difference in how they speak and how they write (which of course has its own set of problems when they try to move into formal writing). A great example is this teen review of Lament. Tell me you don't know exactly how this girl would be in real life. I had the great fortune to meet her after she wrote that review and I have to tell you, what you see is what you get. And that's refreshing a world of insincerity and anonymity. People want to get a sense of who you are.
On the other hand, I get e-mails from older folks -- and by older I mean thirty -- and I get run-on paragraphs of stilted e-mailese. Often it comes across as curt or uneducated; it frustrates me when I meet them in person and realize that these are highly educated, well-spoken people whose communication skills fall apart when converted to the written word. In a word . . . ack. Communication disaster.
So here's the question for the week: are you who you say you are on your blog? Or are you buried beneath clunky prose and funkier punctuation? Here's an exercise: hold a conversation with someone. Anyone. Your husband. Your dog. Then run to the keyboard and write down exactly what you just said. With some polishing and slightly fewer swear words, that should be what your online persona sounds like too.
Hope everyone's having a great Labor Day . . . I expect I will have a blog post containing humorous antics and tales of disaster as I try to host my first ever multiple-family BBQ at my house tomorrow. I'm afraid, very afraid.