I’m listening to Nora Young talking about how to keep a good blog (as opposed to a crappy one) on Spark. They say her own blog is pretty crappy. The advice she got was to pick a topic that’s unique and that she’s passionate about; that thing that everyone tells you to shut up about should be the topic of your blog.
I think this is a very male geek perspective. Perhaps male nerd perspective. That’s about branding yourself with your own singular idiosyncrasies; you always post about the intersection between WoW and Freud? Sure, you can be the WoW Freud guy to your tiny wedge audience, but I’m not sure that gives you an awesome blog.
I don’t think you need to have one topic to have a good blog. In fact, I think I’d get bored of your blog if you only have one topic. (It’s like allowing your blog to be dominated by, ahem, cancer or something.) The only advice she got that I think is any good is this: find your own voice. Any blog, and any topic, can be interesting if it’s really coming from you, if the ideas and feelings and observations are genuine. I don’t even think your voice, your perspective, has to be radically unique, either, and I don’t think you have to go out of your way to make yourself unique. I think you just have to be passionate. There’s no point writing about something you’re not passionate about, and I’d hope that you’re passionate about a lot of things.
Nora Young is, apparently, interested in both technology and philosophy, so her adviser told her to write about the intersection of those things. That could be interesting. Equally, I think her interests would naturally create that, when appropriate. The better advice would be: write about what really grabs you.
I think the point is to talk back to popular culture, to hegemony, to media, to teachers or authority or peers. Make yourself an active participant rather than a passive absorber of information, regardless of your situation. It’s more of a way to reorient your vision of yourself and your importance in your own grand scheme. To remind you that you have a voice in your world, and your blog can be your platform. I don’t think the point of that is to get more readers, or to have a more entertaining blog, so perhaps I’m a bad adviser on that front. I think the idea is to train yourself to speak out, no matter what the topic is. To think critically about what’s going on, read/listen/think carefully and add your opinion. Not just absorbing what you’re hearing, what you’re experiencing, but responding to it. To be political, I think that activity can make you a better citizen and a better person.
As a side effect, I think it gives you a better blog, too. Because your passion is obvious. You are a speaker in the world rather than a listener. You have something to add. That makes you interesting.