One of my projects for 2012 is going to be to ramp up my work on the blog, write more and write more in-depth pieces, and to add some new functionality and content areas that have been on the back burner for a while.
- John Scalzi, Whatever: If there’s a blog that I think is a model for what I want my own to be, it’s whatever. Scalzi posts a nice combination of informal/personal material and “serious” pieces that really brings out his personality as well as his opinions in an entertaining way. It doesn’t hurt that he’s one of my favorite authors these days, and that I’m compatible with his sense of humor.
- John Gruber, Daring Fireball: John’s not afraid to hold an opinion, and even when I think his opinion is all fugged up, he’s an interesting read. I like how he finds information of interest for his readers without the blatant push for pageviews by churning trivial posts or updates — his stuff all seems pretty meaty and relevant, rather than feeling like he’s trying to hit his quota. And he’s fun and entertaining, and a good source of pointers to things I’d otherwise miss — and his attribution policy is stellar.
- Duncan Davidson: I absolutely love the site design. I just want to steal it, lock, stock and barrel. He’s taken great care to build the site so that it takes equal care with both his words and photos — very few site designs give both equal respect. I wish he had time to blog more; he’s been a great support as I’ve tried to push my own photography forward, and a great inspiration for what is possible for me.
- MG Siegler, Parislemon: Another site I’m attracted to for the information — but even more so for the opinion that makes the information interesting. Like Gruber, but with more cuss words; that’s not a negative.
- Passive Guy, the Passive Voice: if you’ve been following my twitter and the links I’ve been passing around, it should come as no surprise that over the last year, my writing muse has reawakened from her long slumber, and I’ve been researching going back towards writing, including fiction — after all these years. And Passive Voice is the blog that is really the clearing house for information on the disruption of the publishing industry and the emergence of self-publishing and ebooks as the new publishing model. If that interests you at all, this is a blog you need to follow (along with Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch)
- Kirk Tuck, The Visual Science Lab: I find Tuck’s blog endlessly fascinating, because as a photographer, he doesn’t talk very much about taking a photograph. Instead, his focus is on talking about being a photographer. It’s a quiet blog, rather self-effacing, but the concepts he discusses are critical for the person who is trying to make the shift from taking photos to being a photographer — the business, the attitude of earning a living with a camera. At the same time, he’s not afraid to show the raw love for photography and cameras that clearly drove him to taking this career path. This isn’t a “how to build a web site and become a professional photographer” site, no glib generalities here, nor will you find 200 word shallow soundbites of simple advice. But as I’ve read his blog over time, it’s given me a real understanding and appreciation of the attitude and professionalism that underlies being a photographer.
Absolutely, and by thinking about why these sites attract me, it gives me some perspective on ways I can improve my own blog environment.
The big themes?
- Taking the blog more seriously, not as a revenue generator but as a presence.
- Personality and opinion.
- Design; especially a better representation of my photos, but without making my writing a second class citizen. Few sites pull that off properly; it’s one or the other that dominates.
- And making sure the blog properly represents who I am, in a way compatible with what I do.
What does this mean for the blog in 2012?
We’ll get to that…