Not too long ago, reading blogs or, especially, writing blogs was considered nerdy. Okay, it still is, but these days, everyone and their cousin has one. (Granted, none of my cousins have one, that I know of. And I get a cliche point! [New tag]) The so-called mainstream media and general society took a while to accept, first, the existence of these "Web logs" and, second, that some of them might actually be written well and, thus, worth reading.
Occasionally, I come across a blog I really love. So I had an idea: Since I co-write a blog, why don't I use this space to analyze other blogs?
Seems like a no-brainer. After all, I spend most of my workday (I do occasionally work) reading other blogs, and most of those blogs spend their time analyzing things or discussing things or discussing an analysis of things. Why not turn the tables? (Blogs about blogs -- so meta.)
So: What, in fact, makes a blog good, or a good blog? What are the common denominators? Hm. Hard to say. Clearly, if you read this blog, you're aware that we have no idea what we're doing. We're approaching our one-year anniversary (March 20!), and we have yet to really find a "voice" or "identity" for the blog, so perhaps through analysis of other blogs, I/we can glean some insight into how to make this thing more readable. (Or we can keep on making inside jokes that only we get, which would actually be fine. That, or more fart jokes.)
So in order to figure out what exactly it is that makes a blog "good" or "interesting", I figured I'd take one blog that I find both good and interesting and analyze it. Maybe this'll become a regular feature, who knows? (Hey there's an idea -- do something on a regular basis so that readers can have some kind of idea what to expect; they might even like it and come back again. Could that be a "good" thing for a blog? Hmmm...)
So first up...
Irish and Jew!!!
I came upon this blog through some other blog I can't remember, but since my best friends are generally either Irish or Jewish (I, however, am neither. Sigh.), I figured I'd check it out. Then, to my surprise, their intro said this:
"Originally from (NORTH!) Jersey, we have pride in all things Garden State."Pride in Jersey? And loudly (since loud = CAPS) proclaiming their Northern Jersey roots? Outstanding! (Incidentally, the intro used to have lots more fun stuff about them being promiscuous and swearing like sailors and the like. Don't know where that went. Send them an angry e-mail, I would suggest.) Anyway, I felt like I had spotted a winner.
And man, oh, man, was I right. It turns out that both Jew and Irish like drinking a lot. Which, of course = huge plus. As I continued to read their blog, I grew more and more interested in who the hell these chicks were. So I read their entire archive, and after doing so, I had to admit, these two chicks fucking rule.
So let's go over a few reasons why. A veritable "How To" for bloggers:
1. Content is more than just pictures and videos.
Irish and Jew's blog is about 90 percent words, with only the occasional YouTube clip thrown in and, even more rarely, a picture. So many blogs think just throwing up a video or a funny picture makes it worth reading. Not true at all, as these chicks prove. Most of their posts are simply funny recounts of them drinking somewhere or old stories about their families or the occasional rant. On most other blogs, this sort of routine crap sucks, as the random reader won't find the stories funny or connect to them at all. But somewhere along the line, Irish and Jew learned "writing," whereby I can simply read their "words" and be totally entertained. Without pictures!
Yes, of course, they have their "Happy Friday" thing, where Jew generally posts an old-school girly video, but I must excuse that since here at Where's Luke?, I've been doing the "Friday Classic Video" thing. (And also, just about every blog out there has some sort of Friday gimmick. What's that about? When I started doing Friday Classic Videos, I honestly thought I was being original. Turns out I'm just a one in a long line. Sigh, again.)
The Point Is: Writing is very important on a blog.
2. As they say in journalism, follow the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Irish and Jew don't break any sort of Web-design barriers. Clearly, all the alcohol they've ingested hasn't taught them XML or Dreamweaver. However, as you can see by my first attempt at putting a screen shot up:
Green type = Irish wrote it. (Green = Irish. Naturally.)
Blue type = Jew wrote it. (Blue = Jew. Rhymes!)
So simple, yet it really gives the blog a "look." These girls go so far as to use the proper color even when one is quoting the other. It's like this (I'll improvise an Irish post):
So anyway, I'm at this bar with Black Irish Stud, getting hammered, and Jew comes over, and she's all, "Holy shit it's 4:30 a.m., Adam just called, I gotta go!!!" And Jew hopped right into a cab, leaving me with the tab. So I flirted up the bartender and we both got WASTED, and he didn't charge us a dime! I rule, totes!Y'see? Even that simple artistic decision is a memorable characteristic of their blog.
And yes, in the screen shot above, you'll also notice that there are boobs.
The Point Is: Create an attractive and unique visual presentation, using colors and boobs.
3. They actually pay attention to the people who read their blog.
On some blogs, people "comment." On the occasional post here at Where's Luke?, we'll get a few comments (that aren't written by myself, LJT, Side Bar, or Chuck), and sometimes we get as many as fucking 80, bitch. However, we do a very poor job of responding to those rare folks who happen upon our tiny corner of the Internet Superhighway NetWEB (INSWEB). If we took even a few moments out of our supremely busy lives to send a comment back, perhaps those brave souls would feel vindicated and choose to visit us again.
If there's a blog out there that could give a tutorial on how to treat commenters, it's Irish and Jew. On every post, they seem to reply to each and every commenter. And, believe it or not, this leads to more comments! And, likely, more traffic, and ultimately, more people reading what they write. Amazing, isn't it?
I have no idea how many people have stopped by Where's Luke? since we began writing it, but I'll bet my house (I don't own a house, but I'll bet Chuck's.) that if we were as diligent about writing back to our commenters and, perhaps, clicking on their names to find out what blog they write and then we read that and commented on it... Jesus, I got tired just typing that. How the hell do Irish and Jew do it? F.B.D. Fucking Blogger's Discipline. Or they enjoy it. Or you'll have to ask them, I dunno. But anyway...
The Point Is: If someone comments on your blog, thank them by responding, and they'll be more likely to keep reading.
So these three big lessons in blog-writing (1. Write it well, 2. Use colors and boobs, and 3. Be nice to those who read it.) can possibly help us along as we attempt to keep this blog going as we approach Year 2.
As it turns out, we lucky gents at Where's Luke? might just have the chance to meet these two gals this Friday. (This is because I was smart enough to throw a link to their blog up on ours, which they somehow discovered. I think they know more about the Internet than I do. But anyway, thank God we put "New Jersey" up on our banner pic. Anyway, in a future Blog Analysis, we'll go over "Links." I hear it's the latest thing. That and something called "Face Book.")
And as I'm sure you'd agree, the big question regarding us meeting these two strange women who write an awesome blog is clearly:
Are they hot?
Since they don't post pictures of themselves anywhere, it's a guessing game. So I will guess.
From the few clues they have left on their blog about their physical descriptions, all I know is that Irish is a redhead and Jew has large boobs. That, as they say in baseball parlance, is 2 for 2. So I'm gonna go ahead and guess that they're both pretty hot. But if you add in these facts:
- They both drink a lot
- They write an excellent blog
- They come from NORTH Jersey
- Jew was born on Halloween (it's in the blog, somewhere, I remember)
- Irish is, well, an Irish redhead
But hey, after a few beers...