Blogging the best – next time

Posted on 16. Dec, 2009 by in John Smock, Uncategorized

Stick to a theme. Don't let it be about this guy.

Stick to a theme. Don't let it be about this guy.

Knitting? Gauchos? The price of milk?

This blog has been all over the place.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about blogging this semester, it’s that random scattered themes just don’t work. I wish I could go back to the beginning of the semester and give myself an assignment – a beat – and tell myself to stick to it.

The knitting posts were intended to let me carry a process through from beginning to end. But who am I to produce a video about casting on stitches? I got half-way through editing some poorly shot footage of myself manipulating yarn before I heard Jeff Jarvis’ voice echoing through the room:

“Do what you do best and link to the rest.”

I shut Final Cut Pro down then and there.

I had better luck in the second half of the semester (mainly the last few weeks) with finding new ways to cover old stories in my neighborhood.

I’m proud of the slideshow I did about how business owners are reacting to the proposed Broadway Triangle. The piece wasn’t without its flaws (chief among them a poorly thought-out transition from the steps of City Hall to the Triangle in Brooklyn), but none of the other dozen or so blogs covering the rezoning proposal did anything close to it.

Similarly, gentrification has been covered to death in Williamsburg. But an NPR-style map of grocery prices in the neighborhood? That yielded an entire post just about the price of milk — up to $2 more in the more upscale blocks of the neighborhood. Walk four blocks north of Broadway, it seems, and you can pay almost twice as much for a gallon of cereal coating. The post even got comments from the outside world.

Similarly, a timeline of the skirmishes over bike lanes helped me keep track of how this whole thing got started. It has room to grow, but it hasn’t been done before.

In fact, an entire blog could be devoted to tracking the development of the bike battles this semester. From City Council meetings to plans from the Greenway Initiative to trying to get the official line from the Department of Transportation, there could be a steady information stream of information. The election season alone was peppered with candidates vying for votes with their stance on the issue.

And developing a beat blog like that would also get a scoop sooner or later.

The Broadway Triangle rezoning has been in the works for at least a year. And a blog on following the numbers to track what’s happening to gentrifying Williamsburg would be sure to contribute material to bigger blogs like Gawker, Brownstoner and Gothamist.

After all, they too do what they do best and link to the rest.

4 Responses to “Blogging the best – next time”

  1. Security Guard Training

    28. Aug, 2010

    I wouldn’t be so hard on yourself – yes, it’s great to stick to a theme, but it’s also nice to branch out and talk about other things on a blog. You may find yourself with a broader audience with a wide range of interested, and then you’d be able to determine which portion of your audience you like to connect to the most.

    I like the quote though: Do what you do best, and link to the rest. It reminds me of a P90x saying: Try your best, and forget the rest.

  2. iTV Apps

    01. Sep, 2010

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Everybody have been there, even the greatest and most successful blogger’s on the internet.

    Rince and repeat is my best tip.

  3. Jenny

    02. Sep, 2010

    Some of the biggest blogs in the world are completely random with their topics. I am thinking of one in particular that discusses making money, dieting/food, cars, finances, travel, and more.

    Just stick to it and you can make it work!

  4. Daily File

    02. Oct, 2010

    Fairly useful article. I just stumbled upon your web site and wished to say that I’ve very liked reading your blog posts. Any manner I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I hope you put up once more soon.