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Archive for January, 2012

The Trouble With Blogging

January 24th, 2012 by Bob Bly

I used to get 12 to 15 comments or more on my blog posts.

Then, I was silent for 3 months.

When  I returned to blogging this month, I got only 3 to 5 comments per post.

You can make the case that my lack of blogging for months diminished my readership.

And that’s the problem with blogging.

To maintain the recommended frequency of posts, bloggers write blog articles even if they have nothing to say.

And the result is drivel. As Willy Nelson says, “You can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothing to say.”

What happens when I have no news, information, or thoughts to impart?

Should I blog for the sake of keeping up with blogging?

Or should I be silent until a worthy idea occurs?


Category: General | 160 Comments »

Should All Information be Free?

January 18th, 2012 by Bob Bly

In an online ad to protest anti-piracy laws pending in congress, Wikepedia says, “Imagine a world without free knowledge.”

But should ALL knowledge be free?

Do you expect the attendant at  your local gas station to fill your car for free?

Do you expect your doctor to treat  you for free?

Do you expect the plumber to fix your leaky faucet for free?

A mantra you hear on the Internet is “information wants to be free.”

Does that mean those who create content are entitled to no rewards from it … and are expected to work for free?

What do  you think?


Category: General | 70 Comments »

The Death Knell of the Writing Profession

January 11th, 2012 by Bob Bly

It was while working as a technical writer for Westinghouse in 1979 that I first heard the term “word smith” applied to writing.

“He’s a pretty good word smith,” my internal client said, referring to an engineer I was supposed to interview for writing a brochure; the engineer felt a mere writer couldn’t understand the subject and it would be better if he wrote it himself.

Now a relatively new term — content — further degrades writers and the status of writing.

“Writing” sounds like a craft or skill. “Content” sounds like something you buy by the can or by the pound.

I am seeing an ad in a lot of places on the web for “Writer Access,” an organization that promises to help you “get your content written.” They match you with a writer from a pool of thousands, again commoditizing the practice of writing.

The only ways for writers to avoid being a commodity:  (1) write a best-seller (2) write in a specific niche in which you are perceived as an expert and (3) write direct response copy where results can be measured.


Category: General | 54 Comments »

Proof Positive

January 3rd, 2012 by Bob Bly

While I don’t use a professional proofreader for my blogging, I do  use one for nearly all other writing, including copy for clients, articles, and books.

When a proofreader is not someone you use, then you lose.

Example: a digest mailing from Preston James promises the reader will learn about a special web site on page 73.

But the digest is only 71 pages long!

Once a large accounting firm had me in to train their managers in writing. “Be sure to emphasize proofreading,” the client told me. Why? The cover of a proposal to a major account referred to the firm as “certified pubic accountants.”


Category: General | 104 Comments »