*See. Travelling, innit?*
I've decided to start this feature because since I got back from travelling in the States (where my internet access was limited) I've come back and thrown myself full-force back into my social media sites. I've been blogging again and tweeting and pinning and facebooking and youtubing to my heart's content and I've loved it :) I've also been able to catch up with other people's blogs and pinboards and other sites which has been fantastic because I love seeing what everyone else has been up to. Having said that, it's also meant that I've done my seasonal cull of facebook friends and I've been much pickier with the blogs I choose to follow. At the end of the day there are so many great blogs out there, but not all of them are applicable to me, so why should I have them cropping up on my dash, clogging up my virtual space?
I've seen quite a few different 'How to Blog' type posts recently, and I want to outline that this is not a 'do-this-don't-do-that' type post. I believe in freedom of speech (and type) and everyone is entitled to do whatever they want with their virtual space. However, some of those things don't appeal to my personal tastes, so I wanted to share with you guys just some of the things I do and don't like in blogs that I read or choose not to read. So here goes...
I Choose Not To Follow Blogs Which...
1) Use curse words frequently without the use of asterisks. I hate to say that in my personal life, I can be quite a stressy person and around close company (friends and family) I have been knows to spit out the odd naughty word in exasperation. However, I see my social networks as the best representation of me and a way of PRing myself as a professional. So I choose not to use those words in writing unless absolutely necessary and even then I use asterisks in place of the central letters, because I respect that many people don't like swears. Blogs which don't do this aren't for me.
2) Clearly haven't been proofread. The odd slip-up or typo happens occasionally of course, and I'd never crucify someone for typing 'than' rather than 'that' or something like that. However, the quality of some people's writing can be so poor that its a lot of effort to fumble through the spelling mistakes to find the true meaning of a post.
*Even when I don't look fab I'll post the picture because blogs are about human imperfections rather than the supermodel images we could find in magazines!*
3) Use stock photos from the internet at all times. I follow blogs because they are personal and I like the photos on the posts to reflect that. I understand that sometimes someone's camera may be broken, or their post doesn't require the use of personal photos but an internet pic is thrown in just to break up the text. But more often than not I like to see how the blogger looks in the disco pants, or how Estee Lauder's new foundation looks on the blogger's face. This is why I choose to follow blogs rather than just read magazines.
4) Only really include words. Seeing a ton of writing on a website doesn't exactly scream, 'I'm a thrilling piece'. Naturally, depending on the tone of the actual piece itself, sometimes it is not appropriate to have photos (if you're telling us about your recent pregnancy scare or your horrific car accident, for example) but I don't tend to follow blogs which frequently feature this type of post.
5) Are TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Again, leading on from above, although I like to see a personal touch in someone's blog, I don't want to read reams and reams about how they treated their thrush outbreak or how they want to commit suicide because their boyfriend broke up with them. Its fine to have weaknesses, and I myself posted a very personal piece back when I decided to take a blog break because I was struggling with my degree. However, blogs which ONLY really concentrate on depressing topics really aren't for me.
I don't like keeping things serious and negative, so...
I Love Following Blogs That...
1) Demonstrate personality. Everybody has a personality! And by blogging you are proving you have a passion strong enough to dedicate time to it even though you there's no-one or nothing forcing you to do it. Passion is personality, so don't hold back. If you love a product and think it is the eighth miracle of the modern world, then tell us. If you experienced a terrible allergic reaction to a mascara, let me know. If you want to hit back against a particularly nasty hater, go for it! Your blog is your space to get your voice out there, so make sure you're not just hiding behind your content.
*I love seeing what people are eating, what they are reading, who they are seeing, where they are going, what they are wearing, how they are applying, why they are travelling, etc. Make your blog a collage of the fab things that happen in life and don't let your main discipline trap you.*
2) Mix things up a bit. I know many blog readers absolutely hate when a blog usually focused on beauty decides to feature a restaurant review, but I absolutely love these impromptu posts. In the #bbloggers chat on Twitter, I've often seen bloggers expressing their apprehension at posting outside of their main 'discipline' and I just wanted to say that personally, I find myself MORE drawn to those pages which show variety than those that simply focus on one area.
3) Aren't afraid to tackle controversial issues. I love reading debate-style pieces and even if I don't agree with the opinion its nice to be able to see what other people think. For example, I read a fantastic piece FOR animal testing a couple of weeks back, and even though I don't necessarily agree with animal testing myself, the piece was argued so eloquently and with such knowledge that I automatically respected the blogger and resultantly hit 'Follow'.
4) Reply to commenters. Blogs, and social networks of all kinds in fact, are all about interactivity. I like blogs which start discussions and respond to the readers who have taken the time to get involved and express their own opinions. Some people say they would blog even if no-one was reading, and although I find that admirable and I love writing, I can't really say that this is the case for me. What I love about my blog is that I can tell readers something they wanted to know and answer their further questions or hear about their own experiences in the comments box. This is why I always, without fail, answer all blog comments and I really respect those that make the effort to do the same. Obviously, some of the more popular bloggers couldn't possibly reply to all of their comments or they would be there all day. However, the odd Tweet back or responsive blog post saying something like, 'I really appreciated all of the comments on my previous post' makes me want to be one of those commenters.
*Making current affairs into original content shows you've really thought through your blog post... kudos!*
5) Post up-to-the-minute relevant content. As I've said above, I love seeing personal posts such as, 'Here's what I got up to this weekend', but I also enjoy seeing content which is current and topical. For example, I really love beauty blogs which featured tutorials inspired by the Diamond Jubilee a few months back, or the Olympics at the moment. I follow a brilliant fashion blogger who each October posts a handful of DIY Halloween Costume ideas. I also know a baker who likes to bake, photograph and blog about cakes which reflect celebratory events going on in the world around us. Such an original spin on content which is accessible by everyone! Just because you are posting about something which anyone else could write about, with a little creativity you can make the story your own, and I really enjoy original and creative posts of this nature.
Finally, just to finish off...
I Refuse To Click On...
1) Instagram posts. I actually don't have Instagram and maybe that's part of the reason I don't like these posts because I'm well jel of those jammy beasts out there with access to this popular form of social networking. However, consciously, I believe that Instagram posts are a little lazy... You're getting a blog post out of content which you've actually already technically published. Also, I very rarely find these posts original. Blogger A shows a picture of her cat. Blogger B shows a picture of a mug of tea. Blogger C shows a picture of some clouds. Blogger D shows a picture of a Starbucks cup. Blogger E posts a picture of a cupcake. And then we go round in circles. It's a bit like one of Peter Kay's buffets... vol-au-vonts, chicken legs, cheesecake, vol-au-vonts, chicken, legs, cheesecake, vol-au-vonts, chicken legs, cheesecake...
2) Beauty box descriptions. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing reviews of the company, or items within beauty boxes. However, in the first week of every month, I don't need to read ten posts by ten different beauty bloggers telling me what was inside their Glossybox. If I wanted to know, I would just consult the Glossybox website! This is one of the cases where a little creativity wouldn't go amiss.
3) Blogger interviews. I LOVE reading guest posts on people's blogs, and after reading them, if I love the post I will genuinely go and check out their site. Guest posting is a genius way of putting in a bit of effort and promoting your page. Blogger interviews on the other hand are boring to me. I don't really care what Blogger A's favorite cocktail is, or when she last cried, I want to know about her blog and her writing style and content. Although I have partook in an interview myself once or twice, I won't do again as I just find them to be quite cold and clinical, a bit of a waste of time to read really.
*Hosting giveaways TOO often, for no reason and with complicated rules hacks me off...*
4) Giveaways. I don't have a problem with giveaways really, I even organized one myself a little while ago. I often retweet giveaways that I think are good and don't think any less of those that enter them. However, I just don't have that much of an interest. I find the rules and regulations of giveaway can often be a bit too complicated and time-consuming (*For two entries follow me on Twitter, for three Retweet me, for four...*) Pages that host giveaways too often aren't for me as they look a bit spammy on my dash and don't interest me that much at all. I only really enter giveaways if the prize is incredible, it is a one-off giveaway post (rather than a 'Follow me and you might win' type thing) and it isn't too complex to enter.
5) Blogger awards. When I first started blogging, I was flattered to be given a blogger award. Within a couple of weeks I realized that although it was nice that someone had thought enough of my blog to post my link on their page, I also realized that this award wasn't really worth the five dull questions I had answered in order to 'claim' it and pass it along. I always hated chain email, and I find the blogger awards are our equivalent today. They pressurize bloggers into posting content which they never normally would and passing the award on. I find these awards to be a nuisance and boring to read about. Having said that, if 'awarded' myself I will usually thank the blogger because I appreciate that not everyone thinks the same as me. But still, you will NEVER see a blogger award post of that nature on HauteFuture again.
I will post similar 'Social Networking 101' posts in the future including topics such as the #bbloggers chat on Twitter, the ever increasing number of blogging groups on Facebook, how I'm getting my head around LinkdIn, how I like to use my Twitter account, how best to make your social networks work together, the reason I don't have many facebook friends and a simple post on how to start a blog. If you can think of any more ideas, please let me know and I'll see if I could write on them :) Also, I only gave five points on each topic but obviously there are other things I love and hate about blogs and I'm sure as the industry changes I'll want to add things, so I've called this 'Social Neworking 101: My Blogging Likes and Dislikes #1'.
Once again let me remind you that this isn't supposed to be a dictatorial post, only one stating what I look for or what puts me off in a blog.
What do you love seeing in people's blogs? Does anything that bloggers do with their pages really get under your skin? Have you ever unfollowed a blog because of a post you haven't liked?
Love and snuggles