Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What is Considered as a Good Blog?

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about my journey in blogging, and the response I have been getting from my audience so far. All in all, most comments are positive, and encouragingly supportive. However, there are a few odd ones, which I shall gladly highlight for the public eye.

People think my blog is boring, because I talk too much, and my entries are too long.

Some people only look at the photos I uploaded, and skip the entire text in the entries.

Some people think I have too many pictures in one entry.

A few people think that I blog too much about food.

Ironically, a few people suggested I should blog more about food.

A number of people think I have posted too many pictures of my friends.

A few hate me for my camwhoring sessions.

Some hate me simply because they think I am ugly. How flattering.

For every reason my readers can come up each day, I find it rather comical to defend myself, and do what I can to fit into their interests. You see, people love to compare. They compare your blog with other blogs. They compare the number of comments you have in every entry, they compare the quality of the photographs you take, they compare the content you blog about with the stereotypically accepted as “good reads”, they compare how well you fare in your blogging skills with anything better that they can find out there in the wide, wide world of blogosphere. You can compare all that you want, but I can tell you that what you are doing is simply NUTS.

I believe in this, and I have repeatedly told many the same thing:

There is NO general rule stating which blog is good and bad. For every blog is different and unique, and one blog may serve the interests of certain group of readers but considered to be completely opposite by another group of readers.

Lets talk about different categories of blogs out there. Do note that the categorizations I am listing down here are purely based on my observations and general opinion only, limited to very much, Malaysian Blogosphere.

1) Photo Blog
No content, just photos, and some lame descriptions of the photos. Photos, photos, and MORE photos.

Pros: Pictures are always interesting to look at. They are a form of art, and may represent meanings that words cannot describe. People who own DSLRs and better cameras have upper advantage in this category.

Cons: NOT everything can be described with just photos. Plain photos are nothing but photos, and you will have to actually write something to tell your story. Too many photos can be redundant, and pointless. Learn to improve your writing skills, if you want to bring out the full potential of your photos.

2) Personal Diary/Journal
Chronicles the life of an everyday living, events, friends, food, whatever. May be utterly random and disorganized, since whatever happened in life can be rather random itself.

Pros: People’s life will always be an interesting thing to look at, just as much as we love to watch dramas on TV about the fictional lives of others.

Cons: If you do your blog entry by just “what time I woke up, what I ate for lunch, what time I finished uni, and what time did I brush my teeth”, well, things do get mundane when the same cycle repeats itself over and over again.

3) Mainstream blogs

These are more serious blogs, dealing with real current everyday issues, may it be politics or just simply following the updates of happenings. Issues like change of bus fares and which Datuk slept with which Datuk’s wife.

Pros: Some blogs out there provide real good insight and additional note-worthy information the media might have missed out. Another good source to keep oneself up to pace with the current happenings locally.

Cons: Many would just read the stuff from the newspapers and evening news. All those reads and news are getting too heavy, and most people would prefer something lighter to feast on while surfing the internet.

4) Food blogs

These sites offer salivate worthy pictures of food, and basically good source of reviews and suggestions on dining experience and choices, with mostly real and meaningful truths on the entries made.

Pros: A great number of people just surf blogs for food. This is odd, but I know it is true, people look for food through the internet. Rare and useful information may be available from food blogs only.

Cons: There are weird people who think food blogs are boring, and pointless.

5) Emo blogs

There was one era all guys and girls on the blogosphere synchronically suffered from severe daily PMS, with entries so emotionally provoking that suicide may seem to be the best solution for all of the problems they described so elaborately. Full of passion and hatred and anger and basically all that energy radiates out of the computer screen as you read them.

Pros: Feeling is an important part of writing, and overly doing it may unexpectedly bring out some fire in the entries.

Cons: Get a life. Everyone have problems. Being Emo 24/7 will make you look like a pathetic useless wuss that fell down into the longkang and would never get up ever again.

There are actually so many more categories of blogs that can be added in the list, but hey, I am not being paid to do this part, so I shall just cut it short and go straight to my point. Look, there are different categories out there, with each having their own advantages and disadvantages, the plus and minus points in other words, which may favor some readers but put off the others. Who is to say which one is good or bad by just judging using a number of limited criteria based on unreliable evaluation methods? People who read mainstream blogs would distaste the personal blogs generally, and people who hate heavy graphics uploaded on the photoblogs would have major disagreement with those who LOVE just to skim through good photographs on blogs. You may think that one of my entry sucks big time, but many others would come in unison and tell you that the similar entry KICKS ASS !!

You see, we are looking at all this the wrong way.

A blog is not about how good the blogger can take the photographs. If you want good photographs, why not go to professional photography websites in the related fields?

A blog is also not about how well the person writes. There are established writers out there, read their articles everywhere !!

It is not about how funny the jokes can be, or the creativity or originality. There are plenty of humour websites out there.

Heck, screw emo blogs.

So what do we look for in a blog? What makes a blog stand out from the other blogs?
A component that MANY blogs out there lack nowadays, is….

What the blogger THINKS and FEELS.

Your blog may be what you eat, the people whom you have met, the beautiful events you have been to, the places you have traveled, the love you have found, and on and on…

But if you cannot truly describe what you think about what you blog, and fail to insert the humanly feeling into your thoughts, I simply think that your entries would lack reality and would appear to be simply colourless, and uninterestingly EMPTY.

Share what you feel, share your opinions, and feel free to write something more in detail to make your entry more colourful. A more successful blog can relate to the reader in a much more personal level, and acts as if the blog is engaging in conversation with the reader itself.

This brings us back to the odd comments I have been pointing out from the beginning of this entry. Apart from the reasons and purposes of me blogging (click) which I have made very, very clear long time ago, I would like to add on further, what this blog is all about.

My blog, is about me.

It is about my life, the people around me, the things that happen, the places I go to, and the food that I eat.

It is a record of my journey, every blessings, joy, pain, laughter, bitterness, sadness, thriumps, failures, dilemmas I am going through.

I ALWAYS share my feelings and my humble opinions, and I open them for further thoughts and discussion.

My blog, is simply the History of Robin Wong in the making, and I am telling the world this unique history through my own point of view.

I do not blog to compare. I do not blog to compete with other bloggers. I do not blog to get noticed by the others, or to gain fame and attention. I do not blog to fulfill the demands of the readers who have little or no understanding at all on what a blog is all about.

I blog, because I choose to blog, and I want to do so. Why? The answer is simple. I enjoy, and I love blogging.

Enough of the odd comments and feedback already. You can either choose to realize what true meanings of blogging are, or simply stop complaining about any blogs until you actually know how to appreciate the art of blogging.


  1. I agree - every blog is as unique as the person or persons behind it. The only true measurements, if we really want to measure are page views and the number of comments.

    BUT not everyone blogs because they crave the attention, although a little is nice nonetheless. Not everyone is out there to become the next blog hero/heroine.

    Funnily enough, the harshest critics don't necessarily blog themselves. Food for thought.

    And why this post got so many fireworks pictures one!? You are lame! :D

  2. hey marcus,
    yeah, you have got that part right, a huge portion of blog readers out there, especially the loud ones are not bloggers themselves, but they just happen to read blogs. The more reasons there should underdtand and know more about blogs, before saying much and making unwanted noise !!!

    Fireworks?? In the spirit of CNY mah !!!!!

  3. nolah..i love u deep deep!

  4. But that's what a good blog is about. You just explained it all neatly. A good blog needs 2 things for it to succeed. A clear distinction of what it is all about and a niche.

    Clear distinctions of a blog depend not just on an "About Page", but rather the way the blogger writes. When a blogger writes for an audience first, they have a tendency to either forget who they are or whatever they write will be without a sense of direction. You can't relate to anyone when you can't relate to yourself.

    That's where a niche comes in. Yes, if you're a Personal Blog, you have a smaller niche but that depends entirely on the way you write and the way other people can relate to your life.

    Actually the same can go for niche blogs. It's easier to see if your go off topic when your readers are the ones that come to read whatever you're meant to specialize in.

    For the most part, good blogs don't need high hits or incoming links. A lot of the better blogs out there aren't known by many people (given my experience in 9rules.com). Occasionally you do find excellent content out there and those are the sorts of writings we should try and emulate.

    But people usually don't and that's pretty sad.

  5. hey wuching,
    I love u deep deep also..

    hey kamigoroshi,
    I agree with the part that many good blogs out there are not really well known,, I have stumbled upon quite a few, and I dare say I enjoy their blogs much better than those others with more readers and higher stats.
    i guess the distinction part is kinda hard to be applied, since most blogs in Malaysia are mainly rojak blogs (like mine, for one) that can blog about anything random. It is hard to keep constant pattern, when your content changes from time to time. But if the blogger somehow still manages to create that distinction from other blogs, he/she indeed has done a great job.

  6. Oooh, sounds like you're having a bad case of HDY readers?

  7. hey sam,
    Well, it is not just readers u know, what I blogged in that particular entry applies to any blogs in general, and actually referred more to many blogs that I do read and follow up with.
    They are just my thoughts, people are free to say whatever they want. Everyone has their say, no?

  8. The very interesting question is why do you need to emulate Malaysian blogs? Or rather why do you need to categorize yourself as one?

    Personal blogs rarely follow a single flow, good ones have one thing in common that not many people see. The writing style. Good personal blogs have a unique writing style that can't just be copied off. They have to be developed along with their readership.

    For personal blogs, it's not about the topic because like you said, there never is one. So what's left is the way you write. Now that, I never look to Malaysian blogs to learn.

  9. hey kamigoroshi,
    well, a blogger has to start somewhere, and like any typical malaysians, taking in traits from examples could make new blogs seem like they are copying the styles from the more established and famous blogs out there. It takes some time to create and form a blogger's identity, to establish that clear "distinction" we have mentioned earlier.
    But some people just find the initial style they "emulate" from other blogs, rather comfortable and fitting, so to quite a few of bloggers, they think this would look normal and acceptable, since they got it from somewhere else, and they are sticking to it for a long, long time.

  10. Hey, nobody's perfect. Some famous bloggers out there are way overrated. So why compare, right?

  11. hey arth,
    I could not agree more, you have just said that precisely !!

  12. Wow. Well written, well thought out, well argued. You rock.

    Or at least the thoughts here do.

    But if we take a look at the Malaysian/Singaporian (we share certain qualities) blogosphere - isn't the quality of writing and what we write about so different from blogs in, say, Europe or America?

    Okay, maybe i was thinking a little too much of Xiaxue in that comment. Buzz it out. XD

  13. hey dienasty,
    thanks !!! I have been wanting to write those long ago, the issues have been bugging me.
    Yeah, the blogs elsewhere do travel at a rather different altitude than what we usually get from malaysia/singapore.
    Oh well, we somehow have developed our own writing style, which interestingly will not be easily followed by those elsewhere.
    Hmm.. is this a bad thing?
    food for thought, ehhehehe...

  14. hell yeh!!!! u r the one!!
    keep on rockin with ur keyboard!!

  15. "No content, just photos, and some lame descriptions of the photos."

    Not all photo descriptions are lame, right? Some are short, concise yet providing u the "space for imagination". If a good one is written, it could be powerful and impressing as well :) though it could be just few words.

    I think all bloggers (who care what others say) face the same probs. Some prefer photo to text, or vice versa; some prefer Chinese; some could only understand English etc etc. It's not easy to get a balance.

    For me, my blog serves as a sharing platform - to share my travel experiences, my life. Am happy when people read it to get my updates and know how am i getting on. Used to feel funny when friends saw my depressing tag line on MSN Messenger, they would check my blog first before starting to ask me why. (I do not keep on repeating the sad sayings)

    For me, that's enough, while trying to make it interesting, so that people will come back :)

  16. No one can please everyone. It is a lesson we must all learn, regardless of whether we blog or not.

    I've only been blogging for 3 months (amateur, I know) and yet, I've already encountered the two extremes of love and hate when it comes to feedback. It depends on your target audience and the main objective of your blog.

    I suppose there is no tried-and-tested formula that applies to everyone. Perhaps it involves a dash of luck and a lot of perseverance.

    Cheers to blogging, eh?

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