Thursday, July 21, 2005

Blog on Blogging

It's said that people blog on blogging when they can't think of anything else to blog about. This is not one of those, because I have a million things I want to post. This is the inverse problem: I'm blogging about blogging because blogging in truth would kill what few readers I've garnered.

This blog is about Pattern Management: Pattern Adaptation Control. Perhaps you remember my long-ago posts on the subject. I will now apply them to reality.

Pattern adaptation is part of every presentation. An audience watches the show because they want to understand, to assemble, to see how things work and interact. You can call it "learning", if you want. I'll call it pattern adaptation, because "learning" would theoretically include things like memorizing acronyms and other stuff very few people actually enjoy.

This is true whether the audience is playing a game, watching a movie, reading a blog, or listening to a presentation.

Including, for example, this blog.

A lot of blogs are really boring. Just painfully dull. Why is this?

Some could say it's because of the subjects they cover. But I've seen interesting blogs on blue-collar jobs and boring blogs on space and technology. And, of course, visa-versa. It's obviously not the subject, although I'm sure subject has an effect.

Is it the writing style? It's true there is a minimum level of coherence you need to stick to. if u rite lik this, im not gonna read u. Ever.

But it's not really the level of the writing. I've seen well-written blogs which are boring, and moderately written blogs which were tremendously interesting. Again, quality of writing is a factor, but not the primary one.

No, the biggest factor is the PATTERN you're revealing. It's a delicate balance, but the blogs which I find most interesting keep a clear focus: every post expands a pattern, whether by building up their own or by interacting with other patterns.

Example: Game Girl Advance (whose name is wholly misleading, given I've only seen one post out of twenty that's posted by a girl) is a very good blog. Every post is commentary about some outside subject. Your familiarity with GGA's pattern resolves the external pattern into something resembling clarity.

Example: Bad Astronomy Blog is another excellent blog. Like GGA, each post relates to some external subject. His very clear position and sharp focus on astonomy makes the resolution that much cleaner: the patterns he discusses are set into sharp contrast at high grain.

Bad Examples: Adblog, Newsblog, and Personal blog. Each of these is bad for the same reason, although expressed in different ways.

All three of them do not clarify patterns with every post. They do no pattern management. There is no way that the audience can adapt, because there is no adapting to be done. In the adblog, it's just meaningless chatter. In the newsblog, useful information is provided, but there's no resolution. No interaction. It's just news.

The personal blog is similar. Some personal blogs are interesting - like the Accordian Guy. But not the one listed above. Why? What's the difference?

One is focused inward, one is focused outward. The self-centered blog can only enhance one pattern: the writer. I don't care how incredibly interesting you think you are, you're limited. Once you've explained your pattern, there's nothing left. Continued reading would be worthless. Worse, I probably already know your pattern, so two paragraphs in, I'll have already dismissed you.

The exocentric blog focuses on events and situations outside of yourself. They may be events you were involved in, but your focus is on exploring the patterns inherent in those events, not your own pattern. There is no limit to this: the world is a big place with infinite recombinations. Even after we get a clear impression about who you are, you're still helping us explore other patterns. You keep our interest.

That means I shouldn't explain to you that I slammed a handcart into the back of my left foot, and now have a bruise the size of an egg crammed into my shoe. Because all that does is highlight my whiny-bitch personality, and the patterns involved are so boring and mundane that no audience will remain interested.

I could use the bruise as a springboard into something else, I suppose, but I would think people might still think it was a low-class feint. It's probably not a very good idea to start off with something boring: you should start with something interesting.

Now, I'm not saying I'll never discuss myself... but in every post from here out, I will always try to highlight something which is not me. To interact with another pattern. In this way, even once the depths of my stunningly complex and devilishly intriguing personality have been explored, I might have a chance of retaining people's interest.

That's the key: keep the learning going. Keep highlighting new patterns. And keep it up at a decent but not overwhelming clip.

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