Best Practices

Format

A blog meets the criteria of form by making a series of entries available in chronological order. Each entry should have a clear headline as to the entry’s content, otherwise the page will lose interest if the content is not clearly defined and easily searchable. Just like in normal news and print media the blogger has a very limited time to capture the reader’s interest. This is why my successful blogs use photos and video clips as well. The reader’s attention span is a precious commodity, in fact, “55% of average readers spent fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page,” (Haile, 2014).

Reading

Function

A blog, or weblog, serves as a sort of online journal or collection of articles that are written more informally than a traditional news site. The function should be to inform and entertain readers who have chosen to subscribe to the author’s specified views, interests and opinions. Blogs can be as opinionated as the writer chooses, but should never be misleading. A reader of the Onion, should know that the content is satirical.

Substance

A blog can be anything celebrity gossip to a how-to site. It is used to express the opinion of the author, or authors, toward whatever topic they have chosen to detail on their page. The content of the site can be as genuine as the can be anything the author desires, and once they create a following it will be most successful if they continue to cater to the audience they have developed. For instance, a food blog would have more success if they started a healthy recipe section than if they started a sports commentary.

Duffel Blog

Function

The blog I chose to analyze is the Duffel blog. By it’s own description, “Duffel Blog is sometimes referred to as “The military version of The Onion,” but this is a popular misconception. The misnomer was cleared up in May 2012 when DB staff successfully conducted an airborne assault on the offices of The Onion News Network so that others would know “The Onion was actually the civilian version of Duffel Blog.”

Format

Duffel Blog uses exactly what my best practices outline for a format. It has “stories” entered in chronological format with a clear, concise headline that quickly allows readers to understand the content they will click-through. It addresses the possibility of readers unknowingly taking the content seriously in two ways; first its content is so outrageous that even an unfamiliar reader should question it’s validity, and second addresses any confusion in the legal section of their page. “We are in no way, shape, or form, a real news outlet. Everything on this website is satirical and the content of this site is a parody of a news organization. No composition should be regarded as truthful, and no reference of an individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or emotional harm,” (About, 2015).

Substance

Its content is specified toward a niche audience and it has remained true to the audience that it created since it’s inception. Although the target audience isn’t a large one, they continue to satisfy their readership by delivering the same military satire as they did in the inception.

My blog

I believe that my blog follows all of these elements of my suggested best practices. I believe I had a shift in format from my beginning entries to my current ones, moving from a question and answer format to a more conversational tone. I this slightly violates my concept of sticking to what you audience expects, but I think that it serves my purposes and better. This was a positive evolution for my blog.

Other positive evolutions I could would be to add more visual content to illustrate my point. I think that this would draw and reader in and illustrate my points my eloquently.

If there were an official Blogger’s Code of Conduct, I am not sure that I would follow it because I think it is too broad of a subject to cover all forms of blogging. I would definitely read it and put it into practice as best I could for the subject I were writing about. However, if I were doing a photography blog, how could I effectively follow the same code of content that would apply to a news, political or food blog, when most of my content would be visual? I most likely not violate any of the ethical guidelines, but as far as following the same best practices I think that would be difficult. It’s like saying all writing would have to follow the same ethics, because essentially blogging can be any form of writing, it just happens to be on the internet.

Halie, T. (2014). What you think you know about the web is actually wrong. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/12933/what-you-think-you-know-about-the-web-is-wrong/

About. (2015). Duffel Blog. Retrieved from http://www.duffelblog.com/about/#ixzz3rKDalPfE

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