Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rickey's Twelve Commandments of Blogging

Sometimes, Rickey wonders: if he could travel back in time to when he first began blogging and chat with his younger and much less experienced self, what would Rickey tell himself? What sage pieces of blogging wisdom would Rickey attempt to impart upon his youthful and starry eyed iteration? And if Rickey were to travel back in time and confront his younger blogging self, would some sort of rift in time and space occur? Would Riding with Rickey suddenly disappear into the void and altogether cease to exist? Questions like this keep Rickey up at night.

Anyhow, what we’re getting at here is that Rickey has compiled a handy compendium of tips for the aspiring blogger (installments one and two of this series can be found here and here respectively). One day, we’ll probably run out of snarky advice to dole out. But today is not that day. Today, we indulge our propensity for meta-ness by blogging about blogging. Behold,

RICKEY’S TWELVE COMMANDMENTS OF BLOGGING (Moses only needed ten, but hey, he was merely starting a religion. This blogging thing is far more demanding).

1) Find Your Voice. Every decent blog has an identifiable one. Two years into this, we think we’ve got this voice nailed down pretty well: an artful blend of third person and editorial voices belying a seething river of interminable pathos and playful befuddlement. And you certainly can’t say that Rickey isn’t passionate about sticking to it—not until the fourth horseman of the apocalypse comes gallivanting by will you see Rickey speak in the first person.

2) Blog Like You Give a Damn. Be passionate, take a stance and challenge your readers to debate you on such weighty issues as meerkat husbandry and the equitable distribution of Swedish Fish within the commodity market. Moreover, get a little crazy about the whole blogging thing. The best bloggers out there tend to be more than a little obsessed about it.

3) It Takes a Village. We’ve mentioned the inherent value of blog networking in the past (in which you search for random blogs and challenge the site owner to a chainsaw duel if they do not visit your blog) but this time we’d like to take it a step further. Have you ever met someone who is particularly witty? Someone whose ideas intrigue you? Consider telling them something along the lines of “you, sir/madam, should blog!” because they absolutely should, and Jebus knows we need more decent blogs out there. It’s for the greater good, people. The greater good.

4) Go Easy on the Links. Not everyone requires incessant hyperlinking in your blog posts to direct them to what it is you’re discussing. Chances are, if your readers need to be routed to the Wikipedia page explaining photosynthesis, then the only reason they found your blog in the first place is by mashing their hands on the keyboard in an epileptic fit and having your blog inexplicably pop up on their screen. Stop Rickey if this paragraph seems frustratingly familiar:

“So I’m in Home Depot this weekend looking for a shovel to garden with. And then I notice a customer wearing a baseball cap seems a little “lost” (no, not the show, you dummy!) So I walk up to him and give him directions, just like the nice Indians did for the Pilgrims who were on their way from that stinky Euro Disney place but got lost at a Plymouth car dealership. And then I felt happy! Whew, blogging is tough work, I’m going to take a nap now!”

Congratulations internet wizard, you’ve churned out a wholly unnecessary and incomprehensible mess! A plethora of HTML refuse without any redeemable value (or as we like to call them, “Rickey’s Monday posts”). Strong work clogging up the internet! Hey kids, want to drive Rickey into a killing frenzy? Type something like that. Go ahead. See what happens. Rickey will be waiting for you in your garage later on in the evening. Next to the lawnmower.

5) Include an RSS feed. Oops, this one’s actually semi-legitimate. Our bad. No really, do this. It’s helpful for a lot of people.

6) Don’t Blog From Work. See that tiny little timestamp at the bottom of each of your posts? If you’re blogging on company time, that little imp is most definitely not your friend. In a time of widespread economic uncertainly, downsizing, and relentless layoffs, do you really want to be the moron waiting in line at the Unemployment Office who got shitcanned for blogging at work? And while we’re at it…

7) Don’t Alert Coworkers to the Existence of Your Blog. Because the absolute last thing you want your coworkers knowing is that you have any semblance of creativity or a sense of humor, warped as it may be. Friends and family are fine, however. (Bonus points if your blog is the primary way you keep in touch with them).

8) To Thine Own Self, Blog True. What Rickey’s getting at here is the whole integrity thing. A few weeks back, Rickey was approached by an online jewelry merchant who offered Rickey a complimentary wedding band in exchange for allowing their jewelry company’s ads to festoon RwR. And Rickey turned it down. Believe it or not, Rickey gets a lot of these sorts of offers and always ignores them down because Rickey isn’t a complete shill. Rickey blogs for fun, not for profit (is there a tax free designation one can get for that?) Also the wedding band that the jeweler was offering was composed of tungsten carbide, which if we’re not mistaken is only slightly more valuable than a piece of used aluminum foil wrapped around one’s finger. So thanks, but no thanks unscrupulous internet hucksters, because here Rickey stands, an upright man and blogger. Until a better offer comes in anyway.

9) Pick a Fight. Because all good comedy is born from conflict. So make with the ridiculing, people—pick a fight. Get randy. Rickey’s pretty sure that he attracted 95% of his readership to RwR by taunting them in the comments sections on their blogs. Besides, you know who people really respect and look up to? THE INTERNET TOUGH GUY. A man of self-proclaimed awesomeness, cloaked in internet anonymity. For example, did you know that Rickey is a mixed martial arts expert, is the reigning champion of the Tillbury Debate Society, and is devastatingly good looking? All true statements, and if you dare to argue with Rickey, he will proceed to show you your true place in the world, through a display of physical prowess and intellectual fireworks the likes of which your puny brain cannot possibly fathom. DO NOT DEBATE RICKEY ON THIS.

10) Don’t Become a Stats Addict. This one’s a toughie, and Rickey will freely admit he’s occasionally guilty of this sin. One day you’re a confident blogger, the next you’re obsessively analyzing over the sitemeter stats for your page like its FiveThiryEight.com. Was your precipitous drop in page hits in the month of July due to the summer vacation season or did your readers find your lengthy analysis on the topic of the three shells in "Demolition Man" to be unsavory? Trust us, questioning yourself like this makes for poor morale, avoid it at all costs.

11) Correct Grammatical Errors, No Matter How Minor. Zounds, has the author of the blog you’re reading omitted a crucial apostrophe? Have they left a gerund hanging? Or perhaps botched the use of the past perfect participle? Quick, reach for that MLA handbook, because that wayward fucker needs to know about this immediately! Every moment this woeful blog post goes uncorrected, the pillars of western civilization tumble and sway!

12) Buy a Lotto Ticket. Want to be famous? Get in line, because as best as Rickey can figure, most of this blogging thing is dependent on pure dumb luck. Either you get ridiculously lucky and Dave Eggers stumbles upon your blog, or he doesn’t. And if he does, you damned well better have something more entertaining for him to read than a tiresome story about your weekend jaunt to Home Depot. So no pressure or anything. Dave Eggers is counting on you.

[posted at Humor Blogs]

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Bob said...

I think I have vilated a few of these rules.

That said, those of us over at ATK have corrected our errors in the past when Rickey poited them out.

I occasionally violate #4 with too many links, but not that often. I also have a personal requirement that I include a photo in my posts. That may violate a rule somewhere.

I am violating #6 as I write this.

I have told one too many people at work about the blog, violating #7.

We needs to implement #5 with an RSS feed.

I have been feeling sassy lately with all of the economic crap going on and since I am in Michigan, I have quite a bit of bitching to do. Therefore, #9 is easy for me.

Smitty said...

I have taken #3 to heart to the point where ATK has like 7 or 8 regular contributors. We are an audience unto ourselves!

I violate #6 constantly. I'm violating it right now.

Chris C said...

I am glad you put that link for the shovel. I had no idea what you were talking about until I went to that wiki link.

One thing though, wiki isn't always right so you might want to use a more reliable source. One time I was looking up what a rake is on wiki and there was a picture of a pickaxe.

Yeah, so don't trust wiki.

Jeff said...

As for #12... I already consider you famous for being linked by the NY Times for your Palin Itinerary post. I'm still waiting for my big break when the Fargo Sentinel finally gives me some ink.

George said...

Forgive me Rickey for I have sinned--not only did I just blog from work, I wrote about how much wine I get delivered to work. Then I came here to comment about it.

Plus, I'm also on Facebook right now.

Forget 12 commandments, I need 12 steps.

Father Muskrat said...

Damn good advice, thanks!

Alex L said...

Damn you Eggers. Spell correctly... do I have to, god its like my education was meant for something!

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

WOW! I, too, have that same voice of artful blend of third person and editorial voices belying a seething river of interminable pathos and playful befuddlement!!!

Great advice.

Looking for off ramp said...

Good advice.
I don't agree about #12 though. It seems like a lot of bloggers are proactive with the promotions and so on. Don't sell yourself short, if you've got a following, it can't be pure dumb luck.

Adam said...

Grammar is a big deal for me. I will go through old posts from many moons ago, taking out errors if I spot them. Great stuff, buddy.

P.S. What's the Mega Millions jackpot as of now?

Anonymous said...

#6 be damned. I shall blog while working. And my therapist says I can't multitask.

As for #9, I tried to pick an online fight with myself, but I pussied out. Oh well.

weesle909 said...

Ironically, Rickey violated his own #11 in his prior post. It would appear a word is missing from the first sentence of the "On the Charity of Others". Methinks it should read, "Thanks *to* an ipod car adaptor...".

David said...

>>>you’ve churned out a wholly unnecessary and incomprehensible mess! A dearth of HTML refuse without any redeemable value

Isn't that a plethora or sizeable deposit of refuse rather than a dearth?

Rickey Henderson said...

Slackers! Slackers all! Get your lazy asses back to work! The internet is a privilege, not a toy!

Weesle: doubly ironically, you appear to have missed Rickey's dripping sarcasm! Yeah, Rickey knows he makes a shitload of typos, mixed metaphors, and flat out wrong word choices. And Rickey gets ever so grumpy when he's corrected on middling stuff like that...

weesle909 said...

Damn! Shame on me... I did miss the obvious sarcasm...

Maybe the NewYorkFootballGiants have me off my game by being off their game.

But in my defense, you really make very few errors, so I thought you were serious. Plus I'm anal about stuff like that - I spell check my comments, and always preview and check them at least once.

Incidentally, #4 is a classic. Well done on the over-linkage problem.

Siren said...

ugh... more rules, haowever i think i should print these out and start a blogging bible. I am a new blogger (can i even call myself that yet?) but the people on humor blogs have been so helpful with comments and tips. Thanks for this post, it was not only fun but eduactional. Siren is grateful!

Mike said...

That photo is great.