Archive for May 7, 2012
Wait! Hear me out!
This is not a bad thing, because, well, it’s human nature. People are always doing things for attention. We work hard to get the boss’ attention so we can get a good review. We dress in ways that we hope will catch the attention of desirable people when dating. Bloggers choose to use words and opinions on a personal podium in a bid to attract attention. Frankly, I think that bloggers intentions are more honest than what we’d find in a corporate suck-up or some bar-trawling douchebag because we are looking to connect with a community by opening shop where we can offer topics for thought, and a place for discussion.
What you write about says a lot about what kind of gamer you are, so that is the Numero Uno thing to nail down before you even start picking out themes for your website. Are you devoted to a single game, a genre, or the entire gaming universe? Are you platform specific, or agnostic? Do you want to talk about design, or do you want to talk about experience? People, or systems? Everyone has an angle, a point of view, that is the most important thing to them as a gamer. For me, it’s the people who game. For you, it might be raiding, or crafting systems, or Eastern versus Western MMOs.
Numero Dos in starting a blog comes down to this: are you writing for information, or are you writing for opinion? It’s never this black-and-white, of course. The two can mix from one post to another, but sticking with one for the majority of your posts is going to net you a particular kind of reader. Information posts are going to attract folks who are looking for stats and explanation on how a game works, or how to improve their game. Opinion posts will draw a more eclectic crowd, with possibly fewer views than if you were devoted to providing information, unless you wanted to go down the dark road of rage-blogging.
Numero Tres is probably the singular most important thing about your blog: Your voice. Blogs offering opinion are a dime a dozen. Same with blogs focused on a specific game, or on a specific class in a specific game. In this ocean of enthusiast bloggers, why should someone read your blog instead of any number of other blogs that focus on the same aspect of gaming? It’s how you sell it in each and every post you make. Remember that in blogging, we’re trying to connect with a community, and just like any interpersonal relationship, what we get out of it is equivalent to what we put in to it. That is why it’s so important to be honest with yourself and with your readers about who you are and why you’re blogging. You don’t need to have an advanced degree in English, or a catchphrase, or – gawd help us – snark in order to stand out. You do however, need to connect with people in some way.
It may sound stupid that “be yourself” is the best advice I can offer, but you had better believe that it’s 100% accurate. The Internet and gamers both have sensitive bullshit meters, and if you try and pass yourself off as someone that you’re not, or overstep the bounds of your expertise, or take on too much responsibility, you will get called on it, early and frequently. Just as we would prefer to get to know someone for who they really are if you met them in person, your readership will appreciate you not trying to be something you’re not. Let the rage-bloggers exploit people for page-views; those people only follow the scent of blood in the water anyway, and your pond would be as good as any as far as they’re concerned. If you want to build a readership, connect with your readers on a personal level and leave the gimmicks alone.
Over the weekend, @Oakstout, @BlamefulGecko and I headed into the first dungeon instance in TERA, the Bastion of Lok. I don’t think any of us had the actual quest to be in there, since we took the dungeon queue route, but I captured the whole sordid mess on video (spoiler: not that sordid). I apologize for the quality; it’s Livestream, and it’s the crappy free tier.