Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What’s in a blog – This Blog!

© By Othmar Vohringer

A few weeks ago I read an interesting article written by Kristine on the OBS blog. “How do your readers see you and your blog?” In a nutshell the article deals with the relationship readers have with the writer of the blog.
“One question is what image do you, the blog writer, think your blog has? The other question deals with how your readers view your blog and you as the writer of that blog. Your view of who you are and what your blog is may differ sharply from your readers' views on the same subject.”

Is the writer simply passing along information, or does the writer reflect his or her own personality and thus strikes a personal note with his/her readers and what image does his/her blog convey to the readers?
It seems obvious that readers are more attracted to a blog with personality rather than a blog that has no personality. It is possible that the writer and readers have a completely different perception of the blogs image or the image the writers conveys.

The article appeals to me for several reasons. First, when I started blogging I just wanted to communicate my thoughts about hunting with little thought as to what image I may portray to the readers. However, as time went on and the blog got more popular and readers started to comment on my writings I started to take note of what was expressed in the comments and emails I got in response.

My mission with this blog is best summarized in its subtitle: “Promoting the Outdoor Heritage.” Not the hunting or fishing heritage and neither a particular segment of hunting. “Outdoors” is all-inclusive, hunting, fishing, and trapping in all its legal forms. Over time it has become apparent to me that this neutral approach is particularly appealing to my readers. The readers know that they can come to my blog and read unbiased opinion on all topics relating to our hunting heritage without the soapbox mentality and preaching. This is not as easy to do as it may appear. There are of course certain aspects in our outdoor heritage that I have reservations about, yet I try to remain neutral on the subject.

I do this for two reasons. First I do not want to offend readers that subscribe to a particular choice in hunting or fishing. And second, I do not, under any circumstances, want to give our opposition any material that they can use to make a case against hunting or fishing. Promoting the outdoor heritage and unity among the different factions is at the very top of my agenda.

Another reason why the article appeals to me is that it made me think about where I am heading with the blog and the image the readers have of me. I am pretty confident about the direction my blog is heading, and so far I feel that I have stayed in tune with the mission I set out on.

While I am certain about the direction I am not so confident about the image the readers have of me as a writer. As my regular readers know English is not my native language and I have no formal education in English. This fact at times creates a vacuum in expressing my thoughts the way I would like. The image of me as a writer that I would like to convey is the one where I am sitting opposite my reader engaged in a casual but meaningful conversation. In other words I am aiming to write in a conversational style. Eventually, as my confidence to write combined with the will to get a full grasp of English and experiment with creative writing grows, I will achieve that goal too.

I have taken Kristine’s point well and it made me think. It’s a good thing as a blogger to read articles that make you think about your mission and image. It is easy to get lost and deviate from the mission, which at times is not a bad thing as long as one finds one’s way back on track.
If I were to give any advice to a beginning blogger it would be this:
Have a mission- a clear idea of what your blog should be about.
Stay with a topic you’re familiar with.
Above all be aware of your reader’s reactions to your posts.
Comments can be a good indicator, if you learn to read between the lines, of how your readers perceive you as a writer.

I love blogging and expect to be around for a long time. I might change the blogs now and then or write something that is not exactly in line with the mission statement. But one thing is for sure: it will always be about the important part we hunters and fishers play in wildlife and habitat conservation and the protection and promotion of our treasured outdoor heritage and the unity within our own ranks.


SimplyOutdoors said...

Having a mission is a very good idea. I think deviating from that occasionally is a good thing, but always making sure that you come back is important.

What a great post Othmar.

Anonymous said...

I would second that, this is a great post.

One thing I have noticed is that your writing style has become more relaxed. I think that may have something to do with the fact that you feel more comfortable about writing in English now. I can't imagine how tough it must have been at first when you were trying to translate your thoughts into a language that wasn't your native language.

Eagle Eyes said...

Very well put, my friend! It is evident that you love blogging and I love dropping in to see what is going on up your way.

Thanks Othmar.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thank you all for dropping by and leaving me your kind words, encouragements and loyalty. I appreciate that more than words can express.


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