Next to my monitor at work, I have a copy of the Zen Blogger’s Manifesto, as well as a copy of Web Dogma ’06. Both great slaps-in-the-face when your concept is drifting and you need to get back on track.
But today, as I was mixing up another coffee, I started really pondering the ‘Manifesto:
Zen Blogger’s Manifesto
Do not follow in the footsteps of others,
seek what they sought and make your own footsteps.
Write not for others, as there are too many.
Write for yourself, as there is only one.
Subtract before you add.
Listen more than you speak.
Give more than you take.
Make but do not measure.
If you want to change the world, love someone.
All manifestos are dung.
So let’s take a look at it, line by line and try and discover where the value of the thought really is.
1. Do not follow in the footsteps of others, seek what they sought and make your own footsteps.
I take this at face value. Gather your sources, your reference material. You’re reviewing a joystick? Make it personal. How does this joystick work for you and solve your problem. You’re ranting on eBalloting? Support your position with your own anecdotal comments and opinions. Innovate don’t replicate.
2. Write not for others, as there are too many.
Ever wonder why there’s so much crap on TV? The broadcasting model requires that in order for the TV station to have the most viewers, they have to cater to the interests of the most viewers possible..ie the lowest common denominator. Pandering to the masses makes for boring content. Don’t waste my time, and yours, write what *you* find interesting.
3. Write for yourself, as there is only one.
This one touches on the above two points. By writing for yourself, you are writing about things you care about, and are interested in. You invest yourself in your writing. And you avoid the crap factor of writing for the masses.
4. Subtract before you add.
Say what you need to say, then stop.
You can belabour a point to death. Once you’ve made it, move on, people are smart, they’ll get it.
(see my point?)
5. Listen more than you speak.
If you should be so lucky as to get an actual conversation happening on your blog, then really try and pay attention to your commenter point of view. Odds are that they’ve taken time to craft a response that won’t make themselves look silly, so won’t you look silly if you don’t give the same care and attention to your replies.
6. Give more than you take.
The ‘sphere is a community. Community leaders are ones that are seen to be advising, helping, consulting and basically giving everything they can to the community. Without such people, a community can die. Want to be a leader in your community, then prepare to give. A lot.
7. Make but do not measure.
If you’re creating content for the purpose of generating visits, then you’re not creating content that I want to read. And maybe others don’t want to read it either. Create because it interests you, and you will find an audience.
8. If you want to change the world, love someone.
Or more than one. You’ll be motivated.
9. All manifestos are dung.
Maybe, but dung is great fertilizer from which many good thing grow. Use this as fertilizer for your creativity and you may be rewarded.