On "Blog Bling"

I attempted to post this comment at performancing.com, in response to this post about “blog bling,” but it was probably thrown out as egotistical tangential raving, which it was. Contrast it with the comments on-topic there, please – I really don’t like my comments being thrown out, rightly or wrongly.

Agreed entirely. It [a feature called Snap, which if you haven’t encountered, count yourself lucky] is an awful experience for those of us who read blogs.

I suppose the more critical task now is to ask, “What makes blog bling, generally speaking, good or bad?”

Clearly saying “It’s my blog, and since people are there because of my personality, whatever I decide is good is good” doesn’t work. At the same time, total catering to an audience means that one doesn’t blog as much as pander.

I’ll put forth my own criteria, which I suspect are contentious, and see how the debate goes, if there is any: Blog bling is good inasmuch as it helps the reader discover more about the poster and what influences him, and helps the blogger discover more about his readership and what their interests are.

In other words, blog bling that is excellent is like that giant list of post labels Jeff Jarvis has on his Buzzmachine sidebar. God, I’m jealous of those. If you want to find out what Jeff thinks about a topic that you haven’t seen come up recently, or better yet, engage him in conversation about a topic that requires knowledge of other stances he has taken, you have an excellent resource in that sidebar. Other blog bling that’s great is that Feedburner icon, which I just drag into my RSS reader and just like that I’ve subscribed, and I am using Feed Flare to find out about my readership. And yes, MyBlogLog is fun, too, and notice how all this bling keeps the information flow from reader to blogger to blogger to reader going.

So, does Snap do that? Of course not. If it did promote the information flow, we might put up with it – God knows we’ve put up with worse on blogs. All it does is put something my eyes can barely make out while interrupting the information flow that occurs through actually reading a blog post.

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  1. Never heard of Snap, I guess that’s a good thing. I noticed I’m slowly accruing “blog bling” too. I just added MyBlogLog Recent Readers, and was thinking of changing my entire blog layout the other day!

    I guess I should be focusing on more important things, like that XSS vulnerability in WP 2.0.x less than 2.0.6….

  2. I think you’ve already hit upon the important aspect of ‘blog bling’.

    >>Blog bling is good inasmuch as it helps the reader discover more about the poster and what influences him

    It’s easy to dislike someone solely because of their political leanings, religious beliefs, etc.

    We use labels like liberal, atheist, right-wing conservative, Catholic, Muslim, etc to dehumanize people, make it easier to dislike them, in some cases, even hate them.

    But when we learn that the people behind the labels are human, it becomes harder to dislike them. In fact, we often have own up to our own human shortcomings because we’re forced to accept that we’re human too, just like ‘them’.

    May be a little too much psychology for a thread about blog bling, but understanding more about our fellow man is always a ‘good thing’, even if it’s just a bit of info found on some widget.

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