What was my mistake? On my header, beneath my main title (where it now says “Amy Sundberg’s Blog), I had the text “Amy Sundberg’s Adventures and Ramblings”. Kirsten very rightly points out that we tell our readers how to judge our blogs, and “ramblings” is not a word that holds the most positive of connotations. It makes it sound as if we don’t know what we’re talking about, or as if we haven’t put any thought into what our blogs are about. Now, for some bloggers, that might even be true, but I put a lot of thought into this blog and here I was, accidentally waving my hands around and saying, “Oh, but it’s just something I threw together on the fly, it’s not worth much at all.” Oops.
I wasn’t going to say anything about here, in the hopes that maybe no one had noticed. But then, in the last few weeks, I noticed something very insidious. These sorts of words pop up ALL THE TIME in relation to blogs, and now that I’m paying attention, it’s driving me slightly crazy. Apparently I got the idea in the first place through some kind of evil osmosis of the internet. Plus the use of these words doesn’t even seem to directly correlate with the overall quality of the blog, meaning they aren’t actually a clear signal for whether I want to read the blog or not.
Here is a list of some of the words that now send up my red flag: ramblings, musings, random thoughts, random anything, reflections, ponderings. It’s not that bloggers should never use these words, but if they’re in either the header text for the whole blog or in a blog post title, it’s generally a sign of either lack of focus, lack of confidence, or both. More research made me realize that I don’t care how much I like a particular blogger, most posts with the title “Random Musings” or similar are just not going to grab me. I might go for a round-up of links, if I really like a blogger’s taste in such matters, but other than that, well, I read Facebook and Twitter for my dose of daily random thoughts. I probably don’t need to read a whole blog post of them, given how much reading I do in the average day.
A big thanks to Kristen for setting me straight on this. From now on, I’m going to be doing my very best to avoid “ramblings” and its cousins and not sell myself, and this blog, short.
Can you think of any other red flag words we bloggers should work to avoid?