All across the vast wonderland that is Blogathon, bloggers are mounting upon a singular theme. Yes, I said mounting, but not like that, dirty birds. Actually since we’re all verging upon the same topic, like rugby players piling atop one another, I should have said mounding. Or melting, like globs of clarified butter transmogrifying from solid to liquid, then to unity. See? You’re distracting me. I’m trying to get to the point.
All across the vast rugby field that is Blogathon, bloggers are melting within the same saute pan—and things are getting hot. Why? Today we’re talking about our favorite five or ten or thirteen blogs, those that make our brains sizzle not unlike drugs used to do to eggs in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, my crowdsourced web design project is still underway. There’s lots to be done and I feel like I’m stretching out a new pair of shoes every time I look at the Blog Salad—that new smell is great, but shoehorning in my old content into this new design is a challenge—one that is giving me digital blisters. Nonetheless, I’ve got some virtual moleskin and bandaids strapped in place, and we’re moving forward.
This blog is a humorous take on the world of design, technology, and general geekiness—[intlink id="2357" type="post"]so declared the voters on Day 1[/intlink]—but the niche-making process is far from finished. You see, for a blog to be truly great, it must deliver its topical content in the way that its readers want to receive it. Okay, those who attended the 2010 ASJA Conference know I’m stealing this idea from HARO‘s Peter Shankman, aka @skydiver on Twitter. It’s what I call the Feed Bag, where you prefer to go to get a face full of media.
That’s today’s crowdsource design poll:
But I want to take that idea a step further. Yes, a truly great blog must deliver its content to its readers the way they want to receive it, but that delivery method is not as clear-cut and dry as by email, by RSS feed, by smartphone, by audio, by video, etc.
As technology advances, every blogger is theoretically capable of meeting those needs, and theoretically, there’s already a blogger out there doing exactly that, writing on the exact same topic as you.
If you haven’t had that moment of misery when you realize that your million-dollar, one-of-a-kind blog idea is just one of thousands, I suggest you go to Google right now and go through it. The sooner you can get over that grief, the sooner you can move on to bigger and better things.
Finally, I’m getting heated enough to mound, er, melt on the point: it doesn’t matter how many people are already doing what you’re doing—it matters only how well you’re doing what you’re doing and how you’re letting your unique self shine through. It’s what I like to call your blog’s Divine Spark, that which makes a blog come alive. It’s that cheap New York Jets trashcan/bucket/helmet that Gary Vaynerchuk uses as a spitoon on Wine Library TV. It’s Seth Godin‘s cute bald head and his mind-blowingly simple diagrams and metaphors. It’s the peculiar animal vernacular that burst from the uterus of LOL Cats. It’s Meredith Resnick‘s 5-Question Interview. It’s Michelle Rafter‘s annual WordCount Blogathon. It’s that which makes you human, interactive, divine—and not just another online tutorial or stranger’s web journal.
So, without further ado, here are just five blogs (of dozens I read and admire) that I believe have enough of a spark to light any fire beneath any skillet filled with rugby players on the planet:
- Nic Cage as Everyone – This passage into the twisted mind of an anonymous artist makes no attempts to turn a profit, despite the fact that its traffic stats outrank almost every blog in the Blogathon. It’s not updated often enough, it lacks a single syllable that explains the real reason for its existence, and yet, for anyone who enjoys a good piece of visual humor (and the occasional Nicholas Cage sighting), this blog is captivating.
- Stuff You Should Know Podcast – If I were to complete the poll above, audio podcasts would be at the top of my list. I love to listen to the spoken word nearly more than I love to read it—and this is one podcast I rarely miss. Sure, I enjoy the wacky trivia on how ninjas work, but mostly I am engaged by the two writers-turned-podcasters, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, whose fetish for research really turns me on.
- Web Designer Wall – In addition to the sexy watercolored grunge style, this blog has become my go-to place to learn about new advances in digital design trends, techniques and technology. The content is straightforward and easy to understand, which is what allows me to take what I learn there and turn it into a living breathing design of my own.
- Dan Koeppel’s Blog (BananaBook.org) – This blog combines so many things that matter to me I get a little overwhelmed thinking about it. It’s by Dan Koeppel, the first magazine byline I ever remembered, the writer whose style (writing and life) inspired me to give freelancing a chance. It’s a book platform that adds value to its printed companion. And it’s a blog about urban living, public transportation, social injustice, global economics, and my favorite fruit—one that may be extinct within our lifetimes.
- BikeSnobNYC – I was initially attracted to BikeSnob because I’m a cyclophile, but I keep coming back because he’s created an entire alternate reality, complete with its own language, literary arc, and imagery. He’s wickedly funny, relentless with his snark, and yet he’s rarely wicked. And, as an inspiration to us all, his blog catapulted him into the New York Times, Outside Magazine, a column in Bicycling Magazine, and his very own book deal—all without revealing his true identity.