How To Be a Better Blogger

Dan Frommer’s post on how to blog better is one of the most helpful blog posts I’ve read this year. Here are some of Dan’s ten tips to be a better blogger:

  1. Above all else, factual accuracy and attention to detail. That’s the easiest and best way to build and maintain trust over the long-term. If a fact is wrong, fix it and don’t be shy about it. If an opinion or prediction is wrong, learn from it and consider explaining how you got it wrong.
  2. Write the site that you want to read. That covers story selection, length, frequency, style, vocabulary, attitude, humor, level of sensationalism, and more. Don’t publish anything you’re not proud of. Be yourself.
  3. Be more skeptical. Companies and people have no interest in telling any side of the story but their own. Often, that side is flawed, invalid, or incorrect. Let someone else be the gullible one who looks silly later: Always question everything. (But don’t let it turn you into too much of a conspiracy theorist.)
  4. Try new things, all the time. Especially those that are a little outside your comfort zone. This is the Internet — don’t act like you’re writing for Time Magazine in the 80s. Stories can be pictures, charts, lengthy essays, numbered lists, or 140 characters. Measure how your experiments do, and take the results into account for the future.

However, I think the most important lesson for me is regarding attribution. I make it very clear when I quote or paraphrase, but what I have to get better at is referring you, the reader, to click over to the original piece I link to. Writes Dan:

Aim to become as big of a traffic referrer as you possibly can — not only is that good policy, but it’s a great business asset.

Amen. With that in mind, you should read Dan’s post to see his other tips for better blogging.

Analysis of the New, New Twitter

I think the best analysis of the New Twitter (on Twitter: #NewNewTwitter) that was unveiled yesterday comes courtesy of Dan Frommer:

  1. Most important: Twitter is shipping. There’s been a bit of negative press about the company over the past several months. And yes, some of its early and/or important employees aren’t there anymore. But Twitter is a large company now. And to release something this big, this good, this smoothly, it actually seems to be working. (And in my observation, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey actually seem to play off each other pretty well. At least in public!)
  2. This is the beginning of Jack Dorsey’s real vision for Twitter combined with Dick Costolo’s vision for a real-time social advertising product. The main components: writing and Tweets, obviously; having conversations with other people; discovering what’s happening in the world through Twitter; and seeing a promoted message from brands here and there.
  3. Twitter is trying to de-emphasize private messaging by moving it a layer deeper in the user interface. I’m guessing there are a bunch of reasons for this, not limited to: Simplicity, perhaps relatively low usage by most users, potentially confusing rules around DMing, and that more public content is probably better for Twitter’s product and advertising goals. Some long-time and hardcore Twitter users are probably going to be upset about this, but one of Twitter’s strengths has always been its willingness to design for its mainstream users at the expense of its geek users. (Tip: To get fast access to your DMs on Twitter for iPhone, you can swipe up the “Me” icon at the bottom.)
  4. Twitter is emphasizing real-name identity more than it did before. It’s now saying “retweeted by Dan Frommer” instead of “retweeted by @fromedome”. While I’ve always appreciated the playfulness of Twitter handles, this is probably more useful for Twitter going forward. It adds a sense of civility. It starts to make Twitter an alternative to Facebook for real-name identity management. (Something the market wants.) And as Twitter grows, and as having a unique handle without numbers becomes trickier, it looks cleaner.

I actually frown upon the emphasis of real names on Twitter, as I know people I follow by their Twitter handles  (and perhaps so do you). By proceeding with this emphasis of real names, Twitter is becoming more like Facebook and Google Plus, which is unfortunate.

Read the rest of Dan’s post here.