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  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:39 am on October 10, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anthropologist, Article, Beverly Hills High School, Blogs, , , , , Edmund 'Pat' Brown, , journalism teacher, Kenneth L. Peters, , Lead paragraph, Lede, Margaret Mead, Observation, , , Robert Maynard Hutchins, Sacramento, , ,   

    Burying the Lead 

    Every time I reread my blog posts, the same thought comes to my mind – “man, I buried the lead again”.

    I learned about leads from “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Chip and Dan Heath. It is a short book, but one that influenced me deeply. Every blogger out there should read it.

    Burying a lead“, in the jargon of journalists means boring the reader before getting to the juicy part. A “lead” or “lede” is the first sentence of the story.

    In the book, there’s an anecdote about a journalism teacher giving his students an assignment:

    ” … They would write the lead of a newspaper story. The teacher reeled off the facts: “Kenneth L. Peters, the principal of Beverly Hills High School, announced today that the entire school faculty will travel to Sacramento next Thursday for a colloquium in new teaching methods. Amnong the speakers will be anthropologist Margaret Mead, college president Dr. Robert Maynard Hutchins, and California governor Edmund ‘Pat’ Brown. ”

    Apparently, most students produced a lead that lumped all these facts into a single sentence. The teacher read all the submissions and then announced:

    “The lead to the story is ‘There will be no school next Thursday’ ”

    I am having a huge problem with writing in “inverted pyramid” style. The juicy parts of my posts are usually at the bottom.

    Think about it, most blog readers, especially the ones that matter suffer from add, and often do not get to the bottom of the article. This means they won’t link to it, won’t digg it.

    I am trying to improve, but writing is a difficult art to master. I just wish I took more writing classes.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:36 am on September 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blogs, , Boing Boing, , , , , , Merlin Mann, , search engine traffic, , , the Starbucks post   

    State of the blog 2008 

    A while ago Merlin Mann gave a pretty neat definition of what makes blogs good:

    ” 1. Good blogs have a voice.
    2. Good blogs reflect focused obsessions.
    3. Good blogs are the product of “Attention times Interest”
    4. Good blog posts are made of paragraphs.
    5. Good “non-post” blogs have style and curation.
    6. Good blogs are weird.
    7. Good blogs make you want to start your own blog.
    8. Good blogs try.
    9. Good blogs know when to break their own rules. ”

    My list would have been very similar, and I am pretty sure deadprogrammer.com is a good blog. God knows I try :)

    On the other hand, I seem to have about the same thousand readers I had 4 years ago. I was kind of hoping that my writing and photography would work on their own, bringing me a steady stream of new readers. It does not seem to be working. Every time I try to put some extra effort into a post, my hopes of somebody linking to it, digging it, twittering about it, or even just leaving me a thoughtful comment are dashed. After a few years of this, it gets harder and harder for me to write. My posting frequency is not what it used to be.

    Several hundred readers still subscribe to my blog from Livejournal. The majority of the rest resulted from a single Boing Boing post. I don’t really think it’s the most interesting post I ever wrote, but to this day it brings in about 25% of my search engine traffic, and the majority of outside links.

    Back then I actively tried submitting my posts to Boing Boing. Boing Boing submission form can rival magazine publisher’s black hole. I finally practically begged Cory Doctorow in a personal email to take a look at at the Starbucks post (which the submission form vaporized previously), and I did get that link.

    I tried to get Jason Kottke interested in my blog, especially since it seems to me that a lot of the stuff that I write about is very much up his alley, but after a chat or two I got tired of pitching. It just does not fell right for me to buttonhole busy A-list bloggers – hey, look, I wrote this, you might like it.

    Anyhoo, what’s the point of all this? Apparently I suck at PR and self-promotion, and I would really like some help here from the audience. Do you know somebody who’d enjoy reading Deadprogramemer.com? Please, tell them, especially if it’s an A, B, C, D or E list blogger. Please?

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 12:39 pm on October 29, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blogs, , , , , , ,   

    IHA: I Heart Acronyms 

    I am reading blogs with bloglines.com aggregator these days. I have four categories of blogs there : FIMB, PIMB, RB and LJ.

    FIMB stands for Famous Incontinent and Mostly Boring. These are “A-list” blogs like Scobelizer, which are updated with the frequency of bunny poop and are so full of mentions of wiki, podcasting and other buzzwords that it’s not even funny. Still, amongst bunny pooplets there are often interesting links. FIMBS rarely generate original content, but mostly comment on what’s going on. Being gadflies they do that pretty well.

    PIMB stands for Pompous Incontinent Multiauthor Blogs like Gothamist. These are usually for-profit blogs with several authors that post even more frequently than FIMBs. There’s mindless link and meme propagation galore, but with a twist. First of all they often have a unifying topic, like NYC or gadgets or politics. Then there’s the attempt to emulate print journalism with things like editorials. The most bizarre trait of some PIMBS is when different authors start to express opinions on behalf of the blog : “Gothamist will go back to finding baseball kinda boring” or “All Gothamist can say is we can’t wait to see Douche or Turd”. My guess is that PIMBs happen when a couple of IMBs or FIMBS get together. I separated PIMBS because they are not as boring as FIMBS, but left unchecked they fill my reading with buzz and white noise.

    RB is a set of regular blogs, authors of which make well crafted and original posts. There are some FIMBsh blogs lumped in there, but those usually don’t have the most annoying traits of FIMBs. LJ is a set of all of my livejournal reading.

     
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