Neil Postman makes me swoon. His book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business may have been first published in 1985, but it is absolutely still relevant today.
I share with you a paragraph from his last chapter, entitled "The Huxleyan Warning", in which he discusses the dangers of television:
The problem... does not reside in what people watch. The problem is that we watch. The solution must be found in how we watch. For I believe it may fairly be said that we have yet to learn what television is. And the reason is that there has been no worthwhile discussion, let alone widespread public understanding, of what information is and how it gives direction to a culture. There is a certain poignancy in this, since there are no people who more frequently and enthusiastically use such phrases as "the information age," "the information explosion," and "the information society". We have apparently advanced to the point where we have grasped the idea that a change in the forms, volume, speed and context of information means something, but we have not got any further.
I wonder what his thoughts are on the Internet, and what he would think of the idea of having a rhetoric blog... after all, a screen's a screen, isn't it? Is the computer so very different from the television?
I love rhetoric.
This word has a glamorous appeal to it, I expect from its French origins. And the very definition is glamorous!
1. Brilliant display; dazzling effect
2. Social distinction; conspicuous success; universal approbation (with great éclat)
French from éclater, "burst out".
Makes me want to dress in an evening gown, toss my hair over my shoulder and discuss Hemingway or Cervantes.
Guest posts really have their benefits. People who write guest posts on other blogs are able to get their writing out there and draw awareness to their cause.
But there are many things to take into consideration if you want to approach a blogger to write a guest post for them on their blog. I've been approached by many different authors; some I have happily agreed to publish their guest post, others I have been thoroughly put off by their inquiry. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1) What's in it for them? Anyone who approaches me, saying that they want to write a guest post for my blog, and says that they're offering "a unique article, completely free of charge! All I'm asking in return in a tiny link exchange" makes me roll my eyes. If you're selling a product or marketing yourself and you write a blog in order to draw attention to the service or product you provide, then it makes sense that you might be interested in guest bloggers offering to write articles for you. But if you're like me, and you started blogging just because you like writing rather than because you were trying to promote a business, then it's pretty likely that the writing of articles is generally a joy and you want to do all of the writing yourself.
If you're trying to offer your services as a guest blogger, think about what that person really needs. If you know that they are going away on holiday, for example, that's the perfect time to approach them. They will likely be grateful for your offer. Take the time to think about why your guest post is relevant to the blogger whom you want to publish your article.
2) Do you have a good relationship with the blogger? Nine times out of ten, I'll turn down a guest blogger who contacts me out of the blue who I do not "know". But if a blogger whom I have a good relationship with asks me if I'll publish an article they wrote, I'm pretty much going to always say yes. I'm happy to promote fellow blogger friends. There's no need for me to promote random strangers, so I usually don't.
3) Can you write? This is crucial. Some people send me articles to publish and I turn them down because they can't put a sentence together. It's horrifying. If you want someone to publish your article, for the love of all things holy please edit and proofread it and get someone else to take a look at it before you send it in. Make sure it makes sense!
4) What's your idea? It irks me when a random stranger offers to write an article for me but they want me to choose the topic. If I'm going to choose the topic, I might as well write the article myself! Pitch your idea to the blogger and make sure it's relevant to their blog. For example, if the blogger in question is starting to try out a vegan diet, and you have experience eating vegan foods, offer to write an article about your experiences and advice about going vegan. Those kind of thoughtful ideas are what will give you an "in".
Thoughts on guest blogging? Have you done it? Would you be interested in doing it? How do you feel about people approaching you with their ideas to write a guest post? Leave your comments below!
For an awesome guest post, check out Charlotte's article on my Living Healthy in the Real World blog - as she's a fellow blogger friend and has a brand new book out to promote, it was a pleasure to publish her guest post on my blog
I recently received a Second Story Press review copy of Restitution: A family's fight for their heritage lost in the Holocaust by Kathy Kacer. What interested me the most about this book, upon first hearing about it, is that it is a true story of the Holocaust from the perspective of a Jewish Czechoslovakian family: they escaped from Czechoslovakia and immigrated to Canada, and then spent decades fighting to reclaim four magnificent pieces of artwork that they had once owned. It follows the story up until the present day and involves art smugglers and diplomats as collaborators to get the art across the border without the government noticing.
The story is told from a different perspective than most other tales of the Holocaust, and it was very educational to see the war through the eyes of a Czechoslovakian teenager as his mother sends money to a bank in Paris and forges a Catholic wedding certificate and baptisms. Pictures of each of these documents, as well as fake passports, letters of correspondence, and the artwork that the family works so hard to reclaim are scattered throughout the book as a constant reminder that the story truly took place.
There was one problem that I had with this book: Kacer has written it with the seeming intention of telling a couple of stories (that of young Karl and his escape from Czechoslovakia, as well as the story of the art smuggler), in addition to giving a very accurate description of historical events. That in itself is a wonderful endeavor, but it is also very difficult to succeed in doing. I felt that throughout much of the book, she successfully tells the story and intertwines it with historical details, but that there were other points when it seemed to jump around too much. Just as you become invested in the characters, suddenly it reads like a history book (albeit a very compelling history book). This habit unfortunately places some distance between the reader and the characters.
That being said, I would certainly recommend this book to others (and in fact I had already raved about it to a couple of people before I had even finished the book). It is difficult to put down and Kacer is an excellent writer. If you're in the least bit interested in history, art, legacy, and the struggle to maintain the self within times of political strife, you will be able to take much away from reading Restitution.
Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge and was not compensated in any other way; the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
A while back, I wrote a blog post about Tips for Starting a Blog. I've been getting lots of questions about the blogging experience lately, and I thought that I would offer some advice for any new bloggers out there. It's better to scratch away any illusions you might have about blogging before you get started.
Here are three of the main things that people ask me about when they are just starting up their own blogs: the workload, the number of visitors, and the financial aspect/perks of blogging.
My thoughts on each topic:
- Blogging can take a lot of work. Between setting up a blog, coming up with ideas, writing the blog posts, editing them, publishing them, getting them out there on social media platforms, reading and commenting on other blogs, and moderating comment discussion on your own blog posts, blogging takes a lot of effort. It's a learning process, too: you might get more efficient as time goes on at the creativity and writing of the posts, but you will constantly be learning new things about social media or plug-ins for your blog. Blogging doesn't necessarily get easier as time goes on. Your blog still requires dedication and a mission to continue to publish high-quality work that readers can make use of.
- You won't instantly get hundreds upon thousands of visitors. The first day you write a blog post, you might get five visitors. Maybe by the end of the month, you'll be getting 10 or 20 visitors each day. That's awesome! Keep at it. It has taken me several years to get over 9,500 visitors a month (which is what my health blog achieved in November); that is double the number of visitors I had in the summer, so if you're even getting 4,000 visitors a month within your first couple years, you're doing very well. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media are key to getting more views of your website, but it ultimately takes a lot of time to get there. You have to be consistent.
- Most blogs don't make much money. I've been blogging for several years now, and it wasn't until the past few weeks that I was approached by a company and was made an offer to display their banners on my health blog. I'm now thrilled to be making $100 each month from those ads, and before that I wasn't making any money off of the blog. None! I spend hours each week (and even each day) dedicated to blogging, and yet I wasn't making money until I'd been hard at work for several years (and it was good luck that this company happened to approach me). Maybe I was slow to come by the monetization aspect of blogging, but I think it's much more realistic to think of it in this way if you're starting out a blog: blogging is likely not going to make you any money at all. Finances should not be your primary reason for starting a blog.
All of that being said, I wouldn't be blogging if I didn't love it. If you have passion for writing and for the topic that you're writing about, you'll find that this experience is incredibly rewarding. Be aware of the above three points and you'll be well-prepared for your own blogging journey!
I was flipping through the dictionary, came across this word and had a giggle. I'd never heard of this word before but something in it sounds funny - perhaps the consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel structure, the fact that it has an "o" on the end, or that the double "p" is rather endearing and cute.
The definition interested me, too. I like coming across nutrition-related words that I hadn't heard before.
Any fleshy fruit of the melon or cucumber type, with numerous seeds and surrounded by a hard skin.
Latin, = pumpkin, from Greek pepon abbreviation of pepon sikuos ripe gourd.
Are you eating any pepos today?