Friday, April 3, 2009
My Advice Column
I read an internet article (can't find the link, sorry) that applied the rules from Meg Cabot's book, How to Be Popular, to the internet. The article defined popularity in terms of followers on a blog or twitter or anything else that is quantifiable. For blogs, the article suggested, write "how-to" posts. Give advice. That's what people want, and that's what makes people popular.
This is understandable. When I seek out blogs, it's for ones that give advice on teaching or language. I avoid ones like mine. If I want links to news articles, I'll visit Andrew Sullivan's blog at the Atlantic, The Daily Dish. If I want book recommendations, I'll visit Goodreads or Turning the Page. If I want petty complaints, I'll revisit my ninth-grade journal (except in a bout of sophomore paranoia, I locked it in a tackle box and lost the key, and forever it remains!)
I'm horrible at giving advice. I have strong opinions and ideas of what people should do and think, but I always picture myself in the other person's shoes and know that I refuse the advice of others to an unhealthy degree.
But, for the sake of popularity and advice for advice's sake, here's one of my strong opinions (to borrow the language of Coetzee): Be the same to everyone. Be honest - not hurtful or, necessarily, blunt - to everyone. Be yourself. Working at the library, I hold this principle close. Treat everyone the same, whether they have no fine or owe $9.99 and have ten notes on their card. Similarly, don't say anything about anyone that you wouldn't say to their face. Easier said than done, but I promise, living each day with that idea in mind makes life better.
Happy birthday to my mom - 35, is it? ;)