DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG ENTRY #24: Why I’m Confused…no, I mean why I’m confused on how personal I should make my audioblog entries. What did you think I meant?

C’mon…that’s not how it works.

DON’T WANNA READ? THEN LISTEN!:

When I set first set out to make a bog late last year, I asked the VO community for advice on what makes a good blog. The most interesting thing, to me, was how consistently I received two particular pieces of advice that were completely contradictory! The first one was, “Personalize your blog, so you can make sure it’s unique.” The other piece of advice was, “Don’t talk about yourself.”

…Umm…wait, what? Am I, like, the only one who was confused when I read that?

And I friggin’ heard it over and over again, too!

“Make sure that your blog is unique to you.”

“Don’t talk about yourself.”

“Personalize your blog.”

“Don’t write ‘ME-ME-ME’ Stories, no one will read them.”

“The best voice actors are the voice actors who let their unique experiences and relationship with words guide the delivery of their copy, and it’s the same thing with a blog.”

“Nobody cares about your personal trials and tribulations, they’ve got their own to worry about, especially since it’s mostly other VO talent who will read it.”

“Only by making your blog personal can you make it stand out among the cluttered blogosphere.”

“Don’t talk about yourself, that’s just advertising.”

The best conclusion I could come to was that good blogs were blogs where the authors kept their personal experiences brief, and then used them to talk about a larger point that was relevant to the VO community at large. So there were personal experiences, sure, but they were usually summed up in a sentence or two before moving on to talk about the bigger picture. For that reason, there is a line that divides blogging and advertising, but it’s pretty razor-thin if you think about it.

For example, here’s something I’ve been really conflicted about. Recently, I got a new website and a spiffy new logo created for me, and–

Wai-wai-wait, hold on, hold on! I’m getting to a broader point, I promise!

Anyway. I was thinking about writing an audioblog entry about the process behind its conception, and why I like my new website so much. The idea, of course, being that I would be starting a conversation about the larger, broader topic of what I think makes a good website (unique design, downloadable demos, easily-accessed contact info, stuff like that). The thing is, every time I sat down to write that entry, I kept thinking to myself, “Hold on…am I advertising? I don’t mean to…how do I make that last sentence sound more helpful and less like the copy for an infomercial…?”

There are a few audioblog entries that I simply never went through with for that exact reason. They just sat in my draft folder, and never saw the light of day. I started from scratch, because I couldn’t help but think, “Hold on…of what use is this to someone else? Not much at all, really.”

I set out, long ago, to divide my blog and my website as distinctly as I possibly could with regard to its goals. I’m not saying I don’t advertise myself. I have to. Go to my website, or my Facebook page (page, not profile), my Tumblr account, or a couple other social media profiles that aren’t particularly conversation-centered…and you’ll find that I advertise the living hell out of myself. Like I said, we have to, it’s the nature of our business. If no one is aware we exist, we can’t expect to get work. My goal, though, was to make sure, to the extent that I could, that my blog would be an open conversation, for anyone, on all things VO. My audience, after all, is mostly other VO talent. I’d have to imagine that if I just turned my blog into a long rant about myself, that the immediate reaction’s just gonna be, “Uh-huh, that’s nice Dave, we don’t care.”

So, for however little it’s worth, here are a few ways I tried to make my blog personal without turning it into a glorified ad.

1) Keep your personal experiences brief. A sentence or two, but a paragraph at the most. One of my earliest blog entries, entry #4, was an entry in which I talked about why I got into acting–namely, because I’m autistic, and wanted to get to understand people better. Personal, sure, but not very relevant to the vast majority of my other readers. Not surprisingly, it’s one of my least shared entries.

2) Add a (somewhat) unique feature to it. For me, that was the narration feature. I figured, I’m in voice-over, so it only makes sense for me to narrate my own entries, right? I figured it would give a personal touch. Sure, many people won’t listen and would prefer just to read, but the narration feature is there if they want it.

3) Add a blogroll, or a list of other blogs people can check out. It’s a nice little way of sayin’, “Hey, I’m not the center of the universe.”

4) Link to other social media in general. I post my audioblog entries in a number of forums on Linkedin, and whenever I find that good discussion has arisen on a particular thread, I go back and edit my audioblog entries to include links to those discussion threads. I think other people bring up great points about my entries and further the discussion to the point where I want future readers to know about it.

5) Acknowledge that it’s partially impossible. My website is for advertising, and my blog is for discussion, and I try to keep the two separate…but there’s no denying that my blog will help me a little bit on the advertising end. Each blog entry makes me a tad more Google-friendly (something we ALL want, let’s be honest), and while I don’t claim myself to be a VO superstar by any means, it did help my internet presence–more people knew who I was after I started blogging than before.

I guess a funny way to end this entry would be a sentence with some sort of “wink-wink” humor to the effect of, “So remember, make your posts relevant, and don’t advertise yourself…like placing videos to projects you did, such as this one I recently completed for Miken Accu-Flex 2.0 hockey sticks.” However, I’m not going to do that. I would never, ever, EVER post videos of VO projects I recently completed below this paragraph.

Okay, sorry, now I backed myself into an uncomfortable position where I have to post the video to make the joke work–you don’t have to watch it, go ahead and ignore it if you want!

DAVE’S AUDIOBLOG Entry #1: Why I Broke Down…no, I mean why I broke down and got a blog. What did you think I meant?

This is a picture of a blog. What? Can’t you tell?

DON’T WANNA READ? THEN LISTEN!:

“You should have a blog”….

If I had a nickel for every time someone has said that to me…I’d have about $20.00…I mean, ya know. Ish.

I resisted getting a blog for the longest time. The reasons were many, of course. I was afraid I would never have anything to talk about, that I wouldn’t have something of value to say, that nobody would be interested, that I wouldn’t have the time…the list goes on and on. I thought that a blog wouldn’t serve much of a purpose and essentially be reduced to a “glorified bonus” to my online presence.

I now believe I was wrong, though. So, appropriately enough, I figured my first blog post should be about just that–the reason why I was wrong.

In the end, it simply comes down to the fact that we live in an ADD world.

And by the way, that’s not to offend people who have ADD–my younger sister has it, after all–but rather, that was intended as a jab at society at large. We live in a world where people expect you to get to the point. It seems that every time some new method of communication is invented, people all of a sudden expect you to get the point faster than you already were. Long, long ago we just simply talked to each other. And then we invented letters. Why? Because it was annoying to, ya know, WALK…to talk to somebody, so we figured it would save us the trouble and maybe a little bit of hassle. Then phones were invented. Why? Because people didn’t want to wait for letters. They wanted to just get to the point. Then answering machines were invented, because we don’t actually want to have a conversation, we want you to just leave a message and get to the point. Then cell phones were invented. After all, why should we wait for you to get home? We want you to get to the point, even if it means calling you in the middle of your off-time. Then we invented the internet, because we don’t want to through the hassle of paying phone bills for long-distance calls: we want your response on our own time and at our own convenience! Then we invented social media sites like MySpace and Facebook, because we didn’t want to be so formal–we want you to get to the freaking point in a few sentences! And then, TWITTER! We want you TO GET TO THE FREAKING POINT RIGHT FREAKING NOW IN ONE FREAKING SENTENCE!!!

…Ugh. You get the drill. Upon re-examining today’s ADD, “get to the point” world, we don’t really talk anymore. At all. Our lives are so busy that we don’t really operate like people anymore. So, from my perspective, blogs are actually pretty cool in that regard. We get to write longer, more detailed stuff that reminds us that there are, in fact, real people behind those faceless Twitter accounts.

That goes for me too. My web site, DaveWallaceVO.com, is much shorter, and written with an ADD, “get-to-the-point” mentality. Conversely, my blog is more expansive (…or rather it will be, once I put more entries in). I figured that if you’re interested, you can get to know Dave Wallace the guy rather than Dave Wallace the VO artist. So by all means, feel free to comment, give me your thoughts, say whatever you like. This blog is my place to be a tad more open and personal. In the interest of honesty, the focus will still be relatively VO-oriented, but not exclusively so. So, stay tuned, stick around, and see what I have to talk about!