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How Watching Arthur Can Make You a Better Blogger

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January 24, 2012

The television shows my kids watch very rarely draw me in. My tolerance for the corny jokes and silly story lines is pretty low, and although they’re not allowed to watch anything crass or raunchy (or with “butt” in the title!), most of what they watch is absolutely annoying.

Except for Arthur.

I have to admit that I’m a closet fan. That Marc Brown knows what he’s doing (and even the re-runs are tolerable). A while back the kids were watching and the title stopped me in my tracks. Muffy and the Big Bad Blog was teeming with great tips for blogging and blogging well. What follows is some of the valuable insight Muffy and the gang had to share. It’s proof that there’s a great deal to be learned when you’re hanging out with your kids. Here we go…

On Blogging Etiquette:

  1. “Never put anything in an email that you wouldn’t wanna see on the front page of a newspaper.” This bit of wisdom from Buster’s mom holds true for your blog too.
  2. “Can’t anything be private?” –Francine. You’d think this would go without saying, but your friends and family don’t want a play by play of their lives broadcasted across your social media feeds. I have to remind myself that my kids will get older and just might find out that I shared their chafing issues in a blog post. I’d hate for someone to embarrass me in that way, so that’s a post I should probably never publish.
  3. Don’t be the “bully of the blogosphere.” Writing a critique on your blog is one thing. Being rude and downright hurtful is something altogether different. Teens are not the only people actively cyber-bullying, adults do quite a bit of it as well. Take another tip from Francine who eventually figured it out, “From now on, if I’m gonna insult you, it’s gonna be in private.”

On Developing Content:

  1. No one wants to read every detail of your life. At one point in the episode, Muffy’s blog became a play by play of all the mundane activities of her day. It took some very honest friends to tell her her blog was getting boring. You may not have friends (or readers) who’ll be that honest with you, so take an objective look at your blog and be honest with yourself.
  2. “A blog needs to have an angle-something people care about.” A blog also needs to maintain said angle while continuing to expand and improve in an effort to remain relevant.

On Being a “Real Life” Blogger:

  1. Disconnect from your mobile device. Muffy’s smart phoney eventually became the bane of her existence-her friends hated to see her coming. If you’re like Muffy (and me), make a point of untethering yourself from your smart phone. Give your face time to the people who are actually right there in front of you.
  2. Life is still going on while you’re blogging. There is always something else you probably need to be doing when you choose to get carried away with blogging. Take Mr. Ratburn’s advice, “you need to do other things in life besides blogging,” and try not to respond like Muffy who said, “You’re right, if I don’t do other things I won’t have anything to blog about!”
  3. Don’t let your online presence replace your real life presence. Don’t miss out on talking to actual real life people. When Francine told Muffy she just wanted to talk to her, her response was “talking is so 20th century.” Remember, that while you’re developing your voice online, the people around you just want to hear your voice (and see your face, and hold your hand, and give you hug!). Let that be the overriding principle when choosing how much time you spend blogging.

In the end, Francine and Muffy pooled their insights and began blogging together. That’s one more thing we can learn from this episode-there’s power and potential when bloggers help each other. If you haven’t seen the episode, you can wait for the re-run or catch it below. I hope you enjoyed this little cartoon-induced tutorial and that it will somehow help you become a better blogger.

Image Source: PBS

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