Interesting Is As Interesting Does

So, I’m back to blogging.  Writing for me, long form.  And sharing it with those of you who make it a habit to stop by or just pop in occasionally.  It’s been fun, sitting down and just pecking away.  Being all introspective and letting it flow out of my fingertips.

I’m glad you’re here.

But I realize that blogging is evolving.  No longer is it about just typing on a screen some meandering bullshit and hitting publish.  If you want to gain readers and make an impact, you have to do it differently these days.

My friend Neil Kramer of Citizen of the Month recently addressed this in his excellent post titled “The Five Ways To Make Yourself Interesting Online.”  It’s a “somewhat serious” look at how we as bloggers and writers and online social types can influence others with our own personal stories.  A great, short read.  And he wraps it up with his own brainstormed, coffee-induced list of things that will help us stand out.  Let’s see how I stack up . . .

1) Say something interesting.

My dogs lick their butts.  Sometimes, they lick each other’s butts.  In fact, as I type this, they are sitting at my feet doing this very thing.  They might have fleas, but even as they die off, they’re going to keep licking their butts.  Butt licking is noisy and gross to watch, so I just ignore them or yell at them to take it to their kennels.  Because no one wants to see that, you ignorant beasts.

2) Do something interesting.

I once drank a whole gallon of Nestlé Nesquik Chocolate Milk in less than an hour.  I worked in radio at the time and did it as an inner-office publicity stunt because someone said it couldn’t be done.  Too sweet.  Too much fat.  Or some such nonsense.  So I did it.  And then . . . well, the bathroom was never really the same after that.  Good thing we had a toilet and a garbage can.  That’s all I have to say about that.

3) Have something interesting happen to you.

Neil warns that sounding like a victim for too long is bad, so I won’t bring up smoking or my weight loss surgery.  I did once get my unibrow waxed.  Took pictures and everything.  (I just sat here for five minutes, racking my brain, trying to think of something else to add, but I’ve got nothing.  I also took an additional five minutes to Google whether I should have used “racking” or “wracking” in that last sentence.  Turns out I got it right.  Perhaps all this overthinking and fiddle-farting explains why nothing interesting ever happens to me.)

4) Look Interesting.

Hello? Unibrow?

5) Become friends with interesting people.

Well . . . there is this one guy.  He and I had breakfast just this morning at the IHOP.  But the stuff we talk about would be boring to you.  Stuff like God and building a deck and Jeff Gordon and how he hates Obama but he’s not a racist.  Online, I’m friends with:

. . . someone who makes government spy equipment,

. . . a couple former members of Christian rock bands who are now atheists,

. . . a bunch of amateur photographers,

. . . a cartoonist,

. . . several people who are still in Christian rock bands,

. . . a bartender,

. . . a plethora of old classmates who are amazed I’m still just as dumb as I was back then,

. . . an assortment of authors who make money selling books about dead girls and divorce and living with the Mormons, among other things,

. . . a former colleague with a pet rabbit,

. . . and someone who was a ranking officer on a nuclear submarine.

And a fine collection of other Regular Joes.  But we don’t hang out much.

In sum?  I’m sort of boring.  But I do make a mean pancake.

How am I doing, Neil . . .

14 thoughts on “Interesting Is As Interesting Does

  1. Let’s take this seriously, as if there was an official report card on being interesting.

    1) Say something interesting.

    “My dogs lick their butts. Sometimes, they lick each other’s butts. In fact, as I type this, they are sitting at my feet doing this very thing.”

    America is a nation of pet-owners. There are entire sites focusing just on photos of dogs and cats. If you would write more blog posts about the quirks of your dog, you could potentially attract a large group of readers. Snoopy, a dog. Goofy, a dog. Benji, a dog. 101 Dalmations, dogs. We love dogs.

    You write well. Writing well, in combination with a compelling subject — your beloved dogs — is interesting, especially when you focus on your own love/hate, passive-aggressive relationship with the animals. Is he “really” talking about his dogs, or is he using his dogs as a metaphor for his relationship with his wife, kids, or boss at work? Fascinating stuff.

    Grade – A.

    2) Do something interesting.

    “I once drank a whole gallon of Nestlé Nesquik Chocolate Milk in less than an hour…”

    First up… you worked in radio. People are impressed with those who worked in the media. I once posted a tweet that I was going to the Disney studios in Burbank and received more DMs that day than anytime else. “Why are you going there?” “Who are you seeing?” “Is this a big movie deal?” I kept silent. I was going there to meet a friend for lunch. Why not make myself sound interesting?

    Also, your stunt says a lot about you. Why did you attempt to drink it all? Are you prone to peer pressure, like many of us online? Are you a risk-taker? Risk-takers are always fascinating characters.

    Sadly, you failed at the end. You were stuck in the bathroom. This make you “real” and I like that. However, readers do like successes. I would expect you to do a follow-up, where you try it again, years later, fighting through the obstacles — Rocky-like — and this time achieving your goal. You will win so many new followers as we track your training, and the final victory over the chocolate milk. And besides — think of the corporate branding possibilities!

    So, because of the failure, Grade — B+

    3) Have something interesting happen to you.

    I did once get my unibrow waxed.

    No, wrong. You chose to have the unibrow waxed. This category only works if it happens TO YOU. Perhaps some bully in college pinned you to the floor and shave off one of your eyebrows, and this has tormented you for years. That is interesting. You choosing to have your unibrow waxed is not interesting.

    Grade — C.

    4) Look Interesting.

    Yes! Now the unibrow works for you. It is distinctive. Remember how Andy Rooney had those bushy eyebrows. He was wealthy enough to go in for a trim, but he chose NOT TO, just to look interesting. And because of his eyebrows, he was on TV for 60 years.

    Grade — A-.

    5) Become friends with interesting people.

    Well . . . let’s be real. When I say “interesting people” I mean someone with clout. But my ears did perk up at the mention of
    Christian rock bands. I’m not Christian, and I don’t know much about Christian rock bands, but I do know that they are a growing force in music. Are any of these rock bands successful? Can you write a puff piece about one of their concerts? Instagram one of their shows? So many journalists have become famous for being the “one who wrote the interview with Bruce Springsteen in Rolling Stone.” If you could create a niche positioning yourself as Mr. “I know all the bigshots of Christian Rock,” I see $$$. Other than that, try to comment more on Dooce’s blog.

    Grade — B+.

    So, all in all, not bad. You’re not the most interesting person online, but you are in the upper 30%. And if you work on improving some of your categories, I see much potential! Good luck!

    • Neil, that was above and beyond. Awesome.

      My unibrow has a lot of traction, that’s for sure.

      The thing I worry about is manufacturing “interesting.” How much of what we write about, the really interesting stuff, is something that began normal enough but got coaxed into becoming an “interesting” experience? I never want to feel forced . . .

      • I’m sure you realize that I am saying all this tongue in cheek, but I am finding it amusing that when I think about you, I find it much more easier to throw you in a niche than when I think about myself. Last night, I went to a party with other bloggers and I was jokingly saying that every blogger and writer should pick another partner and let the OTHER write their ABOUT PAGE online. Maybe I will even try to set this up on my blog. I remember when Veronica wrote mine, it was so good, and included stuff I would never write about myself. We don’t like to see ourselves in a box. We are more three-dimensional. But others see us as outsiders, and may be better able to “sell us” or tell us how we are perceived. Someone at the party yesterday said I was like ‘woody allen.’ Now, of course, that is an honor to be included in the same sentence with him. But other than us being Jewish new yorkers who like humor, I would never say that myself. It’s not true at all. But I can understand that from an outsider’s perspective how it would appear that way. I think a lot of us don’t really know that they are interesting to others because they see their lives as every day existence. It is what I like about blogging…. seeing the lives of those who aren’t like me. So when some woman who works on a farm says she isn’t interesting like ME because I live in the big city of New York, my response is — you are interesting to ME exactly because you run a farm and don’t live in NYC.

        • I get that. I don’t see myself as “the guy with the unibrow,” but for others, that image may be the first thing that pops up. Or that I’m the friend who struggles with smoking. Or the one with the kid with long red hair. Perhaps the things that make us “interesting” are more than that. They define the dimensions of the box that others place us into. Which is perhaps why I try to be so scattershot on my blog. I write about me, all the angles and nooks and crannies. And perhaps this is also why some people have a hard time figuring me out.

          Interesting thoughts, and much appreciated.

          With regards to number 4: I once ran over two deer at the same time while driving down a snowy North Dakota backroad in my dad’s funeral home’s removal station wagon with a dead body on a gurney in the back. That’s gotta be interesting . . .

  2. You know what’s interesting? Trying to find meaning in this life. What is the point anyway. It’ll be different for you than me or the next guy, but maybe not. And you being you. That’s interesting too.

    “One writes … because winter is eternal and because if one didn’t, the wolves and blizzards would be at one’s throat all the sooner.” – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

  3. Interesting depends so much on your own perception – things that we think are run of the mill everyday stuff would be interesting to someone else. I rarely get into heavy conversations mainly because i’m afraid of boring the crap out of some poor soul.

    I wouldn’t keep coming back if i didn’t find your thoughts interesting

  4. I would generally agree with that article, as there are plenty of bloggers just taking up space, but there’s also something to be said for blogging about nothing. It worked for Seinfeld, after all. At any rate, I don’t think you have to be sensational to be worth reading. (Or so I hope!)

  5. I think another rule is that you have to actually, yanno, blog.

    I miss my “old” blog reads when they’re not around. I miss you being here. But I’ve got no room to talk, really. Although I’m working on it.

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