Amazingly, the Los Angeles Times has been dispensing lots of good rhetorical advice to would-be bloggers this month. Given just how little writing instruction has been devoted to electronic forms, I'm glad to see it, particularly in the mainstream media. A January 4th Los Angeles Times article, "Have we gone blog wild? As Web musings get ever more specialized, it's a good time to be crazy about food," addresses three basic principles for successful blogging: 1) focus on a niche audience, 2) keep it current, and 3) compensate for the blog format with greater interactivity and vividness. Good bloggers focus on just one food or type of culinary experience: only burritos, only pho, only pizza by the slice. And they improve this form of narrowcasting with video clips or clever interactive graphics like animated maps.
(Why is it that political blogs so rarely follow the specificity rule and yet are successful? I tend to think the reasons are anthropological; readers value being members of the tribe more than the actual transfer of novel or useful information.)