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Monday
Jul192010

7 Thoughts on Detroit & Love

I didn’t just wake up one morning and start blogging about Detroit. I researched and thought about it for a few years. One of my main sources of information on blogging has come from Darren Rowse of Problogger.

A few days ago Mr. Problogger issued a challenge to bloggers. I don’t usually participate in memes but I liked the 7 Link Challenge (#7links). He issued us with 7 links with specific guidelines.

So, here we go.

1. Your first post. My first post was Hello Detroit. I hope I’m keeping up my part of the bargain.

2. A post you enjoyed writing the most. I’ve enjoyed writing most of the posts here and some have pained me. Like, serious pain. The most recent post that I absolutely loved writing was And Then it Got Quiet.

3. A post which had a great discussion. The Heidelberg Project: Polka Dots Over Blight may not have the most comments but I think it provoked one of the best discussions.

4. A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written. This one was tough! There are probably 100 posts about Detroit I wish I had written and another 100 that I am SO happy that I had nothing to do with. The last thing Warren needs is another parking lot full of junk written by Brian Ambrozy over at Icrontic.com gets the nod here.

5. Your most helpful post. This one was pretty easy. 40 Things to Do in Detroit Before You’re Dead.

6. A post with a title that you are proud of. Harrumph. I’m the first to admit I suck at titles and headlines. If I could outsource them I would. Street Artist Banksy Tags Detroit.

7. A Post that you wish more people had read. The Guardian Building: Detroit’s Beauty probably would have been read by more people if I could actually write a headline. This building is amazing and it always surprises and saddens me when people say they have never ventured inside of this architectural masterpiece.

´╗┐This little exercise was fun and enlightening. I try to look at Detroit Moxie once every week or two with the eyes of an outsider. Over the weekend, I changed a few small elements: the background color, the font, and the font color. Those are just surface changes to make it easier to read and a bit prettier.

The 7 Link Challenge, however, forced me to look at the content I provide. I scrounged through my archives and found posts I had forgoten about. I want to consistently offer good information about Detroit in an entertaining way.

How am I doing? Do you agree with the choices I made for the challenge?

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Reader Comments (13)

I loved this post, Becks. Anyone that writes a blog should be forced to look at the content they are providing. Is it in line with the reason you originally started or has it evolved? Either way, we need to be continuously be taking a step back and evaluating in order to best deliver what we're passionate about.

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick Reyes

Awesome job Becks! I think I will have to do this myself for my own blog. Just keep it up because it is Detroiters like you that inspired me to start my own blogging endeavor.

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Patrick & Josh,
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I thinks it's easy for bloggers to keep pushing out content without being accountable for it. I know I don't hit it out of the park every time but I keep going back up to the plate to take another swing. I'm continually educating myself and attempting to make Detroit Moxie the best it can be.

By the way folks, Patrick & Josh are both based in Detroit and have great blogs. You should check them out.

July 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

This reminds me, I have to get back to my Problogger 30DBBB ebook and finish some of the tasks and challenges there. Darren's always got some good advice and ideas to help develop and grow your blog.

I'm with you on the trouble with titles. I got used to taking one approach with titles when I wrote for the newspapers (more catchy, pithy titles), but I've yet to get a real knack for writing titles for online articles. Most of mine are dull as toast because I often try to fit locations and place names in the title and/or at the articles' beginning so those terms are hopefully more readily picked up by search engines. It seems to work pretty well for me in that respect, but I miss the catchier titles we used to write for the papers :)

If it's any consolation, I read (and really enjoyed) your article about the Guardian Bldg.

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

Awww thanks for the mention, Becks! I feel honored :)

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Ambrozy

I love how the 7 links Challenge encourages the writer to go inward about their blogging. I am curious why you selected a Brian Ambrozy piece for link #4. Was it the content, the subject, or other? (I happen to agree with Brian's post about suburban disregard for cultivating & keeping green space)

Your post "Bent Out of Shape" stands out for me. :-)

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Ah! Very cool, I'll have to do something like this for Yooper Steez.

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBugsy

Dominique,
I'm glad you enjoyed the Guardian piece. Also, I'm happy I'm not the only one who feels their titles are dull. I, too, try to include the location or subject of the post in the title and it doesn't lend itself to clever, clickable headlines.

Brian & Catherine,
I was just about to explain my choice of Brian's piece in response to his comment since I couldn't really fit it in the post.

As I said, there have been a gazillion great posts about Detroit over the last year and a half. I choose the piece about the secret garden in Warren because:
1. He found something that not many people knew existed. A place that looks magical in the middle of suburban sameness.
2. He took a stand, backed it up, and went fighting for something he believed in.
3. Brian didn't just write about the secret garden, he went and interviewed Tom Turmel to find out the back story.

It should also be noted that I grew up in Warren.

It was a fabulous post, Brian!

Catherine,
I'm glad you enjoyed "Bent Out of Shape," it was a difficult post to write. And now I'm reminded that I was going to do a follow up to that. Which category do you think that post would fit into?

July 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Bugsy,
It's an interesting task and I enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with on Yooper Steez.

July 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

I had a little time, so I read the posts I hadn't seen. I love that you launched the site right when I arrived in Detroit, since I consider myself a primary audience: Someone new to the area who is curious. (I look forward to checking off the items I'm missing on the 40 list!)

This is a great representation and a nice illustration of your writing styles! Cool exercise; thanks for sharing!

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

The follow up to Bent Out of Shape could perhaps start a new category that expands your writing to include regular stories that reveal the "hidden" Becks? The personal stories are my favorites.

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Jen,
Thank you for taking the time to read some of the posts you missed. I didn't even think that it would show my different writing styles! I do think that people new to the area are one of the audiences I'm trying to reach. However, I also aim to reach those who have lived here all their lives and just didn't know all this cool stuff was in Detroit.

Catherine,
I'll definitely get on the follow up to Bent Out of Shape. All of the categories need to be reworked, they just aren't set up very well.

I don't really see the personal stuff as "hidden." I don't have much to hide, there are just things that I haven't got around to sharing yet. I'm happy you like the personal stories (I like them too) but the primary focus of the blog will always be Detroit. Detroit with sprinklings of Becks Davis! Detroit Moxie is unique because it comes from the perspective of me and my husband. ;-)

July 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Wasn't this fun? I just wrapped up my seven link challenge post. I'm always so focused on what I'm going to write next that I don't take enough time to look back through old posts. It was a great experience to peruse through almost three years of content and see how my writing has grown. I think you're doing great as a blogger and your posts provide a lot of value (and entertainment reading!) to anyone interested in Detroit. Keep in up. :)

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNikki Stephan

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