Friday, January 21, 2011

Blogging: The Big Reveal

Marta in layers

The What Not to Wear Reveal is the best part of the show. Under all the layers of insecurity and self-consciousness, a sparkling, talented, beautiful person is hiding, and the audience finally gets a chance to see her inside-personality reflected on the outside.

Blogging is like a Reveal. I've been to blogs where peeling the layers away becomes too tedious to actually stay for the reveal. Apologies ("Sorry, I have nothing interesting to write") push me out the door. "Thanks for telling me before I waste my time here," I think as my pinkie stretches toward delete. Other blogs look interesting immediately and I want to get acquainted, read everything they have to say. What makes the difference?

This week Marta came to Oma's Inn to prepare for her reveal at the ALT Design Summit. Her topic was Blogging Personal Stories, so we had plenty to chat about while she got ready.

Talbots on sale!

I chased baby Benji through Talbots while Marta searched the racks for her Red Carpet look. "How do you suggest what's underneath without letting it all hang out?" We were talking about blogging, not cleavage, but the answer was the same: add sparkle.

The glimpse of a sequined tank underneath a low-cut blouse has an alluring modesty factor. When writing a revealing blog, don't display all the family jewels, warts and scars. Hint at the underpinnings of the story with careful words that won't offend someone you love, or embarrass you when it appears on your resume years from now. Your own style comes into play, of course, but the rule might be "less is more" when showcasing your personal stuff.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall . . ."

The guy at the Mac counter perked up when he saw us coming. Sketch, Soba, Swiss Chocolate, Cork—do green eyes look greener with purple? Do blue eyes look bluer with brown? Is Sketch purple or brown? WE NEED THEM ALL!!!!

What words reveal your inner colors? Rants are therapeutic to write and fun to read—sometimes. Sarcasm is hard to gauge through a blog, and often comes across whiny and negative to a stranger who isn't familiar with your sense of humor. Maybe that doesn't matter to you, but maybe you want people to come back and read your blog again. In that case, use a little foundation to even out your tone, dab some concealer on your blemishes and use color strategically to enhance your smile. Don't worry, your flaws will still show in the right light; you'll look real. You can still blog without makeup from time to time, but readers are more attracted when your words POP with enthusiasm.

Rock it, Min!

The Reveal is all about confidence. When you put all the pieces together, your blog will shimmer with confidence. Marta said, "A blog is like a party. You invite people to come, and as a good hostess, you want them to feel welcome and comfortable and to feel like you care about them. You try to be your best self."

Benji's Past, revealed.

Do readers get acquainted with you by reading your blog? Are you showcasing the look you want them to see? Do they leave saying, "I need to bring my sister over. She'd love it here!" or "That place was a mess!"

"You are what you blog," says Marta. "Since you're always looking for blog posts in your regular life, you start seeing your regular life with the attitude you have when you write about it."

Example: A three-year-old drops a gallon of orange juice in the fridge. A Woe is Me blogger sees this as proof that motherhood is miserable and spends an hour writing about her miserable life scrubbing inside, around and under the refrigerator. Will her kids ever grow up?

An Isn't Life Funny? blogger takes a bunch of photos, and even recreates the fatal drop with her giggling 3-year-old, then spends the afternoon smiling over staged pictures of her kids mopping up the OJ. She bites her lip realizing that someday they'll grow up.

Whether you want it to or not, your blog reveals you to your audience, and also to yourself.

Smile for your fans!

Reveal the real.

My Quirky Giveaway ends tonight at midnight! Make sure you leave a comment!


Misty said...

Marta looks gorgeous, and I learned so much from this post! I was just asking my husband last night if he thought my personality wasn't coming through clearly on my blog (some comments have made me realize that readers might not get my sense of humor...) so this is a post I'll be revisiting & thinking about a lot.

Perfect, Oma, as always.
(And good luck, Marta! You'll do great!)

melissa walker said...

Marta looks so great! I still remember her as a little kid!

kenju said...

Looking good!!

You give some good advice, Marty. I tend to tell too much (always have).

the wrath of khandrea said...

i loved this post! analogies are my favorite.

now i want to buy some new makeup. well, i want someone to buy it for me, because i'm super cheap.

Christie said...

I have thought all week what a party you and Marta must be having, and wishing desperately I was in on it. You two are so fun. She looks darling, and, as usual, your analogies are spot on. You should write a book on analogies. You don't know how many church talks you would save for me!

Sheri said...

Min looks beautiful. I love her look, it seems to fit her personality--as your blog fits you!

Gabi said...

Yay, Min and Mom! What a perfect look.

Scrappy Grams said...

Great look, Marta! As to my blog,Oma, you brought out some ideas for me to ponder and involve my best buds.

marta said...

thank you, mom! how do you do it?! you always come up with a double meaning that can apply to all of us. thanks for putting me in the spotlight!! the weekend wouldn't be magic without you! xoxo.

Susan said...

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I just love reading your blog. You are so spot on, and your use of analogies really tickles me. My daughter, Christine, turned me on to Marta's blog and from there I started following here quite a while ago now. Great posts, great humor and lots of thought-provoking topics. Thank you! Warm regards, Susan

Annie said...

All the revealing and no snark from Stacey and Clinton. Bonus!

polly said...

Marta's red carpet look is spectacular! I want a day out with you, especially at the makeup counter. I'm always afraid to go to them (I used to be one of those people -at the makeup counter and I had no idea what I was doing) so I'm a bit suspicious. Congrats on the fabulous look. I know Marta did a great job.

Heather P said...


Now here's what's funny to me: All the talk about "hinting" at details rather than showing them all. When I think of your blog, I think of it being more revealing than anything--think of all the topics you've explored. I should clarify: not sloppy revealing, lascivious (gasp!), but personal, specific, detailed revealing. It was funny for me to read about it as the "suggestion" of something more rather than letting it all hang out. I do also agree that carefully chosen words can help us avoid shame. I have a similar rule about not writing things that will come back to haunt me. I always try to decide if I would tell someone the same detail if they asked me in person.

Anyhoo, I don't know where this comment was going originally. Your blog is a lovely salon of lively characters, all (of course) under the inspired direction of a thoughtful hostess. I think you do a great job of the very goal you describe.

Nice reveal!

Grandma Lizzie's House said...

I love the new look of your blog.

Abby said...

Love the bangs, and the outfit. Great story Marty, you do have a way with words! Always giving me something to ponder....

Susan Adcox said...

Great analogy between our blogs and our wardrobes. I think I do a much better job with my blog than with my wardrobe!