To Blog, Or Not To Blog
December 1, 2011
Sharing The Positive Side Of Trucking
There’s probably not a day that goes by that when long-haul truckers finally get a chance to sit down and log onto the web, that at least a few thousand aren’t saying to themselves, “I want to start a blog.”
While the technical side is getting easier every day, the tough part, ultimately, is getting past that first blank screen. Given that the same blank screen is an obstacle, temporary or otherwise, for about 99.5% of working professional journalists, and 100% of non-working journalists, truckers shouldn’t let this universal “detour” stop them from blogging.
Neither should the lack of formal training in journalism or creative writing be seen as an obstacle. Journalism’s best kept secret is that some of the best in the business never had any training beyond that required to graduate high school. If you can speak reasonably intelligently about a topic for 3-4 minutes, and can write things down the same way you’d say them, with a little punctuation and a few paragraph breaks thrown in for good measure, then you’re way ahead of many bloggers and even some journalists.
Perhaps more important than having good writing skills, is having an interesting story to tell. Luckily for most truckers, there’s rarely a day that goes by without something interesting, amusing or educational happening on the road or at a stop.
It’s important, however, to avoid the temptation to use a blog solely as a means of venting your frustrations. Venting may be cathartic, but after the first 10-20 gripe posts, it gets dull for both the writer and the reader. Gripe occasionally (rarely) if absolutely necessary, but not in every other post.
Some of the longer-running trucker blogs focus on places to go and things to see, while others take a more educational approach. Others are similar to an online diary. The “Plum Trucker” blog documents one young couple’s transition for civilian life to a career as newly-minted truckers.
Your blog can be mostly text, mostly photos, mostly video, or any combination of the three, but remember, most of your audience is unlikely to be at home connected to super-fast broadband, so keep any photos and video down to computer-screen friendly resolution, and limit any video posts to about 3-4 minutes to enable quick downloads.
The best advice is to thoroughly read some of the top trucker blogs to get a feel for process before starting your own. Here are a few of the great blogs that we’ve profiled in the “Semi Social” column in Student Driver Placement magazine: