So, here is what I've figured out:
- Use the colors associated with a pencil. Notice my color scheme? It's gray, like that crazy mechanical top and dual toned yellow (just to prove that I can use multiple brands). The typography is readable and slick, very modern indeed. Fit for a Gilded Age. (unlike this guy - what are we in first grade with that font?)
- Buy Stock Photography so that every picture can look like the journal pages of every other plog. Let's be honest, cameras are smoky and expensive. I don't want to char my lungs with carcinigans just to get a decent shot. The goal is to have as many pictures of pretty people doing what pretty people do - which evidentially is shaking hands, laying in the grass (if they're young) and subtly supporting obligatory diversity while wearing tailored business suits. I get my stock photography in the mail and simply cut it and paste it when I remember. Some day there will be a free site I can walk to and get creative work from a public commons, but for now, I'm buying stock photos.
- Make every entry a list. I'm doing that today. Seven is the best number. It's ambiguous and mysterious, with a sort-of religious connotation. It's lucky on one hand and yet it's also a number we use to list the deadly sins (as opposed to those sort-of unhealthy sins) Indeed, few people know that the early church did not call them "deadly sins" but rather "the seven habits of highly ineffective church-goers." Things began to change when seventh-century monks got sick of writing it all out on parchment and started abbreviating it and adding a more dramatic flair.
- Invest in a decent speller check program. I send my drafts to a speller check who underlines it all in red. Even then, I have to be careful. I once went with the first choice and had colleagues ask me what a "cumulative ass is mint" was. I'm really pretty puritanical about cursed words, so this was extremely embarassing.
- Use a picture of you where you have a real cool cowboy stare and you've printed it on yellow paper. (I'm not sure why ploggers don't like regular pictures of themselves) Look at my picture. Would you mess with a man like that?
- Titles: Your first option is to promise the world to your readers. Make sure that everything is "the ultimate" or "revolutionary." No one wants toy read a journal entry with the title, "something I tried that worked alright I suppose." People want the magical formula. If that doesn't work, try clever posts with rhymes and alliteration. Let's be honest, "Leaves of Grass" was okay. But it was the rhyme and meter that made Whitman so catchy! Thus I've used titles like "Nong Went Wrong."
- Connect it all to social media. Not everyone owns a newspaper or a telegraph, so you have to be creative. I've found a site I can go to where I hand passenger pigeons messages (within 140 characters) and they drop them at the homes of all my friends. Could I have a pint and discuss things instead? Perhaps, but I'd rather spare people my long-winded monologues and just send snarky musings via aviary media devices. Note that I also keep a public list of all the people who read my plog. It's a quantifiable data I can use to prove that I matter in this world.
Note: This list was inspired by one of my favorite edubloggers Nashworld, whose blog is the opposite of this list. It is visually appealing, insightful and far from cliche. I don't think he has ever tried to sell me educational snake oil. Also, much of this list is meant to be self-deprecating (aside from the absolute mockery of "seven steps" and other meaningless lists)