Eco Blogging Series, Part 4
Eco Cat Lady Speaks is a frugal living and cooking blog by Eco Cat Lady, a self-proclaimed ‘noveau-hippy’ from Denver, USA. What makes her blog unique among eco blogs is its clever use of lol cat memes (see images) to lighten up the subject matter, to the effect that her blog is as much fun to read as it is insightful and informative about eco issues.
Every time I read her blog I laugh out loud. That’s a real achievement. On her blog, instead of feeling annoyed and dejected about the state of the world while reading about eco issues, her posts make me chuckle and let off steam. She cares just as much about what’s wrong about our cultures – from artificial food, to wastefulness, to hoarding – as I do. Yet she has taught me that there is another way to vent about the insanity of western habits of consumerism. And that way is to write about it all with a good dose of cutting humour.
If more eco bloggers could lighten the tone once and a while, perhaps wider audiences would be interested in learning about these important issues. And then maybe they’d be inspired to think differently.
As much as Eco Cat Lady is funny, she is also a perceptive critic of American culture. Each post has a personal or moral message from which we can all learn. She critiques culture from the perspective of an eco outsider who is dismayed at the insanity of the world around her – a standpoint from which anyone with eco eccentricities can identify with.
Though I do not know who the real Eco Cat Lady is (behind the pseudonym) I feel as if I know a lot about her, as the blog is very personal in tone, even diary-like. She doesn’t shy away from writing about relationships or about sad life events but instead incorporates her life experience into posts that are on-topic, and concern eco issues.
By fusing personal experience and eco opinion, Eco Cat Lady has created an original and memorable blog. (That’s made even more enjoyable with a liberal dose of lol cat images)
Eco Cat Lady’s blog is vastly more readable than most blogs in the eco blogosphere. This has as much to do with the form of the text, as it does her excellent content.
Eco Cat Lady doesn’t overwhelm readers with large blocks of text. Practically every paragraph there’s a relevant, funny image to break up it up.
The images are high quality and have required time and effort on Eco Cat Lady’s part. People aren’t really interested to see random images, so endeavor to make them on topic. If you want to make lol cat images or images of another internet meme you will find easy to use image generators online
Eco Cat Lady’s blog consistently makes use of lol cats as a meme – which can be likened to an internet ‘in joke’. Lol cats is a highly popular meme and plus a lot of people adore cats = using lol cats is a win win strategy for blog traffic!
Beth Terry at My Plastic Free life is a vivacious, memorable eco blogger, confident in her own style who offers a unique perspective on her topic – the pathway to leading a plastic-free life. Her campaign about toxic plastics and the plastics industry is inspiring to anybody concerned about the misuse and spread of plastics.
Beth is extremely knowledgeable about plastics without being too abstruse for the layman. In fact, she knows her subject so well that she has written a book on the misuse of plastics, set for publication in 2012. As well as offering insight on the problem of plastics, she always has something to say about the human condition that’s inspiring to anyone who’s concerned about the wasteful, planet-wrecking behaviour we see going on all around us.
As well as writing content that makes the issues of plastic misuse easy to comprehend, she also documents DIY projects and her attempts to repair items (to save plastic from landfill). I’m a big fan of her hands-on attitude, which I think rivals the plastics issue in importance, as it promotes the message of repair and reuse. In times when it is far easier (and cheaper, once man-hours are factored in) to replace a broken item with a new one, Beth reminds us to look beyond immediate personal convenience to consider the environmental consequences of our throwaway attitudes.
A good example of Beth’s personality-fuelled, sincere posts is her post on how to sugar your eyebrows (it’s an alternative to shop bought wax with plastic packaging). The images show Beth’s DIY beauty treatment in refreshing honesty – without the studio lights and full face of make up we are used to seeing – the effect is strikingly honest. Just like her writing in general.
She doesn’t take herself too seriously and keeps a light, jokey tone throughout. In doing so she reminds us that leading a plastic-free lifestyle and blogging about it doesn’t always have to be a serious affair. Living plastic-free can in fact be very much mundane (not in a boring way!).
While I concede a post about grooming eyebrows may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Beth succeeds in making a serious point – with a little research you can often avoid buying a product that you have long taken for granted as a necessity. Somewhere along the line, a product was invented and packaged in a plastic pot and marketed to us. Now we can’t remember what we used to use before the product came along because we have lost our hands-on practical knowledge. However, as Beth demonstrates it is possible to become self-sufficient once again, which is good for our pockets as well as the environment. In the case of eyebrow waxing, we can use products we already have. WE DO NOT NEED TO BUY ANYTHING.
If you are thinking about starting an eco blog, the best advice I can give you is to just be yourself. Write about subjects that interest you and share your knowledge and passion for the subject and you will be on track to build a community of readers and subscribers who appreciate your insight.
If you’re really passionate about a subject, don’t hold back. Readers will appreciate your sincerity and the fact that you’re openly expressing an opinion or point of view that is unreported or not represented in mainstream media. Write about what you want to write about and do it in your own style, i.e. don’t merely imitate your favourite blogger.
Further, don’t worry about being objective. You are under no obligation to put forward both sides of the argument; its your blog and you can say what you like.
From my observation, successful blogs strike a good balance between being personal and informative. Being merely informative is best left to trade journals because it consumes too much time: hours of research, contacts, and access to experts in the field. However, while bloggers usually can’t match trade journals for thoroughly-researched newsy content, they have the advantage in being able to communicate a personal perspective on the topic at hand. It’s only over time that bloggers become considered as an authority in their own right.
I know the blogging personality behind all of my favourite eco blogs. Even when bloggers choose anonymity (perhaps because they don’t want their name to come up when a google search is performed) a sense of the person at the keyboard still shines through. Importantly however, the best bloggers know when to hold back, and avoid boring their audience with endless domestic, off topic anecdotes!
When I started this blog I wanted it to be impersonal. I didn’t want to be embarrassed of its content in 5 years’ time when it turned up in search results if someone searched my name. I will never be ashamed of my passion for/against (?) wastefulness but I don’t exactly shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone I meet that I have a blog. Anyway, over time I actually realised that it helps your blog grow if readers get a sense of who you are…
In a weird way its like your accountable for your opinions, and people trust you more for it. That’s why I have a picture of myself in the sidebar. 99% of people coming here don’t know who I am, hence I need to make it clear that I’m Joddle (a pseudonym) and I’m writing about what interests me. I don’t use my own name (which regular readers / listeners to the podcast will surely know anyway because Max always refers to me as it) because my blogging self is Joddle – a nickname I have had since childhood which feels right on this blog and represents my character as an eco blogger