I was skimming around in someone’s blog list of writers and few minutes ago, and looked at one that was pretty typical in having pictures to accompany the posts. In this case, rather large pictures. The one that particularly struck me was the picture of a hand holding a pen. It reminded me how often we’re told, presumably by experts on the subject, that our blogs will be more attractive to readers if they have illustrations. Apparently, this suggestion is being taken as a rule, maybe even a law, by a lot of blogging writers. To the point where I see images that have absolutely nothing to do with writing. And even those that do, like a hand holding a pen, or just a pen, or a computer keyboard, are just taking up space. They don’t contribute anything to the blog, or to the posts they accompany.
Supposedly, images attract readers’ attention and encourage them to . . . read. So I have to ask, how many people spend their time stumbling around blogs, looking for something to read? If you’re at a writer’s blog, the chances are very good that you have a reason to be there, and that reason is to read the latest post. If you start thinking about it, it seems rather insulting to imply that people need to be hooked by pictures lest they quickly wander off. Especially other writers, or people who are interested in what writers have to say.
Are blog readers little children, who have to be coaxed by colorful pictures to spend a few minutes reading? It’s sort of like mommy playing games to get you to open your mouth for the spinach. I guess that’s it, exactly what the experts are thinking — that reading is unpleasant and you have to be tricked into it.