Can your blog be as endearing as Calvin and Hobbes?

Fifteen years ago Bill Watterson quit drawing the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. I loved this comic strip. I I owned a couple of the Calvin and Hobbes books at the peak of their popularity.

Back then I was newly married. My bride and I moved into a townhouse on the edge of the San Antonio city limits. This was our first married “home.”

The small cluster of townhomes we lived in were surrounded by scrub brush and undeveloped land. Kittens and unwanted pets were frequently abandoned on the lonely stretch of road outside our complex. One of those little kittens adopted us.  We named him “Calvin” after the little boy in Bill Watterson’s comic strip.

So why was this comic strip so endearing? Why would people name their pets after the characters in the strip?

Here’s what Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes says:  

“I just tried to write honestly, and I tried to make this little world fun to look at, so people would take the time to read it. That was the full extent of my concern.“

So many people write blogs showing people they’re an expert. “I’m your go-to-guy or gal” for “this expertise” or “that service.” We work hard producing blog posts and materials telling the world, “I know what I’m talking about.” “You should use my services.”

But through all our chest thumping and all our clatter and all our trumpet blaring, we sometimes lose our humanity.

The Calvin and Hobbes comic strip was very human. The stories were real. They rang true. Bill Watterson worked at writing and drawing honestly. That is why I believe the comic strip was so successful.

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip

When you write your blog are you telling the quiet personal stories that illustrate your points? Are you telling people how you screwed up and the lesson you learned from your screw up? Are you laughing at yourself in your blog posts? Are you letting people know who you are personally? Are you sharing yourself?

Be bold fellow bloggers. Share your personal stories. Write “honestly.” Show your humanity in your blog.

This Monday, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer printed an interview with Bill Watterson. The interview inspired this post. You’re able to read the interview here.

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  4 comments for “Can your blog be as endearing as Calvin and Hobbes?

  1. February 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I know big business is walking a fine line between using social media to foster transparency between themselves and consumers and inadvertently fostering potential law suits and/or revelations of information later used against them by clever competitors.

    Hopefully individuals and small businesses with blogs don’t have as much to worry about along those lines.

    Of course there is the “(blog)nom de guerre” possibility. With it, you might communicate honestly with readers behind something of a front. See the blog of our good Contributor, D. Eadward Tree, for example.

  2. February 9, 2010 at 7:20 am

    You may be right about asking bloggers to be bold
    But are you ready to mix your friend network with your business network ? there’s a big risk involved.
    Definately you can share your personal experiences about certain topics, but then you have to judge it yourself whether and how much impact this can it have on your business.

    Precaution is always better than cure

  3. February 10, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Chris – Interesting comment about using a fictitious name when blogging. You also mentioned how large corporations get into trouble with some of their social media efforts. Look at the problems professional athletes have had on Twitter. Public communications about private matters can cause real issues.

    But people respond to authentic stories from real life. If you’re offering the same professional service that many others do, what sets you apart from the other professionals?

    Sometimes your personality and a consistent stream of blog posts showing you’re a real person proves you’re different. Sometimes it’s the only way to differentiate yourself from the pack. Let them know you’re more than a fact spewing blogging professional. Let them know you’re a real person. That’s part of the point I was trying to make.

  4. February 11, 2010 at 4:21 am

    I agree, Doug, with what you are saying about professionals using authentic communication and stories to set themselves apart.

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