Good bloggers have a specific focus. When someone starts a blog, it’s important to find her niche, and to build her posts around that niche. For instance, The Outspoken TULIP focuses on teaching women discernment through sound Biblical doctrine. Most of the blogs I read fall into that niche as well, and occasionally I interact with those women through social media or by email. We concentrate on defined areas because readers look to us for answers in those areas. God gave us this ministry so that He would be glorified.
So often, I’m tempted to veer off from the purpose of my blog for the sake of just writing. As enjoyable as such a vacation might be, it would ultimately change this blog into something I don’t believe the Lord wants it to be. I could start another blog devoted to the art of writing, and it would still honor Him. But it would need to be a separate blog. I don’t want to diffuse this blog by meandering into ideas that would distract women from discipleship. Consequently, I narrow my subject matter to select categories that contribute to my overall theme.
Even when a blog intentionally narrows its focus to a few related aspects of Christianity, however, the author should find a broad spectrum of sub-topics within that focus. One Scripture will most likely lead to more Scriptures, leading the writer to think about angles that give fresh perspectives. Too much of a focus leads to repetition that ends up annoying readers. Additionally, it can damage the writer’s credibility,
Yes, I know that the apostle Peter defended his use of repetition in teaching people (2 Peter 1:12-15, 3:1-2). Repetition is an effective teaching tool that by all means should be employed. The college professors who influenced me the most (especially in regard to my writing) drilled the same maxims into my head semester after semester. And regular readers of those blog know that I revisit my primary topics with frequency. So please don’t misconstrue this article as condemning any and all repetition.
The repetition that concerns me pops up when a blogger has such a confined focus that she writes the same five or six articles every month, usually trotting out the same quotations. After a while, she’ll remind me of the idea that saying something long enough and loudly enough will convince people to adopt her position. Eventually, her strategy backfires, tempting me towards the very position she argues against! Furthermore, she losses my respect.
I’m reminded of Proverbs 10:19.
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise. (NASB95)
Maybe her belief is Scriptural. Maybe it isn’t. But if she wants to win people over, she needs to develop her thesis, using a variety of Scriptures and coming at her issues from several perspectives. She should also broaden her tent a little, writing about other issues related to her main theme. Simply hammering away with a multiplication of essentially the same article in rapid succession only alienates readers, possibly driving them towards the behavior that she wants to them to avoid. Her words, though many, can fail to persuade readers to embrace her point of view. Those words may lead her readers into sin.
No one appreciates being nagged. Saying the same tired things over and over — even in a blog — comes across as relentless nagging. A blogger’s audience already knows her position. They won’t be convinced by reading blog post after blog post making identical points with the same substantiation. And they might wonder if she is theologically unbalanced.
Repetition can be a helpful learning tool. But any tool, when used improperly, can cause damage. If you aspire to teach younger women (either face-to-face or through blogging), make sure to balance any repetition with variety. You’ll be more interesting, and definitely more effective.