Interview with Weylan Deaver
Weylan Deaver is experienced with websites, so I wanted to get his insight into what he has learned from his work in the blogosphere. I appreciate Weylan participating in this series of interviews. Weylan is also active in sharing the gospel through Twitter, so I was anxious to read his perspective on this medium.
Weylan is a Fellow at the Fellowship Room, where I am blessed to serve.
1. You have a blog. Tell us about it.
My blog is Weylan Words . I started it in 2009 as a place to post religious writings, book reviews, poetry, and miscellaneous observations.
2. How did you get started as a blogger?
I noticed other people were doing it and it was something that, with my limited technical expertise, I could still manage. Though not a website designer, with a blog, I could still sort of be one. After a bit of researching the most popular formats, I ended up going with WordPress.
3. What are the best lessons you have discovered through the years, as a blogger?
Well, I’ve not been at it for years. But, here is some advice I think worthwhile. Only post what you don’t mind total strangers reading. Only post material you don’t mind winding up in the farthest hinterland. Only post what is true and what you’re willing to defend. Remember, what you say online is forever. Be prepared for criticism. As for comments, I allow them on some posts but not on others. When you allow comments, you are opening the possibility of your readers being exposed to the blog of the one commenting, which may or may not be a good thing. I’ve had a stranger subscribe to my blog and become a critic. Is it worth it to get into a regular wrangle with him? Maybe not. I’m not obligated to let him comment. So, I would say, keep control of your blog by not letting it be dominated by others.
4. What is your strategy for promoting your website?
One feature of WordPress is that it lets you immediately publish an update to Twitter every time you add a new post. Sometimes I’ll also add a link from Facebook. Otherwise, there’s not really an active campaign to promote the site. Several have linked their own blogs to mine, for which I’m thankful.
5. What are your feelings about Twitter?
Twitter certainly lets you connect with people you don’t know in person, and will probably never meet. I see Facebook more as a networking of friends, whereas I view Twitter more a networking of people with things in common (though not necessarily friends). I’ve many more Twitter “friends” than I have on Facebook. You never know where a tweet will go. Your tweet can be retweeted to thousands who are not your “followers,” exposing them to material you’ve written.
6. What is your strength as a writer?
They say the best songwriters are the ones who know through experience what they’re writing about. I suppose, the same can be said of other writing genres. I would hope I have a deep and broad foundation in the Scriptures on which to draw when writing on religion. My parents raised me in the Lord’s church and I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in Bible, coupled with a lifetime of experience studying God’s word and hearing it taught. I’ve been blessed to have a knack for stringing words together (or, so I’m told). Come to think of it, words are my stock-in-trade, whether they’re words online, words on paper, or words spoken in Bible classes and sermons.
7. In what areas can you grow as a writer?
I can always grow in vocabulary. In my opinion, one of the best teachers of good writing is good reading. Hopefully, further study, more reading, and a bigger dose of wisdom from above will make me a better writer. You can’t grow as a writer if you don’t write as a reader.
8. What plans do you have for the future?
Concerning writing, I plan to keep on with sermon outlines and bulletin articles (which are endless). I especially would like to get more into writing songs for the church. Whether there will eventually be any books to my name, remains to be seen, but it’s not a priority now.
9. How important is the design of a blog?
I think the appearance of a website is more critical than the appearance of a blog. A website that’s ugly or hopelessly outdated can cause my interest to evaporate–maybe before I even give the content a fair shot. But, a blog (or, at least WordPress, which is what I’m familiar with) is formatted automatically per whatever theme you choose. I guess you can choose a wrong theme, but, mostly it’s about picking a color or design scheme you like, and letting the software format your blog for you. Changing themes every once in a while can add variety and keep it a little more interesting.
10. What do you see is the future of spreading the gospel online?
Of course, the gospel never changes. But, the internet opens a world of opportunities getting out the message. Any number of teaching blogs can be offered, as well as any amount of teaching videos. Perhaps one of the most helpful tools a church can have is a good website. Ours is Sherman Drive. It lets travelers learn about us ahead of time. It lets potential visitors see what we’re about before they set foot in our building. It also offers past bulletin articles and previous sermons available for downloading or streaming. None of this will ever replace the church assembling to worship together, but it does all add up in helping get information out to as many as possible.