Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Donald Douglas on blogging

The professor has some good advice for newbies and other small independent bloggers, and I say that not only because he links me, but also because it's good advice. I especially like what Donald says here:
[P]olitical science research indicates that there's a tremendous "gatekeeper" effect to the blogoshere, since by nature of "network" effects and hierarchies of prestige, blogging newcomers find tremendously high barriers to entry to a successful (and possibly materially lucrative) blogging career . . .
Don't kid yourself that you're going to become the next Michelle Malkin after publishing a couple of week's worth of Blogspot essays; and don't expect to make a fortune anytime soon. I've been blogging for three years, and I still average less than 1000 hits a day. I get thousands of visitors on some days, but that's often because Michelle or Glenn Reynolds has thrown traffic my way. It takes a long time to get noticed, and that's often after you've networked and made connections. My sense is that someone who works hard and puts out consistently good content will develop a readership.
These are related points. Three or four years ago, I read an article that said the blogosphere had ossified to the point that the early arrivals -- those who had locked in big readerships circa 2002-2003, when blogs were first becoming popular -- were destined to dominate forever. Thus, there no prospect of someone starting a blog in 2005 or 2006 and reaching the top.

Well, "can't never could," as my father used to say. If you believe you can't reach the top, then you most certainly won't reach the top. But however high you aim, you risk demoralization if you become so impatient for big success that you aren't willing to take encouragement from small successes.

Five years ago, it seemed as if anyone could start a blog on Tuesday and land a book contract by Friday. That was never really the case, but it at least once seemed that blogging was an easy way to success. Now, everyone admits that success is difficult so, as the professor says, don't kid yourself. Still, persistence and a willingness to learn can still take you a long way. I've tried to focus on readership growth: Week-to-week, month-to-month, steadily increasing traffic.

Professor Douglas also quotes John Hawkins' article, "How to Become a Full Time Conservative Blogger/Columnist," which I highly recommend. Something that John Hawkins has pointed out elsewhere is the value of cross-posting. I now have cross-posting privileges at Right Wing News, AmSpecBlog, Taki's Magazine and the Hot Air Green Room. So that's five different blogs, counting this one (plus whatever other freelance writing, editing and consulting work I can scare up) and the value is that each of those blogs has a different readership. There are lots of online political forums where you can highlight your writing/blogging, and if you've got a few "blog buddies" who want to join you to create a group blog, that's another venue.

The value of "blog buddies" can't be overstated. If a newbie can find two or three small- to medium-sized bloggers with whom to share Rule 2 (reciprocal linkage) and communicate via e-mail, that's the basis of a small network that can then be expanded to reach a wider and wider readership. Also, take advantage of any possible opportunity to meet your fellow bloggers face-to-face offline. The fellowship of a real-world acquaintance helps ease the feeling of isolation that bloggers often have to deal with.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fuck the Homeless

Nice weather came back to tease us in DC this weekend. I was psyched. I mean, I'm not too thrilled about the sunburn I got, yesterday. What can you do, though? Use sunscreen, I suppose.

Today on my travels out into the District, I was reminded of the thing I hate most about summers in our nation's capital. Surprisingly, it's not tourists. I would have thought that was it.

It's these fucking "homeless" people. I don't even believe most of them are homeless. If you don't smell like urine and are dressed better than me, I don't believe that you're fucking homeless. And, even if you are, I don't care. Stop asking me for change.

Don't sit outside of a McDonalds that is hiring asking me for money. Walk your ass inside and fill out an application. I didn't work eight hours a day for five days out of the past seven so I can give you money for sitting outside a fast food joint and guilting me out of it.

Also, once I've ignored you or told you no, don't say "God bless you!" Fuck you! I know what you're doing. I'm sure it typically works. I don't owe you, though, and I'm not giving you shit. Get a real fucking job and leave me the fuck alone! I may not be able to stop the government from taking my money and giving it to undeserving people, but I can certainly stop you. You lazy, piece of shit, asshole.