Sunday, October 3, 2010

Roundtable: the Future of Blogging

My blog comrade Tamerlane at True Liberal Nexus, hosted John W. Smart, Little Isis at (the new) "Liberal Rapture" and Cyn of Double Jointed Fingers. He asked us to weigh in on the future of blogging.

Here are the responses. Links above quadruplicate them, but from those you can leap to URLs or their own fabulous blogs. I know they all beat me to posting them, but 1) I did not realize I was supposed to also, 2) I was off at an Irish Studies conference with only my lil' phone and my tired, tendon-challenged thumbs, 3) at two airports for considerable time with the same weary digits, so pardon the delay.

BLOGGERS' ROUNDTABLE: the Future of Blogging.

with Cyn, Fionnchú, John W. Smart, littleisis, and tamerlane

** The Bios **

Blog: Double Jointed Fingers

Blogging since: 2000 and Bush v. Gore. I totally didn’t see that coming and I was so outraged that I started looking around the internet to see if anyone else was as enraged as I. I ended up at Kicking Ass, the DNC blog and stayed there until 2008. A lot of those wonderful Dem friends I had made were not only backing Obama, but vilifying Hillary. I also blogged at Night Bird’s Fountain, but left in 2004 and started my own blog.

Real life profession: legal assistant to sole practitioner attorney

Reason I got into blogging: politics

Hours per week spent on my blog: Not that many. I don’t feel the need to post every day or even every week, although I did feel the need during the 2008 primary. For me, blogging helps me let off steam, share information and gives me a creative outlet.

Hours per week on other blogs: Hard to say, as it varies. I would guess approx. 10 hours per week.


Blog: Blogtrotter

Blogging since: 2007

Other published or posted works: academic journals; scholarly references;, Amazon US (Top 500 reviewer), New York Journal of Books, and PopMatters websites.

Real-life profession: Medievalist turned Humanities college instructor.

Reason I got into blogging: To share my passion for ideas and get my thoughts out of my mind and beyond the limits of a low-level teaching gig with few chances to find colleagues or students of a like-minded, inquiring, ornery, eclectic, and debatable bent.

Hours per week spent working on my blog: 6 (on average)

Hours per week spent reading other people’s blogs: 2 (I read fast)

John Smart

Blog: JohnWSmart

Blogging since: 2005

Real-life profession: Film Clearance Administration

Reason I got into blogging: Anger at Bush administration lies.

Hours per week spent working on my blog: 20

Hours per week spent reading other people’s blogs: 5


Blogs: You can find me at Liberal Rapture or the Confluence

Blogging since: I was seventeen.

Other published or posted works: I can’t disclose those, this is a family blog.

Real-life profession: Student

Reason I got into blogging: I started paying more attention to politics and entertainment towards the end of High School, after a string of suicides occurred in my graduating class. (Two of them were good friends of mine.) Blogging is the easiest way to shout my opinions at people.

Hours per week spent working on my blog: Depends on the week.

Hours per week spent reading other people’s blogs: Also depends on the week.



True Liberal Nexus

JohnWSmart (guest contributor)

Liberal Rapture (cross-posted hitchhiker)

Blogging since: 2009

Other published or posted works: Myriad client profiles, press releases, newsletter articles, print ads, & promotional brochures; Training Agreements, Helmet Release & Hold Harmless forms; a thesis on medieval knights; a published board game; a privately disseminated cookbook.

Real-life profession: Horse trainer; former jack of all trades

Reason I got into blogging: To protest the Sting of Hillary Clinton and to combat the destruction of Liberalism by the Obamalonian Horde.

Hours per week spent working on my blog: 3? 5? 0?

Hours per week spent at other people’s blogs: I have no fucking clue.

** Roundtable Questions **

I The Future of Blogging

1. Can Blogging Save the World?

Cyn: I don’t think anything can save the world. I’ve become somewhat jaded after the 2008 election. I believe there is only so much that bloggers can do to make a difference. However, I do see that the Tea Party (however much I disagree with them), are making a huge difference in the Republican party, but I don’t know that it is due to blogging. I do believe that so long as we don’t lose our hope of being able to make the world a better place, blogging will continue to grow.

Fionnchu: No, given that our voices will be drowned out.

John W. Smart: No. Nor should it try.

littleisis: Anything that speaks truth to power can end up saving the world. Mainstream press seems more concerned with speaking power to truth these days.

tamerlane: No, but it can rescue a scrap of veracity and free, meaningful discourse — our samizdat in the face of Pravda Light censorship and Dancing with the Stars distraction.

2. Will Blogs replace Newspapers?

CYN: So long as newspapers need to turn a profit and remain beholden to corporate interests, yes.

F: No, as we lack the funds to afford to investigate issues on our own without the backing that media gain. We also lack credibility unless perhaps attached to a larger blog site sponsored by a corporation. We don’t get the press respect or the PR clout that enables us to garner review copies, either!

JWS: No.

LI: Eventually they will. I use the NYT to line my cat’s kitty litter.

TAM: They’ll meet somewhere in the middle. Unlike 99% of bloggers, most newspapers still know how to write & edit, and do proper investigative reporting. Most bloggers are hacks suffering from the mind-scours.

3. Should a successful blog: a) charge to read it? b) Accept Ads? c) Ask for donations? d) Stay free, free as the wind blows?

CYN: In a perfect world, stay free, free as the wind. However, if the blogger needs to ask for donations or put ads on their blog to generate income, it doesn’t bother me. Especially if it is a blog I follow on a regular basis. I would rather donate than see it shut down.

F: Stay free. I don’t accept ads, I wish blogs were free of ads. I prefer a Net more resistant to consumerism and capitalism. I wish I’d started on WordPress, not Google’s E-Blogger. But, tech- challenged, as I began a few years ago, it’s too late now given the search engine tilts. And, I have a corporation giving me access gratis to make my blog. So, there’s a hidden charge, no free lunch.

JWS: a. no. b. yes. c. yes. d. no.

LI: I don’t know about charging readers, but I don’t see any problem with accepting ads or asking for donations. Regular blogging can take time.

TAM: Computers and the internet place us at the potential dawn of a new social order, with a truly “free” market where people give things away for self-actualization. Kinda like Star Trek.

II The Blogosphere

4. Person you’d like to see blogging who doesn’t?

CYN: Madeleine Albright. She fascinates me.

F: Some of my egghead but populist friends in Ireland and here, who prefer anonymity due to their fears of surveillance.

JWS: Edie Falco.

LI: Seriously. She’s brilliant, funny and a great writer. I just have to nab her before TC does.

TAM: John Mellencamp.

5. Does Perez Hilton hurt or help blogs being taken seriously?

CYN: I have no idea as I never knew she had a blog. However, sight unseen, I don’t think it would make a difference.

F: I could care less. TMZ and C-Span both serve as entertainment in the media we’re dished out. Any arena will attract the strutters and ballhogs as well as us waterboys and peanut vendors. Bloggers are caricatured as kooks by the mainstream, but the MSM funds and uses them too. I think FB or whatever future medium rises will erode blogs more, as people read less. Scanning and Twitter and instant updates also substitute for what a few years ago blogs provided as a method to share tidbits and finds on and off the Net. E-mail dwindles as people don’t use that to share information as links or photos or articles among a list of friends, and as with discussion lists in the late 90s, blogs may fade more in this respect.

JWS: He has no affect.

LI: Not for me to say. Not all blogs should be taken seriously to begin with. Similarly, not all newspapers should be taken seriously. The National Enquirer or the NYT, for example.

TAM: Who’s Perez Hilton?

6. Is the Huffington Post a blog, a newspaper, or something else?

CYN: A blog, and all blogs are not alike.

F: It replaces Time Magazine as a compendium of a safe political slant– combined with pop culture and stupid photos & videos that I admit being surprised to find. I don’t read it but I get links to it via FB posts by friends now and then. This is what the MSM is evolving towards.

JWS: Something else.

LI: A newspaper, because it repeats talking points.

TAM: It’s the air-sickness bag of the proglydite Weltanschauung.

7. Are Kos and Drudge journalists, politicos, or something else?

CYN: In my opinion, politicos.

F: They began as pioneer investigators, but as celebrity bloggers, they’ve capitulated to MSM corporate approval.

JWS: Something else.

LI: Tough question. I’m not even sure if they’re human.

TAM: They’re two little hitlers who’ll fight it out until one little hitler does the other one’s will.

III The Art of Blogging

8. Worst sin(s) a blogger can make?

CYN: Knowingly posting lies or advancing an opinion on behalf of someone who pays you to do so.

F: Not revealing sponsorship or perks.

JWS: Thinking they matter more than they do.

LI: Banning people for financial or business reasons.

TAM: Writing when they have nothing to say; Cut & paste; Blogging Under the Influence.

9. The perfect blog post would …

CYN: Inform me, charm me and make me laugh.

F: Distinguish between cut & paste blather and original insights that the author labored over rather than plagiarized or paraphrased.

JWS: Link to my blog.

LI: Make people think, and laugh.

TAM: Put something in a new light for me.

10. Ideal length of a blog post?

CYN: Personally, so long as it keeps my attention, it doesn’t matter.

F: Less than most of mine. 750-1000 words max?

JWS: Depends on the topic.

LI: It would depend on the subject of the post and whether it’s an open thread.

TAM: I’ve retained the self-editing habits from writing for print materials with physical size constraints:

* Daily comment on news: <= 500 words
* Weekly observation/rant: 750 – 1,000 words
* Monthly philosophizing: 1,500 – 2,000 words.
* If you have anything longer, send it to the New Yorker.

11. Ideal format: Minimalist or Glitzy?

CYN: What ever floats your boat or reflects the personality of the blog.

F: Minimal. I hate distractions. But I do like decorating the margins with artworks and piddling with colors. Google is not as generous as I’d have anticipated with how you can customize your templates.

JWS: Minimal.

LI: I prefer glitzy, but I’m a girl.

TAM: Minimalist.

12. Real-life human activity blogging most emulates?

CYN: Dear diary.

F: Chatting with friends about ideas, issues, and trends. Or talking to yourself. Some may say masturbation in public, but haven’t writers, actors, and creative types been long accused by puritans and prudes?

JWS: Walking.

LI: Telling your children you’d like to do what you can to make the world a better place for them.

TAM: Singing in the shower.

IV Your Blogging Goals

13. Head-in-the-clouds goal for your blog:

CYN: I really don’t take my blog that seriously.

F: To gain a patron & recognition for my brilliant acumen so I never have to work again. I keep expecting a MacArthur Grant in my inbox. Acclaim from the academy so I land instant tenure and I can get time to write books rather than entries every other day. I stopped daily blogging when I realized how few people cared about it. But that led to a backlog of dozens of entries, ironically enough!

JWS: Huge profits.

LI: Loyal regulars.

TAM: To have both Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann on the same day mention with disgust the same TLN post.

14. Feet-on-the-ground goal:

CYN: Possibly transfer my blog from Blogger to Wordpad.

F: To keep it up until I die or until some other medium evolves that I can afford to replace it. I feel it’s like a term paper that’s always near due, and it keeps me locked into a self-imposed schedule. It keeps my mind fresher and my thoughts more ordered, as I pretend I have an audience that gets me out of my own self-glorification and makes me aware of the fact someone may take me to account. I have made friends whom I’ve gone on to meet in the “real world,” and that pleases me no end, as such contacts in my daily life are non-existent regarding such comradeship.

JWS: Keep going.

LI: Loyal regulars

TAM: I get lots of hits, but want more comments.

15. Any changes, improvements. additions you’d like to make to your blog?

CYN: I pretty much change my blog design when I get bored with how it looks.

F: I’d like the Google E-Blogger templates to allow more alterations for a tech-challenged type. But now that they have started charging $10 for template changes of some sorts, I wonder. WordPress seems the only competition, but it’s as I mentioned a bit too late to migrate. The Google formats constrict you even as they make it dumbbell-accessible, an inevitable compromise to put such html intricacies in the hands of the huddled masses.

JWS: Yes. There are.

LI: I wish it looked more glamorous, but there’s only so many things you can do with wordpress.

TAM: Tags and shit.

16. If you were paid full-time to blog, would you do it?

CYN: No. I would feel stifled.

F: Yes, but I’d prefer a MacArthur grant renewed in perpetuity. I might hate blogging if it was my job. As a hobby, it’s fine.

JWS: Yes.

LI: Absolutely.

TAM: Twist my arm.

1 comment:

tamerlane said...

love the accompanying painting!

The 2nd roundtable is on it's way -- we'll be rotating duty as host(ess) from now on.