February 16th, 2006

On Blogging

In this post I speak only for myself and not anybody else at BIO. I’m mad as hell and…what is a blog worth? How is a blog’s worth determined?

To analyze the disparities in the blogosphere, Shirky took a sample of 433 blogs. Then he counted an interesting metric: the number of links that pointed toward each site (“inbound” links….Why links? Because they are the most important and visible measure of a site’s popularity. Links are the chief way that visitors find new blogs in the first place….No, they rely purely on word of mouth. Readers find a link to Gawker or Andrew Sullivan on a friend’s site, and they follow it. A link is, in essence, a vote of confidence that a fan leaves inscribed in cyberspace: Check this site out! It’s cool! What’s more, Internet studies have found that inbound links are an 80 percent–accurate predictor of traffic. The more links point to you, the more readers you have.

That’s one model of linkage. I believe Blog Explosion is trying to establish a newer model with its new linkage program and rent a blog, but the programs are too new to discuss. I’m a big believer in BE. After I found it on November 13, 2004 my life was never the same again.

This article discusses the top fifty blogs and how they relate to each other. This article discusses “top New York and other bloggers.”

Why am I so angry? Not for the reasons that you probably think. I never expected or wanted to become rich off my blog. Like many people I began using blogging for one reason; to have a place to write where nobody knew who I was and to see if people related to my work. Told very few people about my blog until BIO was formed.

The only things I knew about blogging when I began was that there was somebody named Wonkette who was very popular, and that Stephanie Klein had a blog. We were in a class together and it amazed me when somebody knew her for her blog.

Then one day Hauslaib took a good look at Gawker, a gossip site owned by the high-tech publisher Nick Denton. According to Denton, the site received about 200,000 “page views” a day from readers. The site ran roughly two big ads on each page, and Gawker said that it charged advertisers $6 to $10 for every 1,000 page views—almost the same as a midsize newspaper. There was also a smattering of smaller, one-line text ads bringing in a few hundred bucks daily. Doing a quick bit of math, he figured that the income from Gawker’s ads could top $4,000 a day. The upshot? Nick Denton’s revenues from Gawker were probably at least $1 million a year and might well be cracking $2 million.

In the many articles in New York Magazine on blogging this week, it equates blogging success with financial success. In other words it attempts to quantify blogging. How can you quantify something that began in the 90’s? Stupid question; in the 90’s everything was quantified. Seem to remember that the way things were quantified didn’t end up working in the real world.

Don’t care what any of these articles say. Blogging is just beginning to evolve. It’s the performance art of the millenium. Many times I feel as if I’m walking on top of a narrow balance beam. Nobody would want to bet the farm on my sense of balance.

When I was a reporter for a large alt weekly I had an editor, copy editor, fact checker and research assistant. Didn’t spend my time worrying about what I wrote, how it sounded, were the facts all correct, my grammar, and what kind of comments I would get. My editor shielded me from the most vile letters, unless they were really funny and then I would want to see them.

Find myself Googling and Technorating, “Courting Destiny”, my personal blog, and “Pia Savage,” and not for the good stuff. For a long time people would make fun of me. I wanted to see what people were saying about me, and why. Once read Maureen Dowd say that she tried not to read what was being said of her. She works within a safety net. Bloggers don’t. It’s scary and exhiliarating and gives me more personal satisfaction then being a reporter, or any of my technical writing jobs. If I didn’t have to make a living, I would do it all day every day. More days than not I do.

Most personal bloggers answer every comment. Except for Dooce the top ranked Technorati (13) personal blogger on who doesn’t do comments. Dooce has no outgoing links on her blog. Why do people liink to her like crazy? Because they’re in love with her writing? Somehow I don’t think that most people are. But she’s Dooce and thus cool.

Don’t think Stephanie answers most. Why should she? She has the Judith Regan book(s) and sit com deal. Contrary to popular belief I am happy for her. Like it when somebody I know, no matter how periphally makes it big.

Yes I’m using blogging, in some ways, as a means to an end. It’s writing constantly. It’s amazing to be able to practice to a crowd. And yes I hope that even if you don’t remember me, you remember and/or know my blog, and buy my book. I fall into what Technorati defines as the magic middle.

I was happy there. When I found blogging I found more than writing practice and exposure, I found communities of people being developed, first on commonality of interests. As I have often said “The Cranky Liberal was my first friend on the Internet.” Cranky was hell bent on beginning a political blog, and here we are almost a year later.

I found other communities too, not based solely on common interests, but on intellect, wit, and maybe an ability to communicate on our blogs and in comments a little easier than in real life. Oh, I’m just as opinionated and verbal in real life, but there’s something different about blogging.

How can a form that’s so young have a hierarchy based solely on incoming links and advertising revenues? No two blogs are exactly alike; people have different purposes and goals. I have learned so many different skills, views, ways of doing things and much more from other bloggers. There are many blogs I just don’t get, but many bloggers just don’t get me. That doesn’t bother me as I have met so many incredible bloggers from all over the country and the world.

Some of the people I consider to be my new best friends are people I wouldn’t have talked to or wouldn’t have talked to me sixteen months ago. We became friendly because of politics, writing, or we just plain liked each other. It’’s mind blowing. I was very New York and SoCalcentric, and I’m not anymore. I no longer make fun of states that begin with the letter “I.”

I’m the first person to argue for measurable scales yet I felt cheapened by New York Magazine It made me feel that, well, I’m just a “Q” list blogger; why even continue? Because I love it for one thing. Here are the top five blogs as measured by Technorati:

Boing Boing: What a surprise. It’s actually interesting when it’s not about product placement, and so much of it is. Why is product placement so important to blogging? Makes no sense to me, but there’s a place for everything in blogging.

Engadet My mother always told me not to say anything if I had nothing good to say. I never listened. I will in this case. No I won’t. It’s pure product placement. Cute at times, but….

Post Secret: like everybody else I think it’s wonderful. A blog devoted to peoples secrets mailed on a homemade post card. And I hope that the book does very well.

The Daily Kos Here’s where I differ from most people at BIO; I don’t think it’s the second coming. Yes, much of BIO consists of articles put in with a word or two, but it will never substitute for a newspaper to me. I understand that The Daily Kos was in the first wave of blogging and made it because of that but I find something missing; a center or a heart.

I had a thread at Blog Critics, it’s in the Technorat top hundred, last summer. It was on Intelligent Design and one of the worst experiences of my life. Katrina happened; and I tried stopping the thread. I was accused of being “Americacentric,” “hysterical,” and those were the nice things. Time and history prove me right unfortunately. The comments came to my account and just wouldn’t f–king stop.

Let me be blunt. I think that people who don’t have a blog or one they rarely update or don’t put work into, but comment on other peoples blogs to be sarcastic, witty, snarky, whatever are the scourge of the blogging world. They don’t care about the post, about the research and work that went into it, or how valid the points are. They care about cutting it and each other to shreds. Read the comments in Gmail threads; sometimes Gmail misses something. People would tell me if I missed one little thread. When I would finally read them, they were usually meaningless or extraneous.

They almost drove me out of blogging altogether. But I’m good at blogging. In my personal blog people point out grammatical mistakes. They also tell me what they like about my writing. Nobody has ever done that before.

At BIO we’re expanding, and are becoming a model for a community blog, with a liberal bias. I love the new BIO because it allows me the luxury of writing posts like this, while still throwing in articles about Cheney shooting a man. I will always accept comments with a different point of view. How boring and strange the world would be if everybody thought like me. But don’t practice your sarcasm on me; go to The Daily Kos or Blog Critics for that.

Yes, The Daily Kos has a rating system for comments and maybe it’s effective. I just don’t like it. It could just be my personal quirk, or it could be because I expect a bit of meat in the blogs I read. If I wanted to read newspaper articles with only an added headline, I could go to the newspaper itself. Now that I have a large screen, there’s no stopping me.

There are some excellent posts by Kos, but they’re essentially a number of small paragraphs with many hyperlinks. It’s a great model.

Coulter commits a third degree felony. Maybe she can borrow Rush’s lawyers.

Love it, but the old media person in me thinks it’s lazy journalism. The blogger in me thinks it’s great that Kos can throw in articles all day, add a few words, allow comments and watch the advertising revenue grow.

But that’s not what blogging is about to me; I am more a personal blogger than I am a political one. Just feel very passionately about many subjects and have to get it out. And political blogging can be so much more than the Kos model Which brings me to the fifth rated blog.

The Huffington Report. It only began last April and has obviously grown fast. If I had Arianna Huffington’s money and friends; Maureen Dowd, and Nora Ephron to just name two, I think I could make a fifth ranked blog also. But I like it because it has posts that you can find nowhere else. It makes me think and I appreciate anything and anybody that makes me think. I think The Huffington Report is a great model that can only be replicated by people with many resources to spend, and famous friends to write. It’s old media practiced a new way.

We have a rare opportunity as blogists–a word Mulligan coined, to make a difference; to define our bits of the blogosphere. Let’s watch it evolve; let us make our parts into things we are passionate about. For most of us blogging isn’t about making money. It is about love, finding new directions, and even for some people, a place to fit in.

I think that New York Magazine committed a great injustice this week when it reduced blogging to hierarchies. While I found that to be very insulting, I’m happy to be a “Q” list blogger. According to Cooper, our favorite 20 year old, it’s where all the cool people are.

Used to be obsessed with my Technorati ranking. Now there are days I barely even check it. Maybe I can go a whole day without checking it at all. Maybe I can go on vacation without my laptop and my blog. As I haven’t gone one day since November 13, 2004 without doing something blogging related, I might have to find a blogging recovery group, but hey….one day at a time. I’m having a hard enough time just posting this. Keep on rereadiing it to see if I missed something. Did I mention that I’m obsessive compulsive? One of the truly great things about blogging is that I’m not alone in my neuroses; so many people have the same or similiar ones.

I wrote a post on Courting, on Monday about New York Magazine and blogging.

Posted in General, Weblogs, DailyFeatured



50 Comment(s)

Leave a response »

  1. Steve O Says :

    “Hi, My name is Steve and I am a recovering blogger, I have not snarked anything in 15 days”


             
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  2. Gun-Toting Liberal Says :

    Wow…  that was definitely a great post!!!

    Defiitely a “must read”.  I could feel your heart thumping as you pressed the “send” button, and that is no joke.  You just keep on keepin’ at it.  And thanks… 

    Blog ON!


             
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  3. rimone Says :

    very well stated; thank you. i love this part best: ‘It’s the performance art of the millenium.’

     


             
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  4. PhiloTBG Says :

    Really great post Pia. This is one of the best breakdowns of how the blogosphere works and why people who aren’t getting 100, 50, 10, or even 2 thousand hits a day still love blogging. The Baltimore Group only broke the 200 hits in a day mark for the first few times over the last two weeks. It’s always interesting trying to explain to someone that you love writing even when you know very few people will read it in the grand scheme of the blogosphere.

    Let me be blunt. I think that people who don’t have a blog or one they rarely update or don’t put work into, but comment on other peoples blogs to be sarcastic, witty, snarky, whatever are the scourge of the blogging world. They don’t care about the post, about the research and work that went into it, or how valid the points are. They care about cutting it and each other to shreds.

    I posted on this last week on my site. The one thing I’d say about people who write their own blog is they care about making a difference, speaking their mind, and having a clear conscience for not standing idly by while the things they care about go uncommented on. I have the lowest possible respect for people that then come to your site to try to diminish the value of your work.


             
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  5. Ditto Says :

    This blogging thing keeps us Straights (folks that refuse to bow to the evil idiocy that is this WH) from being overrun completely by the well-liquored, drugged-out wackos of hate that ru(i)n our country. I started blogging after W was elected in ‘04 just to vent via that ultimate American ideal; free speech. That’s right I did not say re-elected…

    A friend let me know this morning, BIO got the Colbert treatment on OTTMANN’s site. (I will not provide a link to any McVeighish site.) Scarey thing is, he’s serious! He says BIO banned him. Tell me it ain’t true! Was he threatening others too? Discussion can be heated, it should be passionate (we ain’t talkin’ ‘ bout recipes for apple pie here…) but when emotions get out of check and people get desperate and are left with nothing beyond personal threats… perhaps the right to spread poisoned vitriol should be kept in check somehow…

    I ‘brought it’ to his site for over a year. I provided credible links to substantiate my positions and he ignored exposure to the Truth. He would not / could not engage in actual debate. OTTMANN finally banned me and several other friends who enjoyed his own special brand of lunacy (it was a hoot!). He couldn’t take any, ANY dissent. He needs a controlled, receptive audience that would agree with everything he said… just like Dick Bush & Co. and their public events. Unlike his dark gods, who “use” the military for staged events and are thus obligated to create the illusion of appreciation of our brave soldiers, OTTMANN has never, not ONCE given a nod of thanks to American military… Not even on the 2 Veterans Days and 1 Memorial Day I visited his site. He must hate the military and just can’t say it. Maybe the idea causes him much internal confusion, you know, because in the military men shower with other men…

    He’s a lost soul, angry deranged and paranoid. He called me (and friends) a communist, a faggot, a liberal, a Democrat, PeterZ(?), a liberal, a traitor, a loser, a liberal, a Democrat, a Moderate (worse than a Democrat even, he said), treasonous, a liberal, a socialist, a pedophile, a murderer, a terrorist, a liberal, a memeber of al Qeada, a member of MoveOn.org, a liberal, a communist, a satanist, Larry, a Clinton cock sucker, a liberal… and a thousand other names when he lacked any ammo or couldn’t account for the actions of this WH. Guess what… OTTMANN was wrong on every count except I might be considered ‘moderate’. Sticks and stones may break my bones but OTTMANN’s bullets will surely kill me…

    Forgive him, Jesus,… and BIO, for he knows not. The proof is in his rants! 


             
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  6. Neal Says :

    Good points.  What is success in blogging?  I’m sure different bloggers would define success in different ways.  That said, I think one of the most basic measures of success is traffic.  Everybody wants to have a bigger audience.  How such success is acheived may not be appealing to everyone (i.e. whoring out your blog for product placement), but it still is success by certain measures.

    I would measure success as creating a blog that had insightful content that reached a wide audience.  The latter measure is easy, and the former is more difficult.  However, I think as you wrote in this post, you critiqued the top blogs most on content, which is my first measure.  By that measure, you would not call these “top blogs” successful.  You’re just painting the rest of the picture in accordance with your own values.  Traffic alone does not a good blog make.  Point taken.


             
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  7. Jersey McJones Says :

    Fascinating.  I wonder where all this is going… 


             
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  8. Chris In Idaho Says :

    Very nice post on Blogging Pia!


             
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  9. fruey (Let's Have It) Says :

    I think that people who don’t have a blog or one they rarely update or don’t put work into, but comment on other peoples blogs to be sarcastic, witty, snarky, whatever are the scourge of the blogging world.

     Somebody else already said it, but you’re right. Most valuable comments on my blog come from fellow bloggers. The best comment I ever got came from a Google hit.

    I would argue that SEO does come into blogging too. If you have a special topic that you treat in your blog that’s a bit niche, you’ll start getting hits from Google which outweigh the hits you get from blogrolls and inbound links. So a blog can be successful in a niche without having much inbound link popularity at all, if the content is good.

    Of course, when you try to put a financial earning on blogs, you only have to see that I have no advertising at all to understand that blogging actually costs me money.

    -Fruey


             
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  10. Pia Savage Says :

    Thank you all!  I did this post because I so believe that politics, and media are totally interconnected

    Don’t even trust “big blogs” to be watch dogs–I trust us at BIO

    Again I speak for myself


             
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  11. Steve O Says :

    Fruey, you ain’t kidding!!! It’s costs a small hobby investment to get yourself heard but I think it is worht it since soooo many people try to shut you out and shut you down (not you personally).

    It’s tough but I think you make real friends across distant borders this way. And Pia points this out.

    Being a political blog that we are here at BIO I would say that the government does not like this at all. Instead of people gathering locally at a townhall meeting to connect (which is hard and time consuming) to  stimulate dissent you can do it virtually and almost instantaneous through the blog world.

    Right or left we need to stick together on this one because if this right is restricted or banned we are doomed! 


             
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  12. Steve O Says :

    Ditto,

    Ottmann has been banned and he did not threaten anyone personally. Some are happy about it, I for one am not but it was a group decision.

    I’m not happy because for one thing it was the right thing to do. Sounds weird right? But on the other hand we refuse to let one bad apple spoil the bunch. We love dissent here at BIO for fuck sake all of us dissent all the time but I feel like we lost a battle not because we could not bring Ottmann to the other side but because we could not teach Ottman to dissent rationally. Again, sounds weird but I very sad for the loss of Ottmann because it is one less voice to be heard here. Again sounds weird but that’s how I feel.

    It’s a damn shame to throw away a perfectly good white boy like that! 


             
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  13. windspike Says :

    Two thoughts after reading your post Pia - 1 - nice post. 2- I got to thinking about your Q list status.  If you’re Q, my blog has to be a tripple Z list.  I am working very hard at becoming a bottom ranked blog in the BE battle of the blogs for two reasons.  One, it’s a way to get traffic to your location (on which I don’t have advertising by the way, but given your numbers, maybe I should start) and two, becuase when they look at top ranked blogs, eventually the world is going to be interested in the bottom ranked blogs.  Not very much unlike William Huang (sp? of American Idol Infamy).  Some day I may be famous for being at the bottom.  Ah, dare to dream.

    Personally, I avoid KOS becuase its too hard to get a word in edgewise.  Too many hits makes it altogether difficult to have any kind of affect.  This is why I love the format at BIO - the diary allows me to be on the front page even though I may not be on a main/general post.  With KOS all the threaded conversations are too difficult to sift through - not unlike the NSA trying to gather “intelligence” on their warrant-less wiretapping system.  How many soccer moms do you have to intercept their conversations about planning to bring the kids to pizza before you find out the delivery truck is laced with weaponized plutonium? 

    Anyway, I am reminded of that old Warhol saying - everybody has their 15 minutes.  This of course has been modified by the blogisphere - and I am not sure who rephrased it first - but here it goes:  Bloggers may not get their 15 minutes, but may be famous to 15 people.  Again, dare to dream. 

    Blog on sister. Blog on all. 


             
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  14. Pia Savage Says :

    Thanks Windspike–you hit exactly what I was trying to say.  It’s too easy to loose coments in threads on the “large blogs”

    I hope that BIO can be a place where everybody can feel free to participate

    Unfortunately the decision to ban Ottmann did play a part in this post.  While I too would rather everybody has a say there are limits

    I have been snarked too and I have snarked.  Sometimes it’s fun; if the person is intelligent and willing to discuss not just be nastier than hell


             
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  15. Steve O Says :

    Bloggers may not get their 15 minutes, but may be famous to 15 people.  Again, dare to dream.

    Windspike,

    I think you just made everyone here feel like they won a grammy, I mean everyone!!!!!!

    Excellent!!!!!

    I fucking love it, sums up the whole blog experience. And oh, fuck Kos and his “blog” he is not grass roots and he has moved on. I hate when fuckers forget where they came from.

    Anybody reading this remember that Kos makes about $40,000 a week on his ads. Go look at the prices and the amount of ads he runs. And after you do I feel sorry for the fucker that paid the subscription price of $100.00 to get rid of them. He don’t give a flying fuck about dissent anymore, he’s rich! 


             
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  16. Ditto Says :

    Steve O

    Thanks for the comments - I for one appreciate such candor in this day and age. Rational thought and reasonable discourse finally did not seem to be within his ability. That is no ones fault but his own. I know for a fact that other blogs have had to ban him too so I imagine he’ll survive with the well-developed blog-ban calluoses and all… Funny that his rant says nothing about him banning other people from his site - which is the TRUTH!. The sad truth. BTW: I remember hearing that great line - perfectly good white boy - but I can’t remember what movie it was… ? 

    windspike

    “Bloggers may not get their 15 minutes, but may be famous to 15 people.” That is great! Love it! And I agree about Dailykos. There maybe some ideal number of commentors on any blog, and when there are too many the value of each voice becomes diminished. Same with the Huffington Post; good readin’ but I seldom comment - it’s pointless. Kinda like political parties, eh? It is my hope that this blogging format, if left to grow on it’s own accord, could evolve (that’s right I said evolve) into a new powerful medium, a collective consciousness, that becomes an essential part of the political process, that allows citizens to engage more directly with their elected officials and vice versa. Poli-blogs are fairly new and they’re still novel, but someday a free bloggoshere may be the only thing to keep our politicians in check and us out of perpetual servitude to the multi-national corporations that really run the planet.

    Keep on bloggin! And thanks, Pia, great post!


             
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  17. Steve O Says :

    Ditto,

    Better Off Dead. I love quoting movie lines when they fit! :-)

    Not sure if anyone would pick up on that. “I want my $2.00″
     


             
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  18. windspike Says :

    Pia, I kind of thought the o-mann decision was a small driver for your post, but in the end, when you run a blog, it’s your blog.  Moxie Grrl pointed this out to me when I was getting razzed by the Garden Gnome other wise known as the News Gnome or whatever name s/he went by.  

    Mox said to me “every so often, I like to delete their comments just to piss em off. It’s my blog and I get to decide.” 

     Certainly, there is a level of discourse that can be maintained.   The O-mann crossed the line several times as judged by the owners of this blog.  Certainly, he pushed my buttons a  number of times, but his lament of killing free speech misses the point.  There is a big difference between a blogger sullies the discourse by fanning the flames with vitriol and words of hate and a blogger who tests your arguments with solid logic and facts that are cited with links.

     

    One is more like one of Roves Reichwing Fairies.  The latter is worth paying attention too - and in fact, some one with a viable argument against your stance may change our minds.  Certainly, we all need resistance.  Like gravity, you can’t stand with out it.
     


             
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  19. Liberal Army Wife Says :

    As a neophyte to blogging, may I say a couple of things (well, you can try to shut me up, but as my husband told his Sgt Major when he asked if husband could shut me up, “go ahead and try, but duck when you do!)  1.  Whilst I usually enjoy hearing other points of view, even tos and Kevin, Ottman was scaring me.  His vitriol and personal attacks were so violent, I was starting to not post responses, as I don’t want that launched against me!  So thank you for restricting his access.  2.  I have only had my own wee blog for a couple of months.  I started because I wanted others to know that a Liberal Army Wife is NOT an oxymoron (yeah yeah… ok, chuckle… done?) A few of you have come over and been nice enough to comment on my posts.  It’s usually personal stuff, a little politics.  Now when I figure out how to put links in.. I’ll link to you guys… hey, it’s a learning experience.   3.  You guys write so damned well, I am awed and a bit intimidated.  But I will continue to work at my blogging…

    Thanks for being here!  ~LAW~


             
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  20. Pia Savage Says :

    LAW–it’s you I am in awe of and have been for some time.  As somebody who has lived to tell about the comment wars I totally appreciate where you’re coming from, and despise violent and gratitous comments.  took me four months to figure out how to put in links–and uh, that was after the two months I had no idea what they were, so….

    Ditto–thanks for the compliment, and again I totally agree with your comment

    Windspike–you just keep on getting better; once again thanks–and the famous to fifteen people comment will live on, and love the Rove Reichwing fairies but I hate Rove with a total passion

    SteveO–feel like I should say something to you but have no idea what other than to point out that I threw Judith Regan, agent who makes movies, for several reasons–one because she was Bernark Kerik’s lover.  Media/politics it’s all one big game


             
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  21. PhiloTBG Says :

    This is the first I’d heard about Ottman getting banned. I’ve been so damned busy with the Google protests the last three days, I haven’t been able to spend much time (political) blogging. Censorship is obviously something I abhor, but I can understand why Ottman was banned.

    I think every comment I made in response to his diaries or his comments was along the lines of “Ottman can we have a link supporting that?” He refused to document his claims, as any respectable blogger does. If you’re not linking, all you’re doing is hurling insults and accusations from the seat of your pants. That might work for talk show hosts and AM band chickenhawks, but bloggers of any ideology should strive to be better than that. I couldn’t stand his intolerance for the simple weight of logic and found him personally offensive in his discourse, but it was his inability to even attempt to blog that got under my skin. If you’re on a blog and you refuse to actually do some higher-order blogging, you’re no better than a drunk in a bar looking for a fight. (Which isn’t to say getting drunk and picking fights is a bad thing — I’ve done some of that — but I wouldn’t confuse it with blogging).

     I would have been really happy if Ottman had listened to us and provided evidence for his claims. I never thought I could make him a liberal, but I’d hoped I could make him a blogger.


             
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  22. the stuffed tiger Says :

    sigh. No one made me feel more right than OTTMAN…


             
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  23. PhiloTBG Says :

    Oh one more thing vis a vis the “censorship” of Ottman — I realize that censorship can only occur where speech is made. Ottman, on the other hand, was a real subscriber to the Tazmanian Devil method of political (cough) discourse blather.


             
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  24. Pia alread knows I like this post, so I won’t go into that here. I do want to address he whose name begins with an O.

    Yes, he was told we no longer wished his participation.  We did not arrive at that conclusion easily, but we arrived at it correctly. This is not a free speech issue. No one has ever suggested Mr. O does not have every right to talk about whatever he wants. We firmly believe in his right to have any political idea and conversation he desires. We also believe in our rights to protect our private property.

    We are a liberal blog. Period. We have a grand experiment in tryin gto provide space for people who do not share our view to participate in the discussion (like Steve and John Rogers, people I actually enjoy reading - yeah even you Steve) - but we are NOT interested in providing a non partisan, equal time blog. It is not our mission nor our desire. We want the idiots ruining this country out of power.

    Given that that is our reason for existence, we only have a limited tolerance for the type of writing displayed by said poster. It did not add to the site. It was the perfect blend of a hard head and soft mind. There was no value, in our minds, to continuing to allow such bitter, derisive and NONSUBSTANTIATED posts and comments. It was detracting from our site, our readership and frankly people were complaining.

    We take your complaints very seriously. We want to be your community. We are evaluating a number of things to correct these types of issues in the future. In a perferct world we could all be adults and reach some sort of understanding and move the country forward.

    It’s not a perfect world.  


             
    Comment score: 5.0
  25. And folks just to restate, it wasn’t ‘censorship.’ It’s editorial control. You can’t say whatever you want in the New York Times or on Fox News. You have no rights to walk in and start talking on the radio. Using the word censorship is misleading. We support peoples right to free thought.

    But when we are paying for it, well, we have some say in the matter.
     


             
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  26. windspike Says :

    Hey, I’m with you Pia - LAW rocks the house.  Btw, how do I get one of those snazzy pictures instead of a question mark next to my comment?  Love the cranksters one.

    Blog on all. 


             
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  27. jacob Says :

    I only started blogging to be able to comment on blogs at blogspot. I think I told you this before. First a political blog called political notio then a blog by cooper because he has her as a a link, and I was impressed, and on from there…to you pia..you do find gems out there. I started one myself because I figured why not. I don’t expect to make money off it and do not do it as seriously as many.

     

    Most of those blogs are studies in marketing and like ebay they figured it out first and are now making money; If I was doing it for money I would certainly do it differently. I don’t know about lists as the only list that matters to me is the one I read.

     

    I did get an overdose of Ralph Lauren when I went to your link.


             
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  28. Liberal Army Wife Says :

    damn… my head is swelling.  Guys, I’ve only been here a little while!  But thank you, I appreciate the compliments!    I have to tell you that I was nervous about (and am still somewhat nervous about) blogging, due to concerns with my husband’s career.  But then when I discussed it with him, he said one of the things he was out there protecting was my right to free speech.  I remember being told by a Sgt Major (who was one of the best human beings I have ever known) that the army is NOT  a democracy, it just protects it.   So with fear and trepidation, I stuck my toe in the blogosphere.  So far, so good!


             
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  29. ken grandlund Says :

    Okay- so I’m coming in a little late here-but here’s my two cents-

    1- Great Post Pia, and I think the message is not that we, as bloggers, seek to hit the “A” list so much as to make our own thoughts known, to ourselves and others. My experiment with blogging began as an attempt to define my own political values and ideas in a country where the government had spun out of control (still spinning too.) If I could first define myself, I could share those thoughts with others and hopefully convice others to see things in a new light. Maybe not in my light, but a new light all the same. I was enthralled with the first comments I got, and then they  came in more and more often. I joined some exchanges, like BE,a nd even paid for traffic once I realized people actually liked what I had to say. It has been a pivotal time in my life, and I know that there is no going back, only forward. Now my site gets on average 250-350 hits a day and it feels good to know that somewhere, I am getting people to think. A week ago, one of my posts was picked up by Buzzflash, getting me over 1400 hits that day. Talk about a good feeling. But in truth, I could drop back down to 50 hits and still get the same good feeling knowing that my thoughts are moving out of my head, being digested by others, and maybe, hopefully, making a difference.

    2- The “O” thing…Surprisingly, Ottman was one of the earlier commenters on my personal blog and came around for several months. He was often civil, if not full of the rhetoric we experienced here. It seems he’s actually gotten more vitriolic as time passes. But it was his constant ranting about the evils of homosexuality and his need to put his god into everything that made me dread his comments. Well, that, and the fact that he always insisted that I hated America and was somehow some kind of pond scum. Eventually though, HE BANNED HIMSELF from my site. The secret was me comparing him to an old relative that no one really likes, off sitting in a corner at family gatherings, grumbling to himself. I think I must have hit the nail on the head, because he vowed never to return and hasn’t. Sadly, I think that vision may have been too real, and that his only, final outlet was as the anonymous hater. I won’t really miss him as much as I pity his misanthropic existence.

    And Windspike, I love your “famous to 15 people” line. In a world so “hero” driven by false heros, this is perhaps the best thing one could hope for. I may never be famous, but if I can sleep each night knowing that I helped someone else, unknown, to think a little bit about where we are going and whether that place is where they want to go, that’s famous enough for me.


             
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  30. Ditto Says :

    LAW: As I said before I too come from a military family and am always concerned about what should and shouldn’t be said in that regard. I’ve spoken about our experiences in general many times but never communicated any operational info. My daughter’s MOS is particular interest of this “GWAT”. She specializes in the decontamination of soldiers and equipment exposed to WMD - this is public info, we (she and me and her Mom) have been interviewed by our local paper a few times when W’s Iraq War started so I only repeat what she says they’re cleared to talk about - which ain’t much! And there are things that we are aware of that would likely be shocking to the BIO crew but it’s under my hat. (Sorry to tease with only the taste but…) I am never specific with any names or locations. Like the war or not, I take great care to never say too much for the safety of all the troops. We’ll leave the ‘TMI’ talk to Faux New’s Rivera.

    Another good question, windspike. I’d like my nom de plume to be associated with a pleasant ‘lil icon too… if permitted for BIO newbies, of course.


             
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  31. Liberal Jarhead Says :

    Wow, I feel like Rip Van Winkle - get busy with other things for a couple of days and all kinds of stuff happens.

    Pia, what you do is practice a high form of good citizenship - same for LAW, GTL, Windspike, TCB, and the rest.  Thank you.  Since I found BIO I feel less lonely and better informed.  To try to rate this based on number of hits, or income, or whatever, is like the scene in Great Expectations where the rich guy asked the artist he was commissioning to do some paintings whether he charged by the hour or the square foot.

    As for Ottman, I wondered why I hadn’t seen any of his comments lately.  It is too bad that he wasn’t able to grasp the idea that this is about ideas, not hate.  He’s symptomatic of the incapacity for critical thinking that’s getting way too normal in America today.  I haven’t seen his site, and if it’s McVeighish I’d rather skip it.  Don’t know how old he is - maybe if he seasons with age he’ll be less miserable and more able to deal with people.  He got under my skin several times, and a couple of those times I kind of unloaded on him in return - wish I hadn’t.  It wasn’t the fact that we disagreed - Steve’s pretty conservative and I disagree with a lot of what he writes, but I respect his thought processes and his civility, and if I find myself headed to Sacramento again any time soon I’ll probably try to arrange to meet him for a cup of coffee or something.  But it gets old when all a person can do is call me names, tell me what I think, believe, feel, and want, and accuse me of whatever he considers disgusting.  If I want to listen to that, I’ll pick an argument with my 4-year-old grandson.

    Anyway, thanks again to everyone for being out here, for being welcoming and thoughtful, and for being so passionate about things that really matter.


             
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  32. PhiloTBG Says :

    Yeah Cranky I don’t in any way see him getting banned as censorship and I totally believe you’re within your right to ban someone from your site. Me saying “I abhor censorship but understand why Ottman was banned” was unclear. I don’t think this is censorship. The amount of time and energy 90% of the contributors, diarists, and commenters put into dealing with his unsubstantiated (good word choice CL), unresearched, unreferenced comments and posts is simply too much. While it’s nice to feel profoundly right, there’s a lot of time I’d love to have back from asking him to put a freaking link in just one of his posts.

    Shorter Philo: Please don’t ban me I’m with you guys


             
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  33. Pia Savage Says :

    Yes Ditto we would love to know, but respect the safety of every person in the military too much:-)

    This is turning into a thread about banning Ottmann and that’s sad for several reasons.  By talking about somebody we all know to be inflammatory and offensive so miuch we are giving him more power than he had

    My post began as my reaction to New York Magazines articles where they gave the blogging power to large money making blogs whether they be political, product placement, celebrity, or personal.

    I strongly disagree with that as I have lost money blogging but gained much else.  Then I thought about the comments on the Daily Kos, Blog Critics and other large blogs and how purposely out of control the editors of those blogs allow it to be

    I was totally blindsided, by BC and I wasn’t a novice.  Would have hated even more to “run” that thread had I been less used to comment abuse.  So while Ottman was a great example he wasn’t the main course

    One of the many problems with large blogs, as I see it, and I did state that I took full responsiblity for its content, is that obnoxious horrible comments sell, and large blogs seem to be about making money than blogging itself.


             
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  34. Liberal Vet Says :

    Now I won’t be able to call anyone Ossama bin O anymore. Oh well sometimes I think I’m next. I don’t back up my opinions either. In case you are wondering why I feel like I may be banned it is because someone {I think I know who} believed I insulted his mental condition yesterday. I received an E-mail which said they agreed with me and described said person as a baby. I know I get carried away, but certain times I get angry. Cetain right wingers I can talk with, like TOS, seems ok to me, never agree with her, but that’s part of the fun. I love comming here and hope I can continue to do so. Sometimes I liked the old blog with way fewer people, this one sort of intimidates me, and I get defensive. If those who run the site believe I have broken rules let me know and I will change. Fondly to all, LV


             
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  35. Jet Says :

    Terrific post, Pia. I think the best part of it is that you gave us each a little gift. Writers write for other writers. That’s the real buzz. Readers pay the rent, perhaps, (or not, if your blog is small) but the first comment from somebody on your blog of whom you think, “Wow. That person can WRITE, and they like ME”, that’s the elixer that keeps us coming back, agonizing over verbs, cutting, cutting, cutting.

    When I feel like  reading a writer, I go to Courting.


             
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  36. steve Says :

    Hey, you talking about me?  Huh?  What’s the problem?  :)

    To Pia,

    Excellent post as usual.  I started my blog to vent.  I am in a stressful sales job.  I have used the experience of blogging on my site and well this one for that matter is to argue a point, stay on task and basically sell it which has helped me at work.   But I think I sell being a conservative well.  I think I sell being myself well.  If I were as wealthy as Huffington or some other rich person, I’d still hide as Steve’s Blog.  It’s my creativity at work.  If I threw money behind it, I’d just be some rich prick trying to sell myself.  Where is the fun in that.

    Cranky and Jarhead,

    Flattery will get you nowhere!  You all are still wrong.  :)

    When Cranky says “get these idiots out of power”, I at least, understand you mean BOTH sides in power and not just Republicans. I come here for the discussion and I am smarter for doing so.  I am not going to belittle you guys for being liberals, I am just gonna ask you to seek help, soon, PLEASE!!

    Meeting for coffee is fine but I’d much prefer Guiness.  Sacramento has an awesome pub crawl in Midtown.  We probably have one of the better live music scenes around as well.  We spawned Cake, the Deftones and Jackpot.  (also Tesla but they’re a hair band)  Sacramento is a great place to live even with neighbors like Mr. Pearcy who hang shit off of their houses and won’t let you comment on their blogs.  I guess he is the one that represents what I can’t stand about liberalism.


             
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  37. 4Truth Says :

    There is a “report as offensive” button there for a reason.

    If someone is that BAD & OFFENSIVE and will not follow

    1 SIMPLE RULE - DO NOT BE OFFENSIVE.

    They do not belong in a discussion with civil minded people who may not agree but still have respect for the other point of view EXCEPT when you are OFFENSIVE.  The O man shows DISRESPECT and no group would want that.

    BIO is a TOWN MEETING. When I have some time I can join the meeting.

    Do not forget that what STARTED the USA was the TOWN MEETINGS. All the people wound discuss the towns events just like BIO.


             
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  38. cooper Says :

    I admit to knowing nothing about A lists or Q lists or technorati or tags even. I was never clear what good they did exactly. I finally learned how to ping my blog and never figured out how to even buy shares of my own blog on blog shares.

    I think: to each his own. I do think Kos and the like have some good stuff but mostly now they are places where everyone comes and reiterates the opinions of others or news of day. It’s nice to be pointed to links I might not have seen otherwise though.

    Blog Critics…man all those Amazon requirements turned me off; best to stay in my own little world.

    Post Secrets…now full of fake postcards. Too Bad.

    I love blogging because I discovered people out there writing stuff that I thought was wonderful not just in a political forum either. Never would I have gotten to read them had it not been for blogs. I am sure blogging will evolve, it has a long way to go and will splinter off into people who blog for money and people who don’t. I never really gave a thought to that NTY thing.

    You are my A list blogger anyway.

    The worst thing about blogging…coming upon a blog in blog explosion that was by a women in the town I lived in through high school…a sex toy blog which when you followed the link led you to a site listing women from my old town who were looking for “ dirty nasty fun”. Couldn’t stop myself from looking through it just in case someone’s mother or an old high school friend were posted. It was disconcerting to say the least.


             
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  39. Pia Savage Says :

    LV, you know you’re more than welcome here..  Jet, thank you. i am beyond flattered.

    Steve, that was wonderful. Thanks  Think we have both taught each other tolerance.  That is rare.

    4truth–this is a blogosphere version of a town meeting.  Thanks for those words.

    Cooper your comment was an incredible post.  You’re top of the “A” list always.  thought the same of post secrets but wanted to feel it was pure

    Know that political blog comment threads are supposed to be more challenging, or challenging.  But sometimes it’s great to look at the good sides of each other.


             
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  40. barb Says :

    whew! talk about not getting a word in edgewise!  I usually don’t comment if there’s more than a handful of responders but I do have to say this was a great post (I actually read it all the way to the end and how many readers of A-list blogs read to the end) and also wanted to say Republic of T. has a coupla reactons to this too that you might appreciate. Y’all both really educated me on the hierarchies of the blog world.  thanks!


             
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  41. shayna Says :

    Excellent post dear pia!  As always!  :)


             
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  42. The Heretik Says :

    I am going to check this things called blogs out.


             
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  43. Steve O Says :

    “Hi, My name is Steve and I am a recovering blogger, I have not snarked anything in 15 days”

    Are you all finished talking? I’d like to get this meeting started before I fall off the wagon!


             
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  44. The Fat Lady Sings Says :

    Beautifully and eloquently put, my dear.  I too believe that blogging is in its infancy.  Unfortunately, there are people trying to stratify it (and by doing so strangle it to death).  They seem to want to model it after the current political system, or simplistic Gilded Age economic distinctions.  The writers at Kos are famous for this.  I find that to be linear thinking.  It limits who we are, and what we can achieve.  I love blogging in all its messy glory, and I really appreciate the opportunity to practice my writing to an audience.  I only recently shifted from performing artist to writer - so I am feeling my way gradually.  When you talk about rankings or ‘Q’ ratings – though I know whereof you speak – working within that rarified atmosphere seems quite removed from my current reality.  Also – I must say I find the technical end quite daunting.  Though I know about Technorati and Blog Explosion – I don’t seem to be able to use them to their fullest extent.  I am in awe of people like you who move so comfortably between both the technical and the creative side.  It amazes me.  You were one of the very first bloggers to respond to me, you know - you and Gypsy, Dark Wraith and OWL.  You made me feel welcome, Pia - and I have learned so much from reading your work.   Also like you, I write separately from my blog – and I hope to make use of what ability I have to carve out a small niche for myself; to make a living at this magnificent and ephemeral thing called writing.  Blogging makes me a better writer, though I do not blog all of what I write, if that makes sense.

    And I wanted to say I really like what BIO has evolved into.  The posts here are uniformly intelligent, articulate and urbane.  Anyone participating really has to brush up their toes and get cracking if they want to keep up.  Definitely stimulating.  Thank you for always being so receptive.  Bravo to you all!


             
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  45. Doug Says :

    Interesting post, Pia. And it’s not surprising that the magazine decided blogging was about circulation and revenue. *Yawn* I love Windspike’s comment about famous to 15 people. It’s too democratic for blogging to be about anything globally, but I’ll run with Windspike’s explanation.


             
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  46. The Rambling Taoist Says :

    To quote my own blog entry, Why Blog?

    Numbers aren’t tangible things; they’re symbols. While they can certainly quantify the number of people who visit a blog or the number page views per day, week or month, they can’t reflect the impact any particular blog has on one or more of those visitors.

    A million people could visit your blog today, yet none of them may be moved to think deeply about your chosen topic. On the other hand, only 20 people may visit your blog today and several of them may be moved to contemplate deeply your thoughts and analyses.

    The big question each blogger needs to ask her/himself is: Why do I blog? 


             
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  47. Miz BoheMia Says :

    Excellent post Pia, but when are your posts not?  I agree with Miss Alice Cooper, you are our A-list blogger…

    I think you said it all in your post!  I have nothing to add.  I can understand using the revenue and whatnot for business blogs but cannot see them fitting into the writer’s blog and to rank blogs based on revenue?  Ludicrous!

    I had no idea about the run-ins with Mr. O… I had only read some comments he made on the situation in Iran and he had been right about those…

    Sorry I made it late to the party… having computer problems and a whiny kid on me as I type! 

    Beautiful post Pia!


             
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  48. Mr Angry Says :

    What an excellent article, especially for someone like me, a new blogger, with literally two weeks experience in the blog world.  As someone who started their blog for ‘fun’, and a way of unwinding from a stressful job, I was intrigued to hear a bit more about the evolution of, and motivation for blogging, and especially the views of the many experienced bloggers above.

    One thing I would say, is that to someone who doesn’t blog, it’s extremely hard to describe the feeling of having your first comment or email, in which someone has had a genuine reaction to something that “came off the top of your head”.

    I may be just two weeks in, but I imagine I’ll be here for a lifetime, and this will be a regular stop along the way.

    Keep up the great work!

     


             
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  49. cat Says :

    If you’re a “Q List” blogger, what does that make me? A “Negative Z Lister”?


             
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  50. Let’s have it ! - A Blog by an Englishman in France » Blog Archive » Blogging for Cash? Says :

    […] Perhaps, in some ways, blogs are reclaiming the territory that alt.sex, alt.drugs and alt.rock-n-roll once held. Media companies don’t always get it though. In this post over at Bring it On!, Pia rants about how recent media articles try to place a value on blogs, hinting that we’re not all here to make money from writing - or indeed to achieve any kind of financial reward. The media still gets very excited about blogging and how it’s the thing to do, even without any concrete revenue streams predictable except for advertising revenue (that holy grail that was going to make us all website owners millionaires online at one time). How can a form that’s so young have a hierarchy based solely on incoming links and advertising revenues? No two blogs are exactly alike; people have different purposes and goals. […]


             
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