You, who ever you are, do what you want; but if you’re only here to be the next Kottke, or Scoble, or Stone, quit now. You’ll never get to their position aping their behavior or their rules; you’ll just end up miserable because you’re not writing the way you want, and for the joy of the act. Fuck me, too many sheep in this environment. How can your ‘ba-ah-ahh’ be heard when you’re surrounding by people bleating the same thing?

Someone let in the wolves – it’s feeding time.

Of course, you have to take what I write with a grain of salt. Domestic, refined, mined salt. I’m not as popular as Robert Scoble or Biz Stone, so one can assume that their suggestions work, while my ‘long form diatribe’ won’t do you a bit of good if all you want is to be known.

Or as a friend (someone who I actually like and respect as a person, regardless of how many hits he could send me) says: do what you want, anyway, because we’re all just making this stuff up.
Source: Burningbird: This is Wrong on Oh So Many Levels

I haven't been writing a lot here, but things have been percolating in my head. I've gone through phases of wanting this place to be a bit of a techie zine, I've been in a funk, and lately I've been telling myself that I should blog like no one's watching.

Funny thing is, between those thoughts and my recent activity on a project, I've been posting quite a bit more than I have in a long time. If I were to critique recent posts, I'd beat myself up for being either far too nerdy and obscure, or being inane. Yet, oddly enough, I'd gotten comments and emails that demonstrate obvious interest.

But, it's not a thing to manipulate like search engine listings. When I've written something that I expected to get a lot of comments, it didn't at first. When I posted something that I expected to float by without much comment, it got eight right away. I suppose one could carefully monitor and analyze trendy topics in blogs and try to post only things with high buzz factor, but the best thing is just to write like no one's watching and be pleasantly surprised when you do get attention.

The way I perceive this whole blogosphere working, long term, is for bloggers to read some Joseph Campbell and “Follow Your Bliss”. You could serve the whims of “traffic” for awhile, but if it's not following your bliss, you'll get tired of keeping up. But if you hook into your bliss, there's bound to be traffic-a-plenty coming just to watch you do your own funky breakdance on that piece of cardboard you threw down on your domain name.

Maybe I'm a bit too optimistic about noospheric homesteading, but I expect that the pressures of this space will eventually leave only two kinds of bloggers: the ones who get paid enough, and the ones who have to be here because their bliss won't let them do anything else.

(And I expect the economics to slant in favor of bliss.)


Archived Comments

  • The number of comments is probably related to the length of the article -- people don't want to comment on an article they don't finish, and if it's long even if they do finish it they might feel a need to move on to something else instead of spending more time to comment.
  • Ian: That's definitely a good point. I was trying to think of another example without the length, but none came to mind. I had this sort of thing happen plenty of times on LiveJournal, where I post one thing that seemed important, post another thing that seemed a throwaway, and get all the comments on the second. Either way, the point is, don't make the traffic or attention your goal, make the writing your goal and the traffic and attention will come. You might have some success doing it in reverse for awhile, but it just won't be worth it.
  • Ian's comment sounds like an addition to Warnock's Dilemma. The solution is adding paragraph level comments; people can interject wherever. It may just enabling the fisker who should post their retort on their own site and trackback to the original, lengthy piece.
  • George: Heh, I was going to cite Warnock's Dilemma [1], but somewhere along the way while I was not-thinking-while-blogging, I forgot. [1] Original URL seems missing. Found a quote here:
  • Now that's a damn fine post right there. Right on all counts. (and what's wrong with drinking, and whoring?)
  • William: Nothing, but I *did* say "excessive", and besides, people at work or *gasp* at home are bound to find your blog, even if you write under a pseudonym.
  • keep bloggin the way you have, I like it. I really like the coding projects I learn so much from reading your code.