« New Year, arriving | Main | Concert Fiend »

January 01, 2005

Loitering with intent to blog

Okay, Day 1, new year, different host, and no archives from my last site (yet) to show I didn’t just walk in and set up from nothing. Ten days shy of my tenth month doing this thing, and I suppose like most bloggers I should be putting up the big act about how I really don’t have to do this, I just fell into it.

And bloggers know that’s a damn lie. It's closer to Molière's observation about prostitution: "First you do it for the love of it. Then you do it for a few friends. Finally you do it for the money."

Closer to it, but that third part needs a little work. Let’s come real closer and try, do it for any money. I suspect maybe 90% of all bloggers are very lucky to attract any advertisers, their first few months. And if you ask them, are you making enough to cover bandwidth costs, things start sounding like Friday Night Date stories in the boys’ locker room. Sex may get you read, sure, but the ad-hits pay for your hosting.

Which leads me to a story from my Arkansas friend, who assures me you will not be reading this from any public computer in the Hot Springs County Library. According to their filtration system, this is both a “hate site” and also has “adult content.” Must have been the time I had a headline which read "Kitty Porn," referring to a photographic site about cats. The hate-site thing is the one that’s got me wondering. Do they take conservatives that seriously, down in places so godawful they thought Bubba Dropdrawers was gubernatorial material? I mean, when does Jim Guy Tucker look any worse than Monica’s supper date with the bad aim? And just because I mentioned Mary Matalin ought to marry within her species, that doesn’t mean much, does it, unless you’re an inbred drooler from Ark-armpit. Hey, be proud you’re so organized that the same place you can find a date will also innoculate for heartworm.

There’s another way to look at library filtration systems, and that is they’re saving the little punks a withering smack-down for even bothering the grown-ups by wandering in, to begin with. I had a few of these dumbasses at my last hideout, and they were just too appallingly ignorant to even have real sport with. It simply wasn’t worth the effort, rewriting their posts and questioning their future departure from puberty. I’m much too adult for that. But anyway, Hot Springs, I think you’re an adult-content hate-site too, so nyaaaah. Or maybe I mistake you for that other festering swamp, where Marc Rich’s bribes money helped build Bubba’s Massage Parlor and Sex Toys Palace, infesting that whole riverbank. Better county libraries, I have no doubt: four Marvel Comics.

Back to blog-envy.

Of course there are a few bloggers making decent money from this gig. A few are highly respected, serious writers whose stuff is greatly admired and widely linked-to. And dang, if you look hard enough among that crew, you may even find a few who can actually write, not just plagiarize with panache.

22. The great thing about blogging is plagiarising is encouraged. That's why so many academics blog. The only trick is plagiarising needs to be accompanied by links back to the original...because links are the lifeblood of a blogger. So go ahead and steal.

The trouble with that one is, I was never that big on “scholarship,” where creative intellectual theft earns people doctorates or other stuff they can’t use at McDonald’s. I crawled out of the bogs of journalism, where attribution lays off the blame, diffuses the acrimony, and even shows how hard you dug for what little you actually say. This was all before the internet, and I contend that if Sherlock Holmes would’ve had a Pentium 4 and a cable hook-up, he’d rule the entire planet.

14. There are some good ways to attract attention to yourself and your blog. These can be broken down into the following: a) talk about your sexual experiences a lot. This works far better for women than men. b) have something interesting and new to say. This works far better for those that understand the basics of English grammar. c) quirky slice-of-life types who are actually quirky. This works far better for those that are interesting people in real life. d) humour sites. This works far better for those that are funny. e) niche sites. There may well be a strong readership for those interested in mountain goats. It helps if you talk about stuff you know about. f) be an iconoclast. If you are controversial you are likely to generate debate and people will come back for another look. The important thing is to be coherent and have a rational body of thought rather than a series of random pronouncements.

Wow, how true, especially #14(a). I’ve heard the same story so many times that you’d almost think she wasn’t talking about me. But being from Michigan means I’m supposed to have stories about sex in cars, or sex involving deer-hunting, sex in ice-fishing shanties, more sex in cars, and more sex involving ice-fishing (or traffic barrels). This is Michigan, not Plato's Retreat. Here we could talk about the No-Tell Motel, where anything you pick up off the sheet is gratis, just don’t forget to get yourself steam-cleaned if you want to go home to your main squeeze. (Steam-cleaning is underrated for apportionment of true pain. Massive doses of antibiotics can’t even get close.)

Controversial? Sure. I can do that. Trouble is, there are bloggers out there who do have audiences, and it ain't no fun at alllllllll dealing with the kind of trolls those sites can generate, given half a bash to send them my way. I mean, who even has met Glenn Reynolds, much less knows for a fact he blends puppies or murders hobos? And in these enlightened days, who are we to be so judgmental to even care?

For God's sake, if you're going to be envious of someone, that’s one thing. Drool and slobber and wish you had his daily number of visitors (and revenue from the advertisers). But don’t just go and hate him for being so popular. I mean, work up to it. Try a little snort or a toke before you get to the skin-popping or even the mainlining, okay? Hate him for being a lawyer. That’s something he can understand. It's like Anna Nicole Smith faking a honeymoon orgasm. It’s expected.

But I will never write about mountain goats. I’d sooner blog about other disgusting things, like liberals and other societal cancers. I’ll write about music, too. Jazz and New Age and some vintage rock, easy on the bubble-gum. But goats — no. Some of my best dates would think I was writing about them. Or Molly Ivins.

4. Prepare for the reality that the rest of the world may not share your high opinion of yourself and your site.

No problem. I had that down pat long before I ever heard of blogs. Like this one, from whence came these quotes.

Research, to be sure.

Posted by Weaselteeth at January 1, 2005 03:38 AM


Enjoyed the article, good to see you back writing.

Posted by: Mixed Humor at January 2, 2005 05:56 AM

Thanks. Glad to see you back reading!

Posted by: WT at January 2, 2005 01:31 PM