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malaise

There's been quite a few posts around the blogosphere lately about people getting tired of blogging, especially the political/news blogging.

Been there, done that. And now I'm about to give up reading the damn blogs, too.

There seems to be this phase going on where people have forgotten what blogging really is, or have turned it into some kind of Internet vigilantism. Pretty soon they'll be donning capes, giving each other clever nicknames (Hindrocket is already taken, guys!) and emblazoning their blogs with the motto "Somewhere, in some newspaper in some shit town in America, someone got a fact wrong. And we will be there to right the wrongs!"

Hey, that's great, but most superheroes don't spend their entire existence flaunting their status or going on and on and on about that one great collar they had back in 2004. And they don't go out and actively search for people to rescue, and in the process maybe make a heroic stab at saving a little girl from drowning, posing for pictures with the poor girl, signing autographs and smiling for the cameras as they retell their daring deed, and then it turns out she wasn't drowning at all, but just out for a leisurely swim.

If I could stretch the metaphor to include something about pop-up ads on blogs, I would, but I'll just say something like the worst of blogging together with the worst of the Internet, at last!

Sometimes people ask me, how do you become a popular blogger? How do you make a name for yourself and get readers? I'll tell you. Controversy. Raging anger. Venom and spitfire. That's what sells, for the most part. If you aren't a forerunner in the specific area of blogging you want to get into (those guys have it good, they can just be themselves), you have to carve a niche and more likely than not, that niche needs to be carved with a serrated knife coated in lemon juice and salt. Leave some scars and some pain. That will bring them running (yes, I've been there, done that, too. And apologized for it I still haven't been able to wash the stench off my keyboard yet). Also, try to work ass-fucking into your posts. That will also get you a major book deal. And never, ever admit to being wrong about anything. When you're called out on something, just bring out a straw man, light him on fire, and hope that no one notices you're being a giant fucking asshole. Oh, and don't forget to bleat about how damn important you are and how influential you are. Hey, look! Not one single blogger made the Time 100 most influential people list! You mean you're not as important as world leaders and scientists? Ann Coulter made the list and not you? You're going to lose sleep over that, aren't you?

You can also just be a fucking idiot. Really. Write on subjects you apparently have no clue about, make baseless accusations, talk down to your commenters, delete their comments when they don't agree with you, never admit to maybe not knowing all you think you know and then whine about it when someone calls you out on your ignorance. Oh, don't do this on a blog of your own. Hitch your wagon to an already popular blog. Voila! You're Paul from Wizbang and you're a blogging phenomenon, complete with sycophant readers who follow all your guidelines for dealing with opposition.

Also, make sure you talk a lot about slippery slopes and how the world is going to hell in a handbasket and anyone who doesn't agree with you is not only leading the charge into hell, but is the reincarnation of Hitler as well!

Controversy, people. That's where it's at. Be a controversial vigilante.

Before you ask, this is not sour grapes or jealousy. I still get about 9k hits a day. I'm making decent ad money. And I am quite enjoying the blogging that I'm doing the past few months. I'm just sick of what the blogosphere looks like these days.

It reminds me of the days back before there was war blogging, before there was such a plethora of news blogs. There was this sudden phase where bloggers just started throwing rocks at each other. Who was saying what about who, who was being attacked in the comments, lots of he said/she said and a general eruption of bad blood. A lot of people stopped reading blogs or blogging all together at that point. And that's where I'm at now. It's ugly out there. And if there's one thing I learned from being stuffed in the cocoon of Internet politics for too long (most leading up to the election) is that it's never as bad on the outside as it seems in the vacuum of the blog world. It's like a tornado in here.

Which is why I'll stick to reading blogs that don't make me want to bang my head against the wall. I want to read things like Does Your Child Have Porn Face? I want to laugh and smile and not get bogged down in an afternoon debating creationism with someone who has their fingers in their ears all the time.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled blogging about controversial things like best guitar solos and such.

See also, Zombyboy. McGehee and AWS

Update/Paul related: Carnival of the Coward

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Comments

Pearls of wisdom. The reason I enjoy you so much is because...just because. You put the fun back in blogging. For me, it's all about the fun.

I love you. If we both weren't married I'd be courting you.

Man, "porn face" was funny. Thanks for linking to that.

The strange thing about the current dynamic is that people are proud of being assholes, as if they feel confident they're working their way up the ladder of some sort of mysterious jerkocracy: "Congratulations, I dub thee a third-level prick!"

And that's precisely why I'm so proud that I've been able to maintain a content-free blog since '02!

(Of course, that could change if I could ever figure out how to get on Instapundit's blogroll.)

Eric, you're wrong. You have great content. I love your blog because it's not the same old content.

people definitely have ennui/ spring fever, don't they? You can feel it.

Well, if what Allah said is true, this is all one big cock measuring contest, so why not take it literally and try to be the BIGGEST PRICK?

Speaking of being a prick, make sure you're watching ESPN at 2 this afternoon. THE GREATEST COMEBACK IN BASEBALL HISTORY...

Eric, you're wrong. You have great content. I love your blog because it's not the same old content.

Michele, I know you mean well, but, really, I don't need that kind of pressure in my life right now.

"Write on subjects you apparently have no clue about, make baseless accusations, talk down to your commenters, delete their comments when they don't agree with you, never admit to maybe not knowing all you think you know and then whine about it when someone calls you out on your ignorance. Oh, don't do this on a blog of your own. Hitch your wagon to an already popular blog. Voila! You're Paul from Wizbang and you're a blogging phenomenon, complete with sycophant readers who follow all your guidelines for dealing with opposition."

THANK YOU.

I thought me and Andy at World Wide Rants were the only ones that could see this. Paul is really dragging Wizbang down.

I hope you're not talking about Wonkette because I have grown to love looking into those big blue Mary-Kate and Ashley eyes of hers.

The state of blogs today reminds me somewhat of the decay of political chatrooms - I used to frequent one back in the Clinton/Lewinsky days until they became intolerable.

You know, I thought it was just me, or that I was suffering from post-election brain overload. I don't know if I'm bordering on apathy or it's just a form of self-preservation, but I know I have enough stress in my life without inviting more in via blogs. I only read four sites on a daily basis - two blogs, one political forum and FARK. I'll scan the headlines on my Yahoo homepage that I've set up with all the major news sources and read a story if it catches my interest. I don't watch televised news, but I do listen to talk radio in the car and in the kitchen.

I'm glad you've taken the route you have, and I'm sure your blood pressure appreciates it too!

I blame the combination of BlogAds and a lack of major news. People feel compelled to write anything to keep their traffic up and the ads coming but the result's not worth reading. They need to realize there's already a site for people with nothing to say - it's called LiveJournal ;-)

Yeah.

When I started blogging in May 2002, the only blogs I read were the techie blogs, THE OMG I JUST OVERCLOCKED MY LINUX BOX TODAY blogs...political blogging was alright at first but it did get old and yes I do remember the rock throwing. I recall throwing a few your way... glad that's over.

Lemon? Pfeh. I use lime with my serrated, salted knife.

Um... bitch.

Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce on "Crossroads". End of discussion.

Gotta give props to EVH on Eruption, no? Among others.

This is all about my under-skivvies post, isn't it? I apologize, Michele. I'll shoot for less controversial subjects from now on.

P.S. You're absolutely right about all of this!

My daughter had the "porn face" once and I pounced on her like a jaguar - fortunately it was just those two queers Patrick and Spongebob playfully catching jellyfish.

I also agree with the other stuff in your post.

I read a variety of blogs per day...anything from political to sports and always food.

Keeps your perspective of things.

Blogs are being highlighted now just as Cabbage Patch dolls were many moons ago. It's just another "hot" topic to create controversy about. The cyber version of the Jerry Springer Show.

I enjoy your thoughts, rants and the site. Blog away!

I just wanted to say you've given me a lot to think about here. Everything you say makes perfect sense. In fact, I think I've experienced some kind of ephiphanous moment. I see the error of my ways. I'll never call a Democrat a moonbat again. I'll never call Senator Byrd Senator Klegle anymore.

I'm going to stick with what I know. No more obnoxious comments about how biased the New York Times is. No more making fun of Hillary.

I'm cured.

Now, about these child porn faces...

Michele, someone needs to tell that piece of fecal matter that runs INDC Journal that you are specifically talking to HIM, as well.

I am?

2nd Law of Thermodymaics, michele . Blogs, messageboards, political chat rooms, SNL, baseball, rock music, rap music (heck, ALL music), AI, Law & Order, Simpsons, your favorite resturant; Anybody that was there at the beginning of these things will tell you that the fun is gone, they're going to hell, it's just not as good as it used to be. Everybody and everything jumps the shark. We are all winding down into obvlivion.

This bordered on a "back in MY day" post.It's weird to be nostalgic for something that only happened a few years ago.

But then again, with the ending of every eposide of the 1st season of "Lost", I am sad, because I know I'm witnessing television perfection and it can only go downhill from here.

is that porn face page work safe?

OMG - that kid is Opie Taylor! Where is Aunt Bea when you need her?

Feh. The blogosphere has only one useful purpose: it gives me a way to infect the world with bad covers and songs about robots. And is there more to life than that?

I don't think that anything awry in the blogosphere, other than maybe a few of the big-names have gotten tired.

But you still have blogs like Publius Pundit, Regime Change Iran, and a plethora of others who are only interested in bringing out news that no one sees anywhere else.

I think there's still plenty to be said, and an uncountable amount of bloggers saying it.

Someone needs to tell those jerks at Iraq the Model to stop whining about Iraq and go back to talking about the important things in life, such as the Diablo 2 expansion.

Michele, someone needs to tell that piece of fecal matter that runs INDC Journal that you are specifically talking to HIM, as well.

God love the fans!

Yea, Josh. Because that's just what I was talking about.

Not.

Heh. And here I was monitoring the cookie monster hearings just to generate extra traffic:

http://www.arguewithsigns.net/archives/2005/04/09/cookie_monster_cleaning_up_his_act/

Controvery!

C is for Cookie and Cookie is for Fatties.

You can also just be a fucking idiot. Really. Write on subjects you apparently have no clue about, make baseless accusations, talk down to your commenters, delete their comments when they don't agree with you, never admit to maybe not knowing all you think you know and then whine about it when someone calls you out on your ignorance.

You say all that like it's a bad thing.

Excellent post. I'm sick of politics. Maybe we're all just overdosed from the presidential election ... anyway...

I don't know what it takes to be a popular blog, since IndustrialBlog is, by my estimates, 1/600th as popular as Michele's. There are a few keys that I'd like to pass on, all things I haven't done:

To get regular readers, you need to get people into the habits of coming to your site regularly. To do that, you need to give them a reward each time they come, particularly at the beginning.

That reward can be a variety of things ... an insight, a burst of anger, a funny way of looking at things, a joke, a voyeuristic thrill, affirmation of the reader's point of view, a picture of a little deal girl, or all the bile Michele mentions.

Next, you need to give people that reward regularly. If they show up and get it, they'll come back. If they come back and don't get it because you haven't updated or you give uneven rewards, they won't come back. Thus, you need to post consistently, and post on consistent topics. That'll help build up a behavioral pattern.

Next, you need some publicity. To do that, you've got to be able to get links to your posts. I have no idea how to do that. Marketing isn't my thing.

Michele has mastered all the better aspects of blogging. She regularly rewards readers with interesting items that are new but yet on similar topics. She posts regularly. She posts on regular topics. She keeps things fresh. All that drives in lots and lots of readers. FWIW.

What made bloggers so great was they had a day job and blogging was fun for them and for us. When they had something to say, they blogged it otherwise they went on about their lives.

Then for many, success went to their heads. They had a public, so they had to supply a product. It shows they're only human and that internet communications may be taking a turn in a new and entirely different direction. This will probably not be a bad thing and I'll be looking forward to seeing which way it will go.

Meanwhile let's rejoice that the DC police diffused a potential threat without anyone getting hurt. Very brave people working out there protecting us from bad people who want to hurt us. Thanks guys.

"You can also just be a fucking idiot. ..."

Good paragraph.

No shit, that's why I only write about guitars, comics and video games anymore, as well as the occasional rant about the state of the human race in general.

Politics, I've decided, is the major league sport for the people who were never good at sports.

I agree that there's something like Spring Fever going on out there. I just figured it was news fatigue, but I think the change of seasons definitely figures into it.

Comic-book superheroes do not, actually, exist. They are fictional, as opposed to bloggers, who, in reality, do exist, and have done one or two useful things for the commonweal; yourself, as an example. Other than that, I'll buy into your reasoning.

I remember some of the unforgivable things which trolls have left in your comments in the past--if anyone has earned the bloggers' equivalent of the Thousand Yard Stare, it has to be you. Commenters like me have no right to tell you to suck it up, and go back in the game, but what you did was useful.

Pauly, by "good enough", do you mean at the professional level, which is how I interpreted "major league"? The professional levels of the major North American sports are not what they once were--NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, motorsport... maybe sports is politics for people not serious enough about anything more than bragging rights in a kids' game.

Having re-read that last sentence, I'd better go lighten up, now.

Comic-book superheroes do not, actually, exist. They are fictional

Holy shit, Batman!

I stand corrected, I should have lightened up after the first sentence. Jeez....

Completely agree. I almost closed up shop after Easongate and Gannongate. After realizing how soul-scarring politics can be, I decided there were other things to write about.

Heh. I wondered where you were going with that "fucking idiot" paragraph.

Fortunately, I have no readers, so I can just disappear for a month at a time. On the other hand, I have no readers.

I don't think the blogosphere is winding down. I think it's actually still winding up. But the elections are over (yay! we won! mostly...) and we're all in an adjustment phase.

So people are tired of politics? Well, there's a hell of a lot more to life than politics. There's, um, books! And films! And computer games! And... you know, people stuff. And cooking, yeah, that's good. And music. And computer - no, I said that already.

How validating to be held up as sort-of an example of what's entertaining about the internet.

Does this mean I've hitched my wagon to your site and I can suddenly be a relevant blogger who gets made fun of on The Daily Show and gets to be bored along with all the other reporters in the White House Press room and stuff?

Wait, shit, that sounded snotty.

I was actually trying to say thanks.

Mike, not until I get made fun of on The Daily Show.

I've figured out how to not burn out--tune out all the bickering between blogs and nastiness in comments. (Although Paul deserves it, without a doubt.) Even for political bloggers, it CAN be done.

I don't put up with any bullshit in the comments on my site. Poof! Delete and ban! I don't care if anyone wants to call me a "fascist" for it, either. It's just a fucking computer, fer chrissakes. Would the trolls or other bloggers come to my house and act as rude as some do at a keyboard? Not likely, and they'd be kicked out immediately if they did. Life's too short to get all pissed off in front of a computer screen and almost no one is going to change their minds by reading blogs (especially comments) anyway.

Blogging and reading blogs IS supposed to be fun, and if it's not then people need to change what they're doing or quit. It's as simple as that.

Mike, that Porn Face thing was PRICELESS!

Paul? I thought you were referring to Bill!

Bravo Michelle, and right on.

Your rationale is one of the reasons that I miss SDB so much. I am wrong often, so I could be waaayyy off on this, but his ego never really seemed to be the driving force behind his blogging, at least not overtly. It was if he was saying, "Here is my analysis, take it or leave it." Not much emotion, therefore no real name-calling or mud-slinging, just clinically concise dissection of a given issue.

Not that there isn't room for passion and emotion in blogging, but instead of becoming hyper-sensitive, hyper-defensive and pissy, re-engage your gray matter and think. Whatever happened to manners and graciousness in blogging? Some sense of proportion? If I want to take part in an immature, infantile face culture, I'll hustle on down to any High school or Middle school in America and pick a fight with and leave speechless anyone stupid enough to take my bait with my soul-shattering deployment of "your mama's so..." insults.

There are few things I respect more than when an intelligent person can take a step back, dispassionately re-examine his/her position, and admit that they are wrong. Takes a helluva lot of guts.

Grace is what is missing in so many blogs these days. Ego is what we have in sickening abundance.

Thanks again Michelle...

surf-actant

I reached the same point after the election, so I threw in the towel on foolsblog and began a new blog...it's totally lame and I like it that way.

Occasionally something gets my goat and I lob a political post in, but in the main it's really boring personal shit, food and photos. Unfortunately, I'm not up to your standards of cutting edge culture...too lazy...besides I got you to do it for me! Perfect.

I've cut back reading to about a dozen blogs a day...some days fewer. ASV, The Bleat and the uber hunky Mr. Green are of course, as usual, required reading.

It's good to step back and regroup.

BJ aka feste

" And now I'm about to give up reading the damn blogs, too." - michele

Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. ;]

I've more or less gone back to my never-ending forum commentary thread for now. Except for Insty and Lileks, I got kinda bored with the blogosphere after around December '04.

I'll probably get back into it eventually. Maybe.

You're nobody until someone calls you "A Hitler!" That is the most overused analogy of modern insultery. What about Stalin?