Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Irresistible Lure of the Blog

The desire to express one's uninhibited, passionate opinion to a world-wide audience through writing may have been enabled by the Internet but the instinct is ancient. The power of now, which may serve as a definition of blog, is impossible to deny once you have taken the bait. In a perceptive essay in the Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan traces his discovery of the medium and explains how its intoxicating immediacy made an enormous impact on him. I read the essay for a personal reason. I wanted to find out what a blogger has to do to attract readers. Whatever Sullivan blogs, it instantly draws comments from four corners of the country, if not the globe. The same is true of other established media personalities. But for the vast majority of bloggers, we toil in obscurity. We seem to make waves on a part of the blog ocean where no ship, no boat, not even a dinghy ventures forth. Sullivan received invaluable advice from Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report when he was starting out. The master informed him in 2001 that "the key to understanding a blog is to realize that it's a broadcast, not a publication. If it stops moving, it dies. If it stops paddling, it sinks."

Excellent advice but how to capture those initial eyeballs with a zillion blogs vying for attention? A growing network of friends in Facebook and Myspace will not hurt. Maybe languishing bloggers can form their own network and take on the big guns and suddenly we become equal, relishing brutal comments from outraged readers. We do not blog for money, although that would be nice, but only ask that you read our stuff and let us have it. Keep moving and paddling and suddenly one day ... well, a core group of discerning readers will do, at least for starters.

No comments: