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The Meaning of Blogging

I have been blogging for about seven years now. Like so many others, I started by blogging at my own site, lost interest for a while and spent some time posting comments at larger blogs. I am happy to say that some of my comments produced a great many responses and some support, so that I was invited to be a regular poster at a major blog, Polipundit.com, an enterprise of group blogging which lasted several years with great success. Along the way, I found myself quoted in the Wall Street Journal and interviewed by a Japanese news agency, and received attention, both support and attacks, from a number of prominent bloggers. Unfortunately, the site owner had a regrettable change in opinion regarding freedom of expression and he ejected all of his writers and got himself a new cast. That incident led to some additional publicity and attention in the blogosphere, but in the end it was an unfortunate turn of events.

I received a number of offers to blog on other sites, and soon thereafter joined the team at Wizbang, an eclectic and upbeat right-of-center site. One thing I particularly liked, was that I could post when I liked, on a great variety of subjects, including my faith, my fight with cancer, and my return to school. Wizbang readers know they can see not only political commentary, but a community of conservative thought, including topics that appeal to common life issues.

You may have noticed that it's been nearly a month since my last post. Sorry for that, it comes down to my Mom's hospitalization and rehab therapy, my new job, and the fact that I don't want to repeat old things long said or just parrot popular themes. But as I tried to write posts earlier this month, I also became aware of the flood of blogs and bloggers, and it occurs to me that we might discuss the issue of what blogging has become and where it is going.

One thing which drives me to distraction is the amount of unwanted mail I get in my email. Not the junk mail from people trying to sell me things, that's just a dismal fact of life, but the constant deluge of links to posts and entire columns reprinted for my "convenience" that I never asked to receive. If you are one of those people, let me say for your own good that SPAM is not good writing. If you are sending your stuff out by email to people who never asked to be on a mailing list, please just STOP. You are not making anyone happy or improving your reputation. Spamming folks through email blog updates is just plain creepy.

Now as to blogging itself. Bloggers frequently criticize the print and broadcast media, and with good reason - there's a lot of bias and inaccuracy in what is commonly called journalism, and some of it is just plain fraud (Rathergate, anyone?). But criticizing media requires the blogger to demonstrate a standard of conduct himself, and a lot of bloggers are deficient in that regard. Some post opinion while pretending it to be fact. Some bloggers cannot tolerate any difference of opinion, even from allies. Some bloggers are egocentric fools, speaking bluntly, who imagine that they alone have perfect wisdom and are the next Reynolds or Limbaugh - such bloggers are usually deficient in humility, insight, and humor, but I will leave it at that. As a result, bloggers are commonly read mostly by other bloggers and by a select audience; we must accept that even today, most people are unfamiliar with blogs at all (not to mention twitter), and unless/until blogs demonstrate a social value great enough to attract the attention and respect of the public, they will remain of marginal interest only. That, by the way, is just one reason there are no "blogger millionaires".

Blogs are sometimes trivial and have the staying power of say, a snowball in Houston. But some are well-written and are potent accounts of seminal issues and represent serious thought on a range of subjects. To a large degree, bloggers respond to readers and they thrive on reader support. This is one reason most blogs allow comments. It not only provides a forum for people, it also allows the blogger to receive direct feedback, something so lacking in print and broadcast media that it's killing off a number of the media businesses. It also provides the energy that many bloggers need to keep posting - there's a real incentive to produce when you know someone's paying attention.

But it comes down to a symbiotic relationship between the blogger and the readers. What matters to you and why? Any good blogger wants to build on that basis, and any blog worth reading will pay attention not to superficial bilge that can be supplied by TMZ or the like, but the things that keep you up at night or provoke the ageless question, "What if?"


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Comments (24)

"But it comes down to a sym... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"But it comes down to a symbiotic relationship between the blogger and the readers."

AND a blogger with a THICK skin at times.

Merry Christmas, DJ!

I always enjoy reading your... (Below threshold)
pj:

I always enjoy reading your thoughtful and thought-provoking articles, DJ.

Good to have you back, DJ. ... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Good to have you back, DJ.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

you are one of the many rea... (Below threshold)
exceller:

you are one of the many reasons I read wizbang. I like reading thoughtful posts from people I can relate to. You're right, it's an eclectic mixed bag here. A safe port in the daily storm of words that is pumped through the blogosphere.

We're out here reading. Keep up the good work and have a Merry Christmas.

DJI dont always ag... (Below threshold)
Joe:

DJ

I dont always agree with what you write, but you are leaps and bounds ahead of anybody else on this blog. Your thoughts are considered, well thought out and perfectly put together. Without being provocative, your colleagues at Wizbang dont come close. Tis clear that you are an educated man (did Jay Tea ever graduate from anything; clearly the man has no idea, other than being thick skinned in every sense of the word) with integrity.

I wish you and yours good tidings, a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year; moreover good health and happiness.

Always like Your posts DJ..... (Below threshold)
914:

Always like Your posts DJ..

"Tis clear that you are an educated man (did Jay Tea ever graduate from anything; clearly the man has no idea, other than being thick skinned in every sense of the word) with integrity."

What the hell is this supposed to mean? What does graduating have to do with presenting thoughtful provocative blogging?

Good to see you writing aga... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Good to see you writing again, DJ.

What matters to me is a writer who speaks the truth without self-indulgence, whether I agree with every sentence or not. Most of the articles here do that with a minimum of bullshit, and I appreciate it.

I usually find that mindset here at Wizbang more than at most blogs, and it's small enough that a well-reasoned post doesn't get lost in 40 pages of illiterate bickering from complete dilettantes. We don't always poop jewels every day, but by and large, Wizbang is a worthwhile place to visit, even if most of us are ignorant, uneducated, unenlightened liars.

Happy holidays to all of you.

This post should be titled ... (Below threshold)
M. Murcek:

This post should be titled "why blogging is a waste of everybody's time (especially the reader's." In a tiny fraction of the time that it took for "journalism" to self-decide that it is "important" and "essential," bloggers are now dong the same. You get emails you don't want! Poor Baby! Life is So Hard!!!

DJ, I look forward to your ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

DJ, I look forward to your posts. Very thought provoking. I do admire your patience with the many trolls that take the opportunity to diminish your abilities.

From one Houstonian to another, I wish you and your family and very merry Christmas and a successful and healthy New Year. You are one of the good guys. ww

Hmmm. M. Murcek came by to ... (Below threshold)
Burt:

Hmmm. M. Murcek came by to tell us he/she has nothing to do and is just wasting time. Thoughtfully, he/she is volunteering to waste our time too. Just a suggestion M., but if you have nothing to do, please do it elsewhere.

Merry Christmas all!

I have mostly stopped ready... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

I have mostly stopped ready your posts, and especially commenting on them since your behavior in this post.

Then, like now, you invited input from commenters. However, you were so dismissive and downright rude to anyone who disagreed with you, including those who did so politely, that I decided it wasn't worth my time trying to have a discussion with you.

My comments in that post we... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

My comments in that post were not rude in the context of the discussion. I appreciate comments, especially when thought is put into them. As I wrote then, I will not applaud paranoia and deliberate disruption, and if you insist on such conduct, you earn any disdain or approbation you receive.

Further, only a coward fails to even produce a valid screen name. Anon Y Mous is weak sauce, indeed, and only shows the lack of spine behind your whine. I respect your right to have an opinion - I am in no way obliged to lie and say yours is well-thought or cogent.

Demonstrating once again th... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

Demonstrating once again that name-calling is what you do best.

Aw, DJ, you gone done hurt ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Aw, DJ, you gone done hurt his feelings. And he ENTIRELY misses your point.

Keep this motto in mind: It... (Below threshold)
M. Muexwk:

Keep this motto in mind: It's a good thing you take yourself so seriously, because nobody else does...

"Demonstrating once agai... (Below threshold)
914:

"Demonstrating once again that name-calling is what you do best."

What name calling? Calling You Anonymous is name calling? Well than I guess You have a point.

913: "What name calling?... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

913: "What name calling? Calling You Anonymous is name calling? "

Quit being an idiot - DJ hates idiots.

DJ: "Further, only a coward fails to even produce a valid screen name."

Guess "913" is a coward as well as as an idiot, as are half the people who post on this blog - an idiot according to DJ Drummond, at least - the blogger who once wrote about all of the spam he gets.

DJ I followed you... (Below threshold)
RFA:

DJ

I followed you and Lorie Byrd here from Polipundit. I'm glad I made the move as Wizbang is #2 on my daily read list.

I always enjoy your posts. Even if there is some disagreement, it causes me to think about the issue and follow up on things for my own clarity.

I grew up in Texas on the southern border and actually spent a while in Houston. Being a small town guy, living in the city didn't work for me at all.

Thank you for what you and the others at Wizbang give me each and every day. Heck I even get a kick out of Paul Hooson when he crawls out of the Blue room to give us his somewhat demented outlook on the world.

Polipundit isn't- ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Polipundit isn't-

never was-

and never will be- a "major blog."

FAO 914You may fin... (Below threshold)
joe:

FAO 914

You may find Jay Tea's posts,thoughtful and provocative, I dont. Neither are they well presented, written or otherwise.

Empty vessels make the most noise and all that......

Merry Christmas

All this over a two year ol... (Below threshold)
Incognito Rex:

All this over a two year old pissing match from March, 2007.

You really know how to nurse a grudge, Mousey.

Man with no name, not even ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Man with no name, not even a real screen name: "Demonstrating once again that name-calling is what you do best."

Actually, you are wrong again (what a shock). I pointed out that not even posting a screen name is pretty lame ... and it really is. That criticizes behavior, it's not "name calling" by definition.

Steve Green: "Guess "913" is a coward as well as as an idiot, as are half the people who post on this blog - an idiot according to DJ Drummond"

Steve, is reading comprehension still a problem for you or are you somehow related to Mr. no-name? Because you, 914, and all the others except for " " bothered to actually post a screen name. And where did the word "idiot" come from? Since you presented that word, a reasonable person might decide that you reached that conclusion, in which case you are, hmm, projecting again?

And it's not just opinion, Adrian, during the 2004 election season, Polipundit averaged 50,000 unique visits per day, and during the presidential debates the site saw upwards of 250,000 hits in a two-hour span on three separate occasions. I may not agree with the site owner anymore, and the site has lost many of its readers since then, but it's undeniable that in 2004 Polipundit was one of the top political blogs, cited in TIME magazine, by Glenn Reynolds, and the Wall Street Journal. It's one reason that Lorie Byrd apppeared on several TV shows, and several other writers on the blog achieved a certain notoriety.

Just pointing out facts.

And thank you everyone for your readership (is that a word?) and support all these years! Have a very merry Christmas and don't mind the grinches!

And just how do we know tha... (Below threshold)
Incognito Rex:

And just how do we know that "DJ Drummond" isn't a Nom de Plume? Sounds made up to me.

All jokes aside, I use that handle on many other blogs, including the Herpes Helpline site, NAMBLA, the New York Times, the Homeland Security Report-A-Rat Snitch Blog and several GLTB blogs. It kinda rolls off the fingertips, like Zellsdorf Ragshaft III, or Jay Tea.

Enjoy your Christmas, DJ.

If I may comment, I'd like ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

If I may comment, I'd like to say that Mr Drummond is that rarity: a conservative who knows something about history, and doesn't just regurgitate FOX "News" talking points. Merry Christmas.




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