Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why blog?

As we finish up the blog's most visited month ever (and thank you again, big traffic sites, for the support) and I stare out at the ever decaying dirt snow in the commute that I've been doing now for 3.5 years, and I look at the site stats that note over 2,500 posts written in those three years... well, you'd have to be a more focused and talented writer than me not to wonder, exactly, why keep doing this?

There are no traffic spikes coming that are going to fundamentally change the economics of this. For it to meet my usual, even discounted, rate as a consultant, the traffic would have to increase something like fifty to a hundred fold. Even when the permanent ad placements come in, as they do from time to time, that isn't a real game-changer. As a hobby, I suppose it keeps me out of trouble better than poker and less than fantasy sports. As something to take real pride in ownership over, it's less than the books and music, but better in some ways too, since neither of those things is terribly conducive to the small spaces that the bloghole fills. It's just not possible for me to write books 30 minutes at a time, and songs require space and a greater suspension of disbelief about the audience.

So let's list this out and see where we are.

Reasons for:

1) Scratch is scratch. The hobby does bring in more than a few bucks in the annual aggregate, and it's unlikely that the time I spend doing it can be monetized in any better way.

2) The journo thing. I went to school for journalism before turning to pursuits that came with actual business models, so FTT feels more pure and easy than other writing.

3) The audience matters. FTT's readers include my poker regulars, some of my best friends, fellow bloggers whose work I enjoy, family members, cranks and fans. It's not exactly filling Carnegie Hall, but If I can make pages that are worth their time, it feels better than just not doing it.

4) The audience includes me. Every blogger who sticks at it has to be a fan of their work to keep coming back to work. When I go back through the FTT archives and find something I've forgotten about (ah, the horror / joy of age; my memory over copy used to be much tighter), there's a nice little burst.

Reasons against:

1) The scratch distracts. The time I spend on FTT is time that hungrier men in my career spend networking and finding the next salary bump. I'd say more about this, but it's not as if people from the current Day Job don't ever stop by these pages.

2) The documents matter. Not to be morbid, but the, ahem, joy of moving to the south side of 40 and picking up persistent health issues that don't resolve (and I'd say more about this, but it's pointless) is that you realize that things might not go on as long as you think. A blog with thousands of lists is not as satisfying on the wall as books, and it's been way too long since one of those happened.

3) It could sabotage. I try to keep my name out of this blog, but it's not as if that's an airtight thing, and the next job might find this and think better of hiring someone with such an antisocial view of the bipolar. Or they just might be Massholes. Either way, not good.

4) The time. Even now that I'm only free-lancing at one other blog on a weekly basis, and not killing myself to turn over the front page every 2-3 days, it's a pretty major time commitment. I have kids and a wife and a job and fantasy leagues and poker tables; the blog time has to come from somewhere, and too often, it comes from sleep.

The verdict:

Oh, like you had any real doubt? If I weren't going to quit the place when I turned 40, or hit some big fat post number, or wanted to never think about the Eagles in print again after that Dallas loss... well, no. There's still a fire. It's just February, right? That's got to be it...

1 comment:

Bearcat said...

I could not have put it any better. This is exactly why I blog. Our little site gets few readers but as a hobby there is nothing I would rather be doing.

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