Category Archive 'Blogging'

08 Jan 2016

World-Travelling Couple Breaks Up After China

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China turned us into bad people. The pushing, the shoving, the pollution, the spitting, the lack of respect toward the environment and their fellow human beings, the oily food, the wasteful attitude that is now ingrained in their psyche, we could go on. This is not to say we didn’t have great experiences and meet wonderful people, because we definitely did. But those moments were far less common for us. We hate being negative, and it may sound arrogant or pathetic, but that is the truth.

We would snap at each other over small things, and these minor arguments would turn into all-day affairs. Alesha would get angry at me over trivial matters, and I would retaliate. In the end I stopped being the caring partner that I should be. I neglected Alesha’s feelings and she would attack me for neglecting her. I continued to neglect her because I couldn’t stand being attacked. It was a vicious cycle.

Alesha started to resent travel, and I grew numb to it. Nothing excited us anymore. Just like you can lose your passion for a hobby when it becomes a job, we’re starting to become jaded with travel.

We hadn’t done proper exercise for longer than we could remember,” Salem wrote, “ate a lot of dodgy foods that had little nutritional value and put on weight. This just made us feel even more down. Alesha has always said that if your stomach is happy, you are happy. Well after the diet we experienced across China, Mongolia and Central Asia, our stomachs definitely weren’t happy.”

“At some point we sat down and realized that the best thing for us was to go our separate ways for a while, to give ourselves a break from each other.”

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

06 Sep 2011

Andrew Sullivan On Blogging

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I don’t agree much with Andrew Sullivan on politics these days (but, with Andrew’s record of instability, that may simply mean I only need to wait awhile until he becomes conservative again), yet I largely agree with him on blogging.

Of course, Andrew Sullivan blogs on a considerably more prolific and professional scale than I do. He is infuriatingly intellectually dishonest, shamelessly manipulative and propagandistic in his arguments, but he otherwise does a pretty commendable job. (The backing of a major magazine and a budget providing funding for a staff undoubtedly helps.)

19 Jul 2011

Somebody Has To Do It

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Pity the fate of the less-than-top-rank right-wing blogger. Not only did the Age of Obama not create booming traffic for us, we’re actually an endangered species, argues John Hawkins.

[W]hen Barack Obama got into power, you’d have expected that traffic on the Right side of the blogosphere would have surged just as it did on the Left side of the blogosphere in the early Bush years.

That didn’t happen.

Sure, there were a few outliers that took off: Hot Air, Redstate, and the Breitbart empire for example, but most conservative blogs have either grown insignificantly, stayed the same size, or even shrank. Most bloggers on the right side of the blogosphere haven’t increased their traffic significantly in years. Moreover, the right side of the blogosphere as a whole is definitely shrinking in numbers as bloggers that have had trouble getting traction are quitting and fewer and fewer bloggers are starting up new blogs.

The problem is that there are no ecological niches vacant anymore, he contends. Insignificant microbes, to employ NZ Bear‘s metaphors, find it harder to evolve. You become a Crunchy Crustacean or even a Flappy Bird, and that’s it. The days of evolving into Higher Beings are over. There is simply too much higher quality competition for almost any blogger to overcome.

The market has also become much more professionalized. When I got started, back in 2001, a lone blogger who did 3-4 posts a day could build an audience. Unless your name is Ann Coulter, you probably couldn’t make that strategy work today.

Instead, most successful blogs today have large staffs, budgets, and usually, the capacity to shoot traffic back and forth with other gigantic websites. Look at Redstate, which is tied into Human Events, Hot Air which connected with Townhall, Instapundit, which is a part of Pajamas Media, Newsbusters which is a subsidiary of the Media Research Center and other monster entities like National Review and all of its blogs, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, and the Breitbart media empire. An independent blogger competing with them is like a mom & pop store going toe-to-toe with Wal-Mart. Some do better than others, but over the long haul, the only question is whether you can survive on the slivers of audience they leave behind. …

Most bloggers are not very good at marketing, not very good at monetizing, there are no sugar daddies giving us cash, and this isn’t the biggest market in the world to begin with. In other words, this is a time-consuming enterprise, but few people are going to make enough money to go full time. How many people can put in 20-30-40-50 hours a week on something that’s not going to ever be their full time job? Can they do it for 5 years? 10 years? 15? 20? This is the plight that 99.9% of serious, independent conservative bloggers face. This has already created a lot of attrition and over the next few years, as people realize that their traffic is more likely to slowly, but surely significantly deteriorate rather than explode, you’re going to see a lot more people give up.

I think there is more than a small amount of truth in what he says. The top ranking bloggers are very, very talented people who are incredibly hard working, and the successful ones now have staffs. Few people and only the most professional are going to make it to the top.

But Ann Althouse is right in offering the response that not every conservative blogger is really trying to play the game professionally. A number of bloggers, like myself and the talented crew who publish at Maggie’s Farm, think of ourselves as “boutique bloggers,” catering to a smaller, but more sophisticated and discriminating, audience. Our blogging activities reflect our own eccentric and individualistic personalities.

I often think of my own blogging as just an alternative high tech way of forwarding links to my friends.

As to future readership growth, who knows? I do find it is much more difficult to get links from the top blogs anymore, but I also long ago quit emailing links to them seeking their attention. I’m looking forward to seeing what the 2012 election is going to do for blog readership myself.

Some people are predicting that blogging in general is already out of date, and arguing that blogs are already in the pricess of being replaced by new social networking formats like Google+.

I’m more optimistic. I think, on the prospects of blogging, we can refer to Henry David Thoreau’s estimate of the human condition generally: “There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

06 Feb 2010

Blogging No Longer Cool

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Nicholas Carr has the bad news.

I remember when it was kind of cool to be a blogger. You’d walk around with a swagger in your step, a twinkle in your eye. Now it’s just humiliating. Blogging has become like mahjong or needlepoint or clipping coupons out of Walgreens circulars: something old folks do while waiting to croak.

Did you see that new Pew study that came out yesterday? It put a big fat exclamation point on what a lot of us have come to realize recently: blogging is now the uncoolest thing you can do on the Internet. It’s even uncooler than editing Wikipedia articles or having a Second Life avatar. In 2006, 28% of teens were blogging. Now, just three years later, the percentage has tumbled to 14%. Among twentysomethings, the percentage who write blogs has fallen from 24% to 15%. Writing comments on blogs is also down sharply among the young. It’s only geezers – those over 30 – who are doing more blogging than they used to.

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