Every person who authors a blawg for any period of time gets questions. We get a lot of crap as well from the nutjobs, those who want something from us that we’re not inclined to give, and just plain angry people on the internet, but it’s mostly questions. Predominant is the question, “what’s in it?”
Max Kennerly, a Philly personal injury lawyer and apparently a far bigger fan of Adrian Dayton than me, decided to offer his answer to the question. After trashing the “blogging as a get rich quick scheme” meme, Max gets down to business.
Blogging is a pie eating contest in which the prize is: more pie.
This captures the essence of blawging better than anything I’ve ever read.
There are marketing blawgers, but they invariably fall by the wayside as they come to grips with the fact that the ROI doesn’t fly. There are benefits, but the idea that blawging is the path to wealth and success is nonsense. There are lawyers who blawg only to find out, to their dismay and often anger, that they don’t write nearly as well as they think, or that others don’t appreciate their genius nearly as much as they believe they should. To put it another way, some blawgs are just lousy.
But what if you’ve got a decent blawg, What if you’re an adequate writer and there are at least a handful of people outside your immediate family who are interested in your thoughts? What’s the prize? You get to write again another day. If it were really a contest, then the second place prize would be to write again for two days. And so on.
When I began, the biggest criminal defense blawg in the neighborhood was Mike Cernovich’s Crime & Federalism. written with co-blawger Norm.
Years ago Norm Pattis and I were in the zone, and had incredible readership at Crime & Federalism. Modesty aside, the blog was hot. Got too hot, and that’s actually what burned us both out. People wanted a piece of you. They wanted links. People would get angry when they’d post a comment that we wouldn’t reply to. (Comments are for you, not me, and thus I generally don’t respond to them. My turf is the post, and yours is the comments.)
People who had never done anything for you – and never would – would send you repeated e-mails asking why you haven’t linked to their site. It really made me hate people more than I already did. If you think a link from me is so valuable, why not offer me a bottle of wine or something as thanks? Or add me to your site, and throw some traffic my way?
Mike makes it sound like a thrill a minute, right? But they were great, brutal and merciless in their commentary. Nobody got away unscathed with cheap shots, stupidity or self-promotion. (Aside: For those who ask me why I’m still such a fan of Norm’s, despite his having donned Mr. Roger’s cardigan and become the enabler of the insipid, this is why. Norm paid his blawging dues, and gets to be kinder and gentler if that’s what he needs to do. Others, who never proved their mettle, do not.) Crime & Federalism set the bar for real blawging. It still does, even though it’s only Mike these days. Mike’s never held back to curry favor or popularity.
So what does he get for it? More pie. More aggravation. More demands on him. More complaints. And the opportunity to post another day.
Those used to be heady days, with discussions and barbs tossed back and forth between blawgs. Sometimes they were kisses and other times poisoned darts, but there was life, ideas and challenges. It meant something if you got on Mike’s radar because of what you wrote. You weren’t going to get there by asking for a link exchange, or empathizing with him. You had to have something incisive to add. There were no “atta boys” for breathing.
On a good day, some blawger or commenter offered a stroke of brilliance to the discussion. On a bad day, some nutjob ranted about himself while ripping you for not caring deeply about him. Some days the pie was delicious. Some days the pie tasted awful. If you managed to get through the day, you won the prize. You got to blawg another day. You got more pie.
Still want to be a blawger? Then you better love pie.