>John Hawkins at Right Wing News has posted a piece proclaiming that if you’re not a big important blogger like him and are just a smaller, newer, blogger like me, then you should just give up, hang your head in shame and go away.
Hawkins can shove it, because I am not going anywhere and neither are most of my colleagues, big & small, in the right blogosphere, no matter how much he and other elitist snobs wish that we would. It appears the whole point of his post was to demoralize the competition that is not as big and important as he thinks he is, which if you ask me, smells like an ulterior motive. If us small fish in the ocean weren’t some sort of threat to the big headed fish in the small pond, then I doubt that he’d take the time to try to scare us off because he generally doesn’t deem us fit to recognize at all. Jimmie Bise at the Sundries Shack comes out swinging for those of us who Hawkins disparages; you should read his entire post, but this quote gets to the heart of how I feel about Hawkins’ hit piece:
It doesn’t make much sense to me, though, to write a piece on the death of the conservative blogosphere when you’re one of the people with your hands around its throat.
Why should we listen to someone who looks down his nose at us, anyway? Better to take advice from a successful blogger (who also happens to be a good guy) who considers even smaller, less well known bloggers to be “valued contributors to the blogging community.” (The Other McCain) Forget John Hawkins and his defeatist nonsense, if you are a blogger or want to become one, write about things that you think are important, and try to do it in a manner that gives your readers something of value. Read and learn from bigger bloggers who aren’t fatalistic jerks, who haven’t forgotten that they were beginners once too, bloggers like Stacy McCain, Jimmie Bise, Doug Ross, Blazing Cat Fur, Pamela Geller, and Jill Pundette who are not only successful, but also righteous and kind. Be sure to link to them (and other blogs, both big and small that have good information) as often as possible too, because as Stacy says,
Reciprocal linkage is the essential lubricant that makes the blogosphere purr with contentment.
I don’t do what I do for the money, there really isn’t any right now with the Obama economy, and while I might not be bringing in millions of page views, I do have a growing audience of people who do stop by to read what I write and they seem to think I have something worth spending their time with over here, and I treasure each and every one of my readers. I am delighted when a fellow blogger honors me with a link from their place to mine, whether they have millions of readers, dozens, or a handful; these fellow bloggers matter to me, even if they don’t to blog snobs like John Hawkins.
This isn’t the first time some wishful thinker has prematurely and falsely rang the death knell for the right-wing blogosphere, but it’s usually leftists doing it. Stacy McCain recently debunked previous “death of blogs” proclamations over at his place, eloquently, HERE and HERE. Dan Reihl, unlike John Hawkins, offers encouragement; here is an excerpt:
But when it comes to what John seems to be lamenting, that lone, sometimes howling voice of the true Indie blogger – as I see myself when writing here at my site and not for Breitbart Media, it will always be something of a haphazard, hard to make a living effort done for love of something, perhaps America or a particular political ideology, for most. It’s not a bug it’s a feature, as Instapundit might say. But it’s damned important that people do it and should be to you for its own sake if you plan on staying with it for any length of time; otherwise, you’ll only get discouraged and go away. There’s nothing new in that.
All that said, ultimately, if you’re good at it, there are more options to pursue writing professionally today as a result of any exposure you may receive and I expect the future will provide still others. Consequently, to me, the future for Right-side media, overall, remains bright. From Talk Radio, to professional outlets and Indie bloggers, we each and all represent an effort to further democratize media through technology. And because I believe the American population as a whole is more conservative, or libertarian, than it is far Left, the more the merrier.
If you’re doing it – keep doing it. And if you’re contemplating jumping in – then just do it. My advice would be, don’t spend too much time navel gazing about it. You might end up with little more than lint in your eye. And I hate it when that happens! RTWT
Donald Douglas at American Power and the mighty Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection appear to be taking Hawkins discouraging words to heart, these men are terrific bloggers in their own right, they shouldn’t buy into Hawkins’ gloom and doom. Flap’s Blog has a much more optimistic view, and I thank him for it:
There is more to life than traffic to blogs for the conservative world. There is Twitter which has jump-started the Tea Party and to a lesser extent there is Facebook where conservatives can more socially interact. Google Plus has just started and there will be a place for conservative bloggers there as well.
The blogosphere and social media are interconnected and it is far better for the smaller, independent blogger.
When I first started this enterprise over five years ago, nobody knew who the hell I was or cared. The large blogs (the ones with the most traffic) linked within themselves. Nobody gave a rat’s ass about the upstarts in the sphere. But, with Twitter and Facebook, content and opinion hit the internet without the filter of Instapundit or Powerline. Traffic to the independents grew and so did modest ad revenue.
Power in the blogosphere shifted to the small, independent blogger who might cover more, especially in their own locale. Commentary was not limited to large blogs comments sections but to Twitter and Facebook.
So, with these changes, why would anyone quit?
In the era of the grass-roots Tea Party, it is time to get started. RTWT
At the Sundries Shack, Jimmie Bise delivers a well deserved spanking to John Hawkins:
John Hawkins wrote a post today called “The Slow, Painful Coming Death Of The Independent, Conservative Blogosphere” wherein he pretty much advised every right-wing blogger to either pull down big traffic numbers of quit.
That’s it. No advice for how to get that big traffic. No mention of smaller bloggers who are doing a good job of building their site’s visibility or traffic. Nothing. Just, well, this:
Bloggers have asked me: So what’s the strategy to deal with this?
Really, it’s simple: Get big or go home.
Find a way to dramatically increase the size of your blog, expand into multiple websites that together are big, hook up with someone who’s already big, or accept that there isn’t much of a future in a small, niche market for you. Maybe that sounds a little grim, but unless something changes, independent conservative bloggers who haven’t already made it big don’t have a bright future.
Gee, thanks, John. What, you couldn’t find a way to deliver an electronic kick to the groin right at the end of that last paragraph?
As I’ve written before, right-wing bloggers do have a couple fairly large problems between them and a respectably-sized readership, but they’re far from insurmountable. Unfortunately, a big part of the solution to those problems lie in the hands of bloggers like Hawkins who have no real interest in spending much if any of their time on community-building.
Take a quick scan over Hawkins article and look at the links. Do you see how all of them — every last one — goes to a big right-wing web site? That’s by design. He’s link-whoring. Now, link-whoring is a venerable blogging tradition and often helps bring in a few links here or there, but if you’re going to write about smaller blogs, why not link to a couple of them? There are sites out there — William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection, Donald Douglas’ American Power, Stacy McCain’s The Other McCain, Joy McCann’s and Dan Collins’ Conservative Commune, and Duane Lester’s All American Blogger — who would have benefitted from a link and a quick mention as examples of at least some level of success. He could have pulled links from within his own stable of guest-writers (who, by the way, get no special mention anywhere on his site that I can find) for the same purpose – William Teach’s Pirate’s Cove and Lance Burri’s Troglopundit come quickly to mind.
He didn’t because, well, he’s in the game for the links and he’ll get more from a Lucianne sideswipe than he will a direct post from any of the bloggers to whom I linked. Look at his “Linkswap” page. Sure, he’s willing to give a blogroll link to another blogger, but only if that blogger can guarantee him 500 hits a week. How many small, or even mid-sized, blogs can guarantee 500 hits a week to one site? Not many, unless they make an point of giving Right Wing News a fairly prominent link in a couple or three posts a week. The message he’s explicitly sending to other bloggers is “If you can’t help me in a fairly decent way, I have no interest in you at all”.
That’s not how things worked when I was a new blogger. When I started the Sundries Shack, I got links all the time from more popular blogs like Q and O, Captain’s Quarters (the home of Ed Morrissey before he joined Hot Air), and even Right Wing News. Now, years later, I’m lucky if I get a link every few months from the guys who used to link me three or four times a month.
Times change. People change. Job responsibilities change. I get that many of the bloggers with whom I came up in the blogosphere have moved on to much larger professional gigs. Some have sites that pull hundreds of thousands of hits a month. Some work as social media consultants and rarely write anymore. Their lives, and their blogging/writing schedules get pretty busy. The demands on them are more pronounced than when they were hustling hits for their own sites. Their employers demand big, fast results. I get all of that. But would it kill any of them to toss a few links back to the folks trying to get a leg up? Would it truly be that onerous to add a few smaller blogs to their RSS readers and perhaps highlight one of those blogs in a post or newsletter a couple times a month? I can’t imagine it would. I manage to do it pretty much every day with my Clearing the Browser Tabs post. In fact, one of the reasons I do that daily post is to spread some of the linky love to bloggers to whom I know I don’t link enough otherwise. I do it on purpose because I think an important part of my presence in social media is being social. More of us who have been around a while need to remember how good it felt when one of the big dogs noticed us and sent us a healthy dollop of Sitemeter-bulging hits and make sure we do that once in a while for other bloggers.
It won’t kill the bottom-line. In fact, it’s far more likely that reconnecting with the blogospheric community will be good for all of us in the long-term. Not only will we get more links from the little guys, who may well become big guys one day, but we’ll also foster a much-needed sense of community among right-wing bloggers. RTR
In response to the push back John Hawkins is getting for telling the rest of us to quit, he has a followup in which he claims that he was just keeping it real, he wasn’t telling us to quit at all, he says. Yeah, right. He did, however seem to get Jimmie’s message, because he’s actually linked to some of the bloggers (who he disdains) who wrote about his miserable original assertion that we should all just go away. John Hawkins may be a ‘big important blogger’ or something, but this here lil peasant blogger gets a lot more satisfaction from reading stuff by better bloggers, both big and small, who aren’t jerks, you know, at places where you can go and feel good that you went there because you’ve learned something, not places that leave you wondering if you should maybe just kill yourself and get it over with.
John Hawkins can take his “death of the conservative blogosphere” and shove it!
LONG LIVE THE RIGHT BLOGOSPHERE!
Big important Update: BigFurHat at iOwnTheWorld is spearheading a fabulous effort to help other bloggers in response to John Hawkins’ doomengloom. Be sure to check it out, and if you’re a blogger, leave a link to your place there! If you’re not a blogger but want to leave links to blogs you like, that’s great too!
This post is linked at Blazing Cat Fur. Thank you, Arnie!
This post is linked at Fishersville Mike. Thank you, Mike!
This post is linked at Sitting at the Edge of the Sandbox. Thanks!
This post is linked at Sultan Knish. Thank you, Daniel!
This post is linked at Maggie’s Notebook. Thank you, Maggie!
This post is linked at Political Byline. Thanks, Patrick!
This post is linked at American Power. Thank you, Donald!