January 11, 2006

From gaping void, with commentary by me:


1. I don't consider myself an A-Lister.

No, but I turn up for speaking gigs at all the big conferences anyway. Uh-huh.

I don't speak at the big blogging conferences. In fact, I don't go to blogging conferences, big or little. Time and money are issues simply in attending: and my off-line identity doesn't rate a speaking role. I don't think my on-line identity does either, yet. Maybe someday, but not now.

2. I don't care about traffic.

Of course I don't. Even though I'm a freelance consultant, and my blog is my primary way of marketing myself. Rock on.

Go a step further, that I committed to a writing career years ago, and that at this point my small nest of blogs is my primary source of income. Terrifying, isn't it? But I could not even start a blog at all, until I suddenly discovered I had something actually worth saying. So much of what is out there is simply the same things being dissected over and over in the exact same ways each time. For every journalistic scoop, there seem to be a thousand blogs hashing it over. I am not a journalist, my only near-scoop was purely accidental: simply because I happened to be first on-line, reading blog speculation about United States domestic non-warrant surveillance, at the very moment when Bush confirmed it. It was the only time I was first in the blogosphere about anything ... and it really is not my major area of focus (insofar as I have one). I want to understand who we are, what we are, why we are. That is all.

3. I've read your blog.

Yeah, well I read the "Musings of an unemployed tech consultant" bit on the title bar, before clicking off. That counts.

Anyone who links to me, I have at least skimmed their blog: but I won't promise to link back -- quite the contrary, I cannot link to everyone, so by way of fairness I don't link anyone -- and I won't promise to keep reading. Where interests strongly intersect I try somewhat to keep up, but it is sporadic at best. One million books in print at any given time. How many billion pages on the Internet? So much to read. So little time.

4. I started blogging back in 1999.

Of course, back in 1999 a Flash-animated, brochureware homepage was considered a blog. Kinda sorta.

I started writing on-line in 1985, when I first discovered the concept of e-mail. It was not a blog, purely entertainment. I had never been able to sustain an off-line journal, and had no reason to believe I could sustain an on-line one ... and besides, why would I want to? I began seriously engaging in on-line board discussions in 1999. This blog began in 2003. With the exception of two significant absences due to life events, it remains the same blog to this day. It may move to a new domain home, but I have no reason currently to change the structure.

5. My blog has no commercial agenda.

I'm far too sexy to care about money. Exactly.

I would dearly like to make a living wage from this ... but I won't write something that I don't think has substance. Banner advertisements and the ability for readers to donate if they so wish seem a reasonable way of attempting to combine both ends: if people don't feel it worth reading, I don't get paid at all. This is the entirety of my agenda. For the record, the advertising earned me half a dollar last Friday ... for the entire day.

6. I only have advertising on my blog as an experiment.

That explains why the adstrip is right under the "Musings of an unemployed tech consultant" bit. Indeed.

Initially it was an experiment. I had tried other methods with my board, based on the least bit of willingness of the members of an on-line community to attempt something symbiotic that could benefit every one of us at no cost to anyone beyond what they would already have spent anyway, but there turned out to be no such willingness whatsoever. So be it. With the advertising, the readership trends suggest that there is enough potential of eventually earning a living wage this way that it is worth pursuing. The advertising and the tip jar stay.

7. I've never liked the unegalitarian term, "A-Lister".

Even though I am one. Oh, the irony.

I don't really know what makes an "A-Lister" beyond having at some point become a major blog hub. I can see some of the core journalistic/op-ed blogs having managed it, but mostly I don't see that much difference: some major writers (in my opinion) are seriously overrated; while some minor writers very much have things worth saying. I can only assume that a part of it is substance, a part of it word-of-mouth, a part of it connections (which I don't have) ... and a very large part of it is also luck: the all-important luck of getting that first break from which all the rest follows.

8. I'm proud to be a D-Lister.

Even though I spend 7 hours a day writing the thing. Right.

I find satisfaction in having written something (to my eyes) worth writing, and in having shared it, and in others having found in my writing a springboard for new ideas of their own. I do find satisfaction also in being able to share it further and further. It is not important that people agree with me ... but it is important that they think. Put whatever label you like on that.

9. He's a big hero of mine.

He's got more traffic than downtown Mexico City and I'm hoping to God he links to me one day.

A link would be nice. Bookmarks are nice too, but links are the currency of the Internet. How else can utter strangers discover a page serendipitously except through the network of links accessing it? (One of the subdomains for this blog which had already been taken was "serendipity".) But you will link me if you feel I merit it; and I don't want it any other way ... even if you do have more traffic than downtown Mexico City. Just -- don't expect me to blindly agree with you just because you linked me. People have de-linked me in the past, and almost certainly people will de-link me in the future when they discover that I don't after all question only one side. This blog is as honest a reflection of me as I can manage. It is all I am able and willing to give.

10. I really admire what she's doing for the blogosphere.

I've noticed that she's currently single.

Not many major female bloggers out there, are there?

Found another springboard... Thanks :)
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