July 21st, 2008

Talking about your blog is the social equivalent of talking about your dog. It’s a dull conversation for everyone but you.

Yet, an entire industry exists built around nothing more than bloggers, talking about blogging to other bloggers via their blogs. It’s a trade show for people who run trade shows. A instructional video on making instructional videos. Cyclical and cheap, yet undoubtably useful to the right type of consumer.

Why the industry exists is understandable. At the top most tier of the web exists a loose cadre of individuals who have carved out a niche of either quality or topic. Sponsored and professional, they’re miniature rock stars whose opinion holds weight, often for good reason, though just as often not; How precisely Mike Arrington continues to have a readership is a mystery, and trust me, I’ve studied the topic.

Oh, what a fanciful world it would be to be one of those glittering diamonds. What a wondrous ideal. The day someone offers me a living wage for doing nothing other than writing is the day I strip naked, pee on a conference table, and dance about the office like a stripper on a coke binge.

But it seems that the best of them would never deign follow the advice espoused by articles such as “How to stop being invisible” or sites such as Problogger. These are the web equivalent of informercials. Lowest-common-denominator thinking. One guy getting rich off telling you how to get rich. And fuck me sideways, they have more readers than I’ll likely ever have.

Write top ten lists and whore yourself on as many other sites as you possibly can. Don’t be thoughtful, long-winded or interesting. Don’t write about what you love, unless what you love is popular on Digg. And for god’s sake don’t even think about writing about more than one topic.

Whether their strategies work or not is slightly beside the point. It’s cheap. It’s marketing driven, instead of content driven. It’s the type of thinking that leads to a sequel to the movie Garfield.

There are only three requirements I’ve ever sussed out from reading excellent sites. Write well, write often, and write with passion. It seems if you can manage that, you’ll find an audience.

Despite the utter-bullshit so much of Anderson’s long tail has proven to be, the core idea that everything finds an audience should be held up and remembered. Clung to fastidiously; A life raft for the ignored, for the invisible.

If you’re worth reading, someone will read you. If you’re worth watching, someone will watch you. If you’re worth hearing, someone will listen.

And if all else fails, give advice.

It’s remarkably easy.