December 10, 2008

Random Nerdiness...

I don't know about y'all, but I started reading sports blogs back in the dark medieval internet days of late 2005. Back then, you still had your Deadspin, and probably some of the other big boys out there today, which was kind of your prototypical sports blog - covering the entire sports landscape. But as these interwebs have evolved, and more and more people have heard that you can allegedly make money by starting a blog, things have gotten pretty saturated. And by "pretty saturated," I mean it's become a cluster[eff].

You've got your splogs (spam + blogs), your blog networks (a few of whose bloggers I'm quite friendly with and whose writing I thoroughly enjoy), your smaller, independent blogs (most of which die a quiet death after a month or two), and more and more you're seeing the MSM getting in on the action.

So it's not surprising to hear some people proclaim that "blogs are dead."

But I'd like to add my opinion into the mix, if I may.

I understand the thought. Like I said above, nowadays there really are way too many blogs that are out there just to make money or ones that have a much more journalistic, and less "personal" tone. But I'm kind of struggling to see how that means that "blogs are dead?"

If you read the Wired piece, one of the things the editor mentions in making his point is that - "it's almost impossible [for a blog] to get noticed, except by hecklers." And maybe that is true, but I think that notion assumes that everyone who blogs is doing it just to get noticed. There is, of course, a degree of truth to this, in the sense that for many of us bloggers, this thing isn't a diary. We want interaction, which innately requires being noticed. But to assume that anyone who starts a blog just wants to "get noticed," runs counter to the spirit of a blog in the first place (in my opinion).

Blogs are one person's unbiased, unrestrained, and unedited (that part's key) thoughts on whatever it is that they choose to "cover." Sure, there are plenty of people out there who are blogging simply to "get noticed." But a lot of times, a blog like that isn't very good, because the person writing it isn't necessarily emotionally invested in what they're writing. Some may be, for sure. But to me, a blog is a conversation. It's me and you (that's the royal "you", all five of you), talking about something we love, day in and day out - here at OFTOT, that's the Steelers. So what more incentive do I need to keep blogging?

One of the other thoughts put forward by the Wired piece, which followed the previously quoted portion was - "And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter."

So, this is a subjective judgment. For HIM, spending the time to build a "successful" blog isn't worth the payoff. But for some, it is. Case in point - I didn't have but more than one avid reader/commenter for the first six months of this blog's existence (Domski). Of course, it hasn't really grown THAT much since then. But the point is, many blogs come and go. The ones that endure, however, often prove to be the most interesting (except this one, of course).

It takes time to find your "voice" and "style" (and I don't mean reading other blogs and copying theirs). And it takes time and effort to find avenues for promotion, which is one thing that I've admittedly never really spent much time doing (perhaps to my own detriment). If you're not willing to commit that time, you surely won't ever have a "successful" blog. But if you do, you can really enjoy what you've created.

Make no mistake, this shit may look easy - just pounding on some keys all day - but it's not. Ask any blogger you can find and they'll tell you the same. You have off days, off weeks, sometimes off months, during which you can't for the life of you think of anything to write about. Not to mention the fact that most of us have real, full time, 40 hour-a-week, jobs to worry about, and any other family/friend/extracurricular obligations we may/may not have.

I guess what I'm really saying in all this is that, to me, the notion that "blogs are dead" is just as silly as saying "TV is dead." In general, the medium may have become diluted, but you can still find some gems among the morass of editorial fecal matter.

For all I'm concerned, as long as people are writing them and other people are reading them, they are not dead.

Of course, all of this is my own personal opinion, and y'all may or may not care. But it was on my mind. And as blogging goes, that's usually how posts come to fruition.

/end overly philosophical discussion on completely irrelevant and stupid topic

I owe y'all a few brain cells for this one...if you made it past the second paragraph, that is...


random asshole said...

Oh, Cotter, we know you blog for the chicks.

Cotter said...

Shhhh, dude, you're gonna blow my cover!

tecmo said...

There are a LOT of shitty blogs out there. Like 99 out of every 100.

Get Fresh Designs said...

i agree with tecmo there, and i'm in one of the 99 that are shitty.

I'm doing my best to be a spam blog, which this post gave me an idea to be me more of that, i really just want to direct people to my shop.

Cotter said...

I completely agree with both of you (not to mention also counting OFTOT among the 99).

But, hey, if there weren't shitty blogs, wouldn't we appreciate the good ones less?

big TC said...

my head..hurts.. ow..

tecmo said...

I wasn't suggesting anything particular about any specific blog with my last comment...just making note that most blogs are a lot shittier than the writer knows. Too much imitations and regurgetation. Unless you have an original concept, you'll be grouped in with the rest of the bile.

/psamp is NOT in the 99 of 100
//confident blogger
///heats up bagel bites
////asks mom to turn up the heat in the basement

random asshole said...

Shhhh, dude, you're gonna blow my cover!

That's what she said!

Thus continuing my streak of insightful commentary...

Cotter said...

[Insert golf clap here]

You're a model for commenters everywhere, asshole.

shawnk said...

wow...pretty deep post.

I don't think blogs are dead. The Facebooks and Twitters have their place, but good blogs (not like this one) have a place too.

Maybe the dude from Wired wants blogs to be dead so he can switch over to doing Twitter updates only.

Vern said...

I thought blogs were dead until I started one. At first I had no idea what to do but then I eventually realized that you can go above and beyond what you can do on a Myspace/Facebook thing. The problem with it is you don't start out with the audience that you do on a Myspace type platform, full of people who know you and make your writing easier.

It takes a lot more creativity to start a random blog dedicated to no one in particular and with no platform from which to display it. And this is a big ass internet, so if you've got anyone following you, I think you are doing a decent job. And you've got enough followers to consider yourself in that camp, rockstar.

Sean said...

Great post! I think there certainly is a place for blogs, and it is an opportunity for people to share their personal thoughts on a public stage. The blogs that are dead are those that aren't interesting. If you don't have anything to contribute or share, no one will read it.

Anyway, I don't have anything else insightful to write. Nice job!

- 1 of the 99

tiny350Z said...

This was a good post. Even in my relatively hungover state this morning (gotta love holiday parties.)

I've always wanted to have a blog - but can't really think of a topic that I'd want to stay devoted to for that long (kinda like picking a dissertation topic, but on a different level).

And we can't get rid of blogs... what else would i read at work?!

Vern said...

tiny, trust me, you don't need to pick a topic.

Cotter said...

shawn ~ Haha, you kind of echo'd what I was thinking. It's kind of like writing news articles (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) vs. writing a book (blog). You'll notice that a lot of bloggers have now branched out into actually writing books. I feel like this is reflective of an overall trend. I have no doubt that we'll see more and more of this in the coming years. Hell, I'm even working on one (not about the Steelers, though).

vern ~ Thanks, man! I did the Myspace blog thing a while back, myself. But I realized it was the kiddie pool compared to independent blogging (no offense to anyone who blogs on Myspace, if that's your thing, more power to you). I wanted to find other people who loved the Steelers and wanted to talk about the team on a daily basis. That's why, even in the offseason, I try to write as much as possible. For me, "success" was/is to be measured by how much I enjoy the conversations that go on in the comments of this blog. And week in and week out I continue to enjoy those. Probably why I'm willing to overstretch myself to keep it up between work, school and what little personal life I actually have.

sean ~ Amen, brotha! Although there are some resources that allow even the shittiest blogs to get readers. Anyways, I'm sure you're joking about being part of the 99 (like I was), but I thoroughly enjoy your "ramblings." For anyone who doesn't read it, Sean's Ramblings is a great blog full of personality and it's always high up on my daily reading list.

tiny ~ I feel the same way! Although this year, what with the three posts a day format, I have to admit I've been neglecting my blog reading. I think my Google reader has a solid 1000 unread posts. I just can't get to 'em all. But honestly, I get my "news" just as much from blogs as I do from mainstream media. And I'm with Vern. You definitely don't need to pick a topic. Your random thoughts are enough (just look at this post!).

And just to refer to what Tecmo said, as much as I poke fun at myself and OFTOT, I'm confident in doing that because I feel like this is a pretty decent blog. I ramble alot, and some of the topics are hit or miss. But that's just a fact of blogging. Overall, I hope you guys enjoy reading OFTOT and interacting with the rest of the OFTOT "community" as much as I do writing it and interacting with y'all. But, I certainly don't think it's a shitty blog by any means. said...

good post...I agree, I started doing this blog thing because not only do I hope to enjoy that interaction and community but it keeps me in tune with the news each day and makes me a much better fan, which is enough reward.

However, I fear I may be one of the least so far, seeing as how I can't get a comment for the life of me. I guess I'm not provocative enough.

Well, keep up the good work. If nothing else I've enjoyed finding and connecting with all the other Steelers blogs. said...

good post...I agree, I started doing this blog thing because not only do I hope to enjoy that interaction and community but it keeps me in tune with the news each day and makes me a much better fan, which is enough reward.

However, I fear I may be one of the least so far, seeing as how I can't get a comment for the life of me. I guess I'm not provocative enough.

Well, keep up the good work. If nothing else I've enjoyed finding and connecting with all the other Steelers blogs.

Cotter said...

Nah, you know what, a lack of comments doesn't mean your blog is one of the 99. It just means you're still building. No one is an overnight success in this blogging thing, and I've found that many readers, especially Steelers fans, are more reserved. They don't necessarily comment until they feel comfortable. You've gotta build that relationship. And the only way to do that is to keep on keepin' on. A lot of people give up because they don't get any interaction right away. But that doesn't mean people aren't reading it, and it certainly doesn't mean it isn't good. You've just gotta confidently do your thing as if the whole world was reading and hopefully some day they will be. And if not, who cares? As long as you enjoy writing it, that's all that should really matter.

That said, I wouldn't use your URL as your handle. That makes it seem like you're just trying to get people to go to YOUR blog while on MY blog. Being a good neighbor is also important.

Thanks for the comment and keep doing your thing!

Susan said...

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