Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Oct. 8
- Community Blog
- Earth, Fire, and Water
Blogs: Who Reads 'Em?
Having spent quite some time on the Reader website, for many years as a reader, then a participant, I am winding down, getting tired, allocating my time to other things. It has been an interesting experiment. Here are some things I have noticed, and I solicit your comments, particularly when factual refutation of my observations and (always provisional) "conclusions" are concerned.
I have gotten the impression that, while the best-written material (usually by paid staff) draws a lot of comment, the average blog like this, if read at all, garners few responses. This may be a reflection of the quality of the writing (there have been notable exceptions, but even they get little attention from the Reader's readers). It may be that readers are too busy, and stick to the professionals. But maybe they are too tired and too busy too--to bother commenting. Maybe they do like I will now do most of the time--continue to read my favorite staff-written material, but be much more selective in my "clicking."
One of the best features on the website--I only noticed it recently, is the "50 most recent blog posts" and "50 latest story comments." This has been simultaneously a great facilitator of scanning and a big time-sink.
So, fellow bloggers, if you see a big drop in my comments (many will no doubt breathe a huge sigh of relief), don't conclude that I have stopped reading you, or that I "don' love ya no more." Back in the last century, I used to do a few "opinion" pieces for newspapers (New York Times, Los Angles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, others via "wire," and even the San Diego Union &/ Tribune), but I have stopped that practice, in part since the latter newspaper didn't even send me a tear-sheet, much less the few bucks that I used to get, for the last piece they printed.
Even in those days, responses were very scarce, and I used to worry about that. I came to realize that most people who do read your stuff never comment on it, and you do make an impact--if your stuff is the stuff of substance, not just idle musings. Readers are brutal critics. As they should be. Despite data to the contrary, journalists can't be prima-donnas.
Now, the cup runneth over. Everybody and his or her brother or sister can slap out a comment without licking a stamp and addressing an envelope. Editing is almost passé, although the worst responses can be deleted by the editors.
So blog on, brothers and sisters, and let the devil take the hindmost! Even if it's about next to nothing. The Internet and its sites will mature someday.