February 4, 2010
gapingvoid’s thoughts on blogging, 2010
It’s been a while since I last wrote about blogging to any great length, but here are some random thoughts, in no particular order:
1. Blogs work SUPERBLY if you have great content. It’s when they don’t that people bitch & moan about the medium. That was true ten years ago, when I started blogging, and it’s still true today.
2. Great content is really, really hard to make. That’s why so few blogs have it, but that’s not the medium’s fault. The same is true for any other media.
3. It’s OK to sell something on your blog. We’ve all got a living to make. Besides that, your blog is your own personal property. If people don’t like your content– whether it’s selling something or not– there’s no law saying they have to read it. They can go somewhere else. When people complain about my own blog’s long-running commercial agenda, I just think, “Dude, you’re about a decade too late. That ship sailed A LONG time ago.” Besides, I LIKE selling stuff via the blog. Sure beats making cold-calls.
4. No, I’m not keeping up with your blog. Like a good friend said to me a couple of years ago, “Man, I don’t even have time to read the blogs of my good friends anymore.” Ditto with me. Heck, it’s hard enough keeping up with my good friends’ Twitter streams.
5. Time to quote Shirky again: “So forget about blogs and bloggers and blogging and focus on this — the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast.” -CLAY SHIRKY in 2004.
6. Facebook? Twitter? Who cares? The latter two are easy. Like I implied earlier, blogging is hard. Writing is hard. Getting other people to read it is the hardest bit of all. “It’s the content, Stupid.”
7. My faith in the power of blogging is still as strong as ever. That doesn’t mean I find it any easier.
8. Focus and Continuity are key. I had so many projects going on these last years, I always found it hard to focus. What was gapingvoid really about? Cartoons? Marketing? Self-promotion? Self-expression? It seemed to change on a daily basis. Now that, besides writing books, my business is pretty much focused on two things i.e. making art and selling it, I feel more calm about it all. And gapingvoid’s new unofficial tagline, “Remember Who You Are”, helps keep me focused on the kind of work I want to be making long-term, and why.
9. No, it’s not too late to start blogging. “But the Blogosphere is so crowded now, it’s too late to get first-mover advantage”, I hear you say. Perhaps. But it’s only crowded in the middle and the bottom. There’s always plenty of room at the top. People’s need to be informed and inspired by the good stuff is insatiable. But, as I implied, it has to be good, it has to be more than good in order to get there. Nobody has time for mediocre drek. The world is just too interesting and competitive now.
10. I don’t intend to quit blogging any time soon. It’s become a central part to what I do, that’s just reality. I’ve pretty much always done my own thing on gapingvoid, making it up as I go along. Some stuff gets traction, some gets ignored, that’s just the nature of the beast. The only big change I’ve made to my shtick recently is that I no longer post new cartoons on the blog, just old ones. You can find out why here.
There are 100 million blogs out there already, so a big Thank-You for reading this one. Seriously. Rock on.
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