A Pile of Dog Bones

“In each of us two natures are at war… the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, but one of them must conquer. In our own hands lies the power to choose. What we want most to be we are.” – Dr. Henry Jekyll

Monday, December 18, 2006

When Is A Personal Blog Too Much About Business?

Due to being named Time's Person of the Year, its neverending calendar of engagements, and being home with a stomach flu, the multi-day post I had been planning is all right here... so just When Is A Personal Blog Too Much About Business? Read on to find out...

So I found an interesting post last week on the topic of When Is A Blog Too Personal? over at The Intuitive Life Business Blog. Does it seem that reading TILBB is a little out of place for me? Well yeah... it is. Of course it was spurred on with a phone conversation I had with Miss Ann.

It has always been my contention that females dominate the blogosphere. Most blogthings are female oriented, most pre-made designs are female oriented, and most comment sections seem to be female dominated. She said she had read somewhere that in reality, the blogosphere is dominated by male bloggers. In fact, while I found no hard statistics, I did find a number of posts about how female bloggers are trying to garner attention... so I tend to think that there is indeed truth to that statement.

So I decided to try and find my lost brethern... the male blogger. Oh sure there are quite a few like Avitable, Billy, Dave and Rocky to name a few, that I do indeed read and as far as I can tell are all men. Yet for whatever reason I get the constant feeling that for every 1 male blog there are around 6 female bloggers out there. Now I assure you, I am not complaining about this fact. However, as Miss Ann pointed out, it isn't so much the sex of the blogger but rather the TYPE of blogs that we read which would lead me to this erroneous conclusion.

So I searched out some other blogs to see who exactly is writing them. TILBB is one of those blogs I found, and the blogger is in fact a male. In fact there is a plethora of blogs out there authored by men! I bet you're wondering why I never noticed them before, aren't you?

Probably because watching paint dry is more exciting than reading these blogs. Really. I kid you not. For whatever reason the vast majority of them bore me to tears. Their designs are so... bland. They seem so sterile and stuffy its almost surreal to know that such things could exist in this colorful flamboyant world. As for the content, well the tech blogs can be kind of cool... but they talk about things I will probably not be able to get my hands on for years, if at all. Hell, I'm still waiting to get my Segway. Political blogs generally bore me because all they are is the same old propaganda in a new format. The news blogs, well I do read Gothamist... but I haven't found anything else anywhere near as interesting or well written. Blogs written by advertising people, businesses, or even some writer's are generally always trying to sell you something in each and every post. If I wanna buy it, I will. No need to shove it down my throat every single post.

So what blogs do I read? Well... I read the personal ones of course. As anti-social as I may be, well I think it is basic human instinct to require interaction with other people. The internet is a great place for people like me... we can socialize when we want and when we don't we press the off button.

I know I've drawn the ire of some people before because I am pro-forums and they seem so 1990, but a forum like Did I Say That? to me is like a virtual bar without the bill in the end. You go and have access to a whole bunch of people. Conversations fly left and right... and generally everyone knows your name. Hell, I got a shitload of cool holiday cards from everyone over at DIST. It is now safe to say my forum friends outnumber my real life ones.

Want a more personal interaction like a quiet dinner at home? Enter the personal blog. They speak their mind, you speak yours in comments, and move on. Of course in a way personal blogs are also like speed dating because there are other people having that quiet dinner with the blogger... but that to me is a great way to find other people to have dinner with. Generally, all the people you visit are like-minded with you in one way or another. Sure you may have differing opinions on some things, but for the most part you would find yourself in agreement. There are those who you may visit specifically because you are not like minded and enjoy the power of debate, but that's an entirely different story.

What drives the personal blogger is that they indeed have something to say. Sure there are times what they are saying is driven by what's happening in the world around them, but usually it involves the world they are actually in that everyone else tends to overlook. Let's face it, the current news outlets cover the major stories that THEY deem as important. Do they ask us what we think is important? Nope. Does this mean that what we think is important isn't important to anyone else on the planet? Nope. Chances are someone else cares about the exact same thing... and it provides an opportunity to get to know someone you may not have known in any other way a little bit better.

In my FOAD Post from last week, the lovely Miss Britt commented that I explained the best reason why we as personal bloggers blog. I think she means these two lines:
We put ourselves out there to meet like minded people who we find interesting and can relate to. We do it because we have something to say.
How else would someone who lives in New York City truly get to know a Kentucky bred Californian lip gloss addict, a future "Crazy old dog lady" from West Virginia, a Massachusetts hot latina, a future journalist in merry old England, or a woman of the world with more common sense in her pinky than most people have in their entire bodies? It is through the personal blogs that we get to know others better and become not only more educated about them but their ideas as well.

It is the part about having something to say that made me transform the question that When Is A Blog Too Personal? asked to When Is A Personal Blog Too Much About Business?

We've all seen the AdSense ads. We've seen some sort of ad agency named Performancing. There is PayPerPost and ReviewMe, the services that will pay bloggers for their posts or videos. Most recently we have seen the monetizing of RSS Feeds. We have seen all of this, on personal blogs. In the past it really hasn't bothered me, until I read the article at TILBB. If there is a problem with personal posts on business blogs, and the potential that you will lose a client because of these personal posts, then it has to be vice-versa with personal blogs losing readers because of the blatant advertising, right?

In literally breaking news, PayPerPost now requires their bloggers to disclose the sponshorship of a paid post. I wonder if their decision has anything to do with the discovery and backlash Sony has faced with their phony blog which they just recently closed down.? This is because of the nature of the blogs that they created... personalized marketing tools trying to appeal to people as other people when in reality they are corporations. Both of these actions are noteworthy in the type of backlash it has caused... because it is only a matter of time before this same backlash reaches out and smacks the Personal Blogger who has decided to shirk their personal posting in favor of product placement or ads in every nook and cranny.

What I find to be more horrid are the personal bloggers who will respond to a post like this with, "Well its my blog and I'll make money off of it if I want to!" type of attitude. Sure, it is your blog and you can do with it as you please, but you are also transparent in your insincerity of blogging for yourself or your readers, whichever one you claim to blog for. It has to be one or the other because otherwise you would not be a personal blogger. Which then makes you a professional blogger and as you can see from the other article, you'll be losing money if you keep up with the personal posts. Quite the quagmire you've just found yourself in isn't it? Face the fact... your personal blog has become too much about business and making money, and maybe you can save yourself. It is no longer whatever you originally intended it to be but what you make of it is still in your hands. No matter which way you go, you're either alienating readers, advertisers, or yourself. The choice, like your blog, is yours.

Here's the thing about personal blog readers. We're a fickle bunch. We put it out there in either our own blogs or your comments... and to a degree those we read need to as well... or we stop reading. You can place 900 ads on your blog, but if no one is reading them the advertisers will not be paying you. In fact, they will not be paying any personal blogger after a period of time where there is little to no return. I tend to think that period in time will be in about 2 years or so. That's just a guess based on none other than Time's Person of the Year announcement. Money and attention will be poured into us for the next year and a half but then reality will set in with the numbers. It's another dotcom bubble... one that will probably burst when those advertising dollars go to the stuffy and sterile professionally established in the blogosphere... or to social networking sites like MySpace and FaceBook.

When that does happen... and tumbleweeds blow through personal blogs inundated with worthless ads like ghost towns of the wild west... there will still be personal bloggers just like there are still personal websites today. We'll have lived through the "blogger boom" to tell about it in stories to our readers... who because we did not sell our souls, colorful templates or flamboyancy to become stuffy, sterile, or professional for a dollar that will undoubtedly drop in value at some point so you will still need another job... will continue to read us simply because we are who we claim to be. I have dibs on Obnoxious New York City EMT.
Posted by New York City's Watchdog :: 12/18/2006 02:48:00 PM :: :: 4 Bones Added to the Pile

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