The Cost/Return of a Blog and the Reddit Effect

I’ve described why I blog several times previously, including within myveryfirst blog-style entry back on September 4th (this blog justpassed its 4 month birthday). The motivations are the samemotivations that have pushed me to post online “papers” for about adecade now: Reputation, a bit of an outlet for thoughts (it istherapeutic), and of course to maintain or gain some namespace inthe internet world (which really means PageRank these days), or atleast to avoid namespace loss.

The namespace competition is much more competitive these daysthan it was a few short years ago, with the technical ease ofblogging encouraging a lot of very capable entrants. If you’restand still, then you’re falling behind quickly.

It really has been an uphill battle trying to get my thoughtsnoticed, but I’m finally at a remarkable point where I post something — something written late at night in a briefinterlude between ending “real work” for the night and hitting thehibernate button — and discover that many thousands ofvisitors have passed through the next day. Often something makesits way onto the meme sites courtesy of one of the readers who thinks it’s worthsharing (thank you kindly to those good folks). That’s pretty neat,and is very rewarding.

The Reddit Effect

It’s especially satisfying given that I seldom spend more than 3hours on an entry, even on the longerpieces, usually spreading it out over several days. On anaverage entry — for instance the spellingentry (which also saw many thousands of visitors per day), orunderstandingdaylight savings time — I spend approximately 30 minutes,going back on re-reads to clean up the flow. There are alsocoffee-break length entries like this one.

I usually have the general concept fermenting in my mind for awhile, and I type quitequickly so it’s really just a process of transcribing it outand dealing with the technical errata (like Radio Userland’spropensity for being overly helpful).

To make them a bit more visually appealing, I tend to take a fewmore oddball pictures during day to day activities than I normallywould, but that’s fun and is hardly a chore.

Entries are often much more readable after about a week, and ifblogs had a wiki-style history you would see constant minor wordingchanges and paragraph reworks.

The few pieces that have earned considerable attention havebeen real eye-openers, and in some ways they encourage one tomove to the dark side: It’s very easy to see, for instance, exactlythe type of content that earns a lot of attention, and it would beterribly easy to write pandering pieces, saying everythingthat the crowd wants to hear, and that which they want restated(which is what many use the popularity-measuring sites for — topush their own agenda by promoting sites that state their opinion,and by silencing dissenting opinion by punishing those that don’t.Look at Slashdot commentmoderation as a great example of this).

It has been a great experience, and I greatly appreciateeveryone who stops by. Thank you very much for a moment of yourtime.