Chris Chase the Determined Blogger of the Future?

(Wikimedia Commons: Cortega9)

Online journalists take a special kind of abuse, especially when they willingly throw around controversial opinions like elbows.  CJR discusses Chris Chase, who they dub “the most hated blogger in America.” Chase, 31, a former elementary school teacher, writes about sports differently than other sportswriters (if you want to call Chase a sportswriter instead of that derogatory term “blogger”).  He writes, for instance, about Tim Tebow’s muscles.

“Chris Chase is the Nickelback of sportswriters,” one of Chase’s critics wrote.  “He is this polarizing force of terribleness that no one can get rid of.”

While print journalists have always insulted each other, the Internet gives us the opportunity to field abuse from the hoi polloi. Abuse, you might say, has no constructive purpose. The complaint about the blogosphere has always been that it allows for too many feeble writers to spout off at will. But perhaps Internet trolling helps to weed out those “bloggers” who don’t have Chase’s fortitude. After all, solid journalism comes in no small part from determination.

Excuse Me, Will You Please Visit My Blog…

No thanks. This is the tacit response you’ll get invariably for your invite if you’re an individual blogger. Believe me; nobody is interested to read your blog posts except you, yourself. As you’re always looking for a few eyeballs, you’ve to virtually drag and drop visitors to your blog. But it’d be interesting to see how this new book “The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging” by the editors (including Arianna Huffington) of the Huffington Post will help you learn blogging and get some traffic. [I wrote this article in December 2008.]

You’d have heard the term quite often and many of you would have ventured into the blogging world, but there’s no new rocket science involved in blogging. Rather, blogging is just another herd phenomenon on the web like you’ve seen for social networks. As now you get free blog space, you always had free web space on services like GeoCities to write anything you want. Blogs are nothing but small websites in the shared domains.

Though it’s as difficult to count the number of bloggers on the web as it’s to count the number of crows in a town, by some ballpark estimates, for every 10 Internet users in the world, at least one is a blogger. As there are about 1 billion Internet users, you can expect around 100 million blogs, including active and sleeping ones. In fact, bloggers are like stars, stars in the sky – now they exist; now they don’t…when you open your eyes. And like stars, they keep appearing and disappearing. So let’s not get into the numbers.

While most of these blogs are in a state of deep coma, the blog hosting sites will keep counting them to ostensibly show their own strength. There are others, which hardly get visitors. You won’t believe, some bloggers would visit their own blogs a dozen times a day to see their posts that they write at the rate of one or two per week. If they’re lucky enough they’ll get their wife’s, son’s, granny’s, or neighbour’s support. And all these supporters would look at everything on the computer monitor except the blog write-up to which they’re specially invited. If there’s no other ray of hope, the bloggers won’t hesitate to tell about their new pursuit to even their washerman, milkman, or even the housemaid.

Some proponents argue that blogs give voice to commoners. Yes, agreed; but mostly their own ears are ready to hear that voice. Don’t think I’m exaggerating, but it’s easier to conquer the Mount Everest than getting some meaningful pageviews for your blog.

For most individual bloggers, it’s extremely difficult to survive in the blogosphere. Nobody is interested to read them because they lack discipline, their sources are shady, they don’t have control on language, they’re irregular, and so on. Writing is an art, and writing for the masses is a scientific art, which all can’t master – even after reading the books. To succeed, you need a lot of patience, passion, practice, deep subject knowledge, and plenty of reading. Only then you can hope to become a good writer to attract some readers.

After uploading a small video clip created with your personal camera on a free hosting site like YouTube, you can’t say that you’re ready to become a Hollywood director. Similarly, you can’t get the qualities of a professional journalist by writing a few posts on a free and freewheeling blog.

As this so-called “social media” has become a kind of “chaos media,” it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the serious readers to cut through the clutter and get some genuine information.

So what’s the lesson? The mass social media in its current form just can’t challenge the traditional media. There are only a handful of blogs that get regular visitors. You can call them blogs, but they’re actually full-fledged websites run by groups of professional journalists or writers.

If people are reading Reuters’ blogs, for instance, they’re not reading them because they’re blogs but they’re interested because they’re created by Reuters. That way, tomorrow if a popular media property like Reuters decides to write on flying balloons, people will fly in the air to read those reports. That’s the power of content. If your content is strong, people will come to read it. Then you don’t need any “social” support to get noticed and heard.

So by equating the naïve new media with the respectable traditional media, you can always hoodwink the gullible “learn blogging” book buyers, but you just can’t teach them how to create readable content. And that is the whole point.

Rakesh Raman is the managing editor of My Techbox Online.

This article first appeared in My Techbox Online, at

to anon or not to anon that is the question

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments on all sides of the to anon or not to anon issue. I agree with… well… all of you on the reasons to and not to come out of the bloggycloset. I’m still mulling it, but one of the things I’ve had in the back of my mind is that for those who WANT to find me, it’s not that tough. In fact a little less tough then I realized when a certain (old media) blog directory listed Washwords in its newfangled blog directory, much to my delight, and then… MUCH TO MY HORROR!!!!!, my full name alongside it. No worries, thought I, I’ll just use this handy-dandy “click here to email” mistakes thingy – but [Read more…]