I'm just a cog in the old blog slog
Blogging's harder than it looks, writes history professor and author David Greenberg in today's NY Times piece entitled "Blogging, as in slogging."
Well, I could have told him that, if he'd ever asked me. I found that out when I started doing it myself.
Before I started blogging, I had no absolutely idea what it entailed. I certainly haven't mastered the genre, and I'm still in awe of those who have. What you see on a blog is merely the tip of the iceberg. As Greenberg says, with only slight exaggeration:
Creating your own idiosyncratic set of villains to skewer and theories to promote - while keeping readers interested - requires as much talent as sculpting a magazine feature or a taut op-ed piece...By the end of the week, with other deadlines looming and my patience exhausted, I began to post less and less...To succeed in blogging you need to understand it's a craft, with its own tricks of the trade. You need a thick skin. And you must put your life on hold to feed an electronic black hole.
But blogging is also, as Greenberg fails to say, a labor of love for most of us, one that can offer great rewards--although, except for a rarefied few bloggers inhabiting the upper reaches of the ecosystem, certainly not financial ones.
Greenberg's blogging experience--the one on which this NY Times piece was based--was a guest stint for Daniel Drezner. Perhaps that's the key to why his experience was so disillusioning. He was asked to do it. For him, blogging wasn't a labor of love, nor was it a medium to which he was especially drawn. It was just a gig he got, almost by accident. But it's like one of those movies in which a kid and a parent magically exchange bodies--the experience of walking a few miles in someone else's shoes leads to a far greater appreciation of the work involved in the hike.