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Cliff Clavin Blogging
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, March 14, 2008

John Hawkins wrote a post, "The Top 10 Reasons Why Bloggers Don't Succeed", and this part stood out to me...
After 7 years of writing about politics, it generally takes me longer to find interesting material to write about than it does to actually write the material. The best bloggers have something to say about the big issues of the day, but they also tend to have a knack for finding unusual stories or angles on those stories that everyone else is missing.

Are you willing to spend the time it takes looking for stories or are you just going to write about whatever is on the Drudge Report today? The answer to that may determine whether you will ever build an audience or not.
It's not just about spending the time to look for unique stories; it's also about doing the research and thought necessary to bring something new to the story. If you're just checking Drudge, Memeorandum, Fark, et al, and throwing it up with a bit of ad hoc punditry, then you're not really doing interesting blogging or adding something of value to the discussion.

A very few bloggers can get away with ad hoc punditry and remain genuinely interesting. The rest are just doing Cliff Clavin blogging...making noise, but adding little value.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Two words:
Glenn Reynolds.

He most certainly is doing ad hoc, anymore, and his traffic seems to suggest he’s getting away with it. (When’s the last time you saw him dive into the full depth of a story?) In that area, the three of you are head and shoulders over Reynolds, in my view. And, dare I say this, so are the comment -creatures.

At the same time, often, there isn’t a whole bunch to add to a story. How many angles, for example, are there on Spitzer? All been said a few thousand times. At that point, in my view it comes down to attitude, and style, that prevents comments from becoming "me, too" more than anything.
Written By: Bithead
Reynolds is in a different category, because of the way people use his site. He usually don’t offer much commentary at all, but people use him to find other things, not to hear his own opinion on each story he links.
Written By: Jon Henke
ehhhh I don’t know there Normy. it’s like this. A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine ! That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
The real question is, how much market demand is there for Drudge, Reynolds, vs serious or even semi-serious commentary? Instapundit fills a niche, and he was the first to successfully fill it. If someone had a better take on what he does, the opportunity is there for the taking.

Also, not every story needs a full fledge reporting by a particular blog. I feel, it’s sometimes enough to just point out an under-covered issue.
Written By: Keith_Indy
True, Keith, the last line n particular. I can only speak to Jon’s points, though based on my own experience.

I’ve had marginal success with BitsBlog over the years I’ve been writing it. Not the most successful, certainly, but I’m proud of the following myself (and more recently David and Fers) have managed to build up. My thing has always been to write about things that interest me, things that catch my attention. If it doesn’t ineterest me, for the most part I don’t write about it because it will never come off as interesting to the reader, either. I have not the time, nor the inclination to write about everything that’s moving on a given day. Now, mind, I mey make a short mention of a story... I will often toss off one liners within the Nightly Ramble for example... just to toss the link out there... as in... "I’m watching this and it interests me, but really can’t add much at the moment".. but that’s about it... If I don’t have anything to add, really, I won’t try beyond a brief mention. the Rambles tend to be just that.. a group of brief mentions of things I’ve seen that day. (Admittedly, sometimes I get carried aaway on a topic once I start in on it.)

In that way, it seems to me I’ve met one of Jon’s list of needfuls; If I care about a topic, I’m more bound to write about it with a bit more passion, (IE; Adding somemthing to the discussion) than I would were I trying address all topics in a given day.

Interesting to me... For reasons I don’t wuite understand as yet, I find fairly often that when I make a short mention of a story like that, I do tend to revist it in full, later.

Finally, I look at Blog Hierachies as extended group discussions, and that tends to alter the writing style rather a lot. Simply linking over and writing a short comment about it, relives me, in my view of having to take a line 10 rewrite approach to every story. I tend to assume taht peope are actually reading the links I put up and so are at least marginally aware of the story I’m writing to. Saves a lot of trouble, and don’t treat the reader like an idiot. Someone new to blogs wouldn’t udnerstand that style, I suppose, but I’ve found the regulars understand where it’s coming from.

Enough ramble.
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