November 26, 2006

The new "blog magazine" trend.

Stephen Bainbridge is back from his blogging hiatus and has revamped his bloggage into "a blog magazine in three sections." The professional is separated from the personal, and the wine is in another place altogether. Good idea? Personally, I like one blog with mixed topics, but I can see how someone else might prefer to highlight a topic (like wine) and to keep the professional part completely professional. It's likely to be more comprehensible to colleagues, and there probably are some people who would only be interested in following you down one path but not the others. But you lose the surprise of the mix.

Bainbridge keeps his Site Meter private, so we can't see, but it will be interesting for him to see what entry and exit pages people are using. I would expect the personal blog to get the most readers -- it's the one I'm blogrolling -- because culture, religion, and politics interest people so much. If the corporate law blog gets relatively low numbers, he will surely -- and fairly -- assume these are high quality readers, people whose admiration will help him professionally.

Is Bainbridge's way the way of the future? We shall see. It's one way. I think it will appeal to some who blog a lot -- most people can't keep up three blogs -- and who want to write about their professional subject in a style that they worry is not entertaining enough for lay readers or who want to maximize the credit they get for the professional writing they are doing on the blog. It may work as a way to get more of your colleagues to read your blog. Some of them probably don't want to wade through the daily posts to see what you are writing about law.

14 comments:

Dan from Madison said...

ChicagoBoyz just added an interesting feature, a forum to their blog. This allows persons who maybe don't have enough knowledge on a certain topic to post there. I think this will get me more involved over there for sure.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ann,

I think that you do an excellent job at mixing different subjects here, and I think that Reynolds does too at Instapundit, but maybe at a lesser level. It is one of the things that makes your blog so attractive for at least me.

But I would suggest that it is a talent that not all have. I am pretty sure that I do not. Indeed, I would think that you are the exception, rather than the rule.

George said...

His opening splash page should feature headlines or excerpts from each of the three magazines to tempt browsers further in. As is, looks boring. Sorry.

Also, he should lose the photo. Its casualness detracts from what should be an authoritative (and hopefully also fun opening page).

Again, sorry. But I calls 'em as I sees 'em.

Anonymous said...

I'm underwhelmed, but Prof Bainbridge has been getting on my nerves for quite a while now. It's funny because I probably disagree with Ann at least as often as I disagree with Bainbridge, but her style here at Althouse doesn't grate, whereas I think Bainbridge goes out of his way to be abrasive sometimes: If you disagree with me, you must be stupid.

It could just be me, though.

I was disappointed when he broke out his wine-blogging, and now he expects me to visit three different sites? Nope. I do like the idea of excerpting recent posts on the main page to entice the reader to click on -- maybe that would work, I'd just need to check one page to see if there was anything interesting to read on any of sub-sites. But in all likelihood I'll just continue to ignore him.

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon said...

I think it's a mistake. I'm not in the slightest bit interested in reality television, so if Althouse came in "sections", where you could click for the "law" pages, the "politics" pages, the "photography" pages and the "pop culture" pages, I'd probably never even look at the reality television section, and I suspect that other people might take the same approach, with the result that the readership would become more segregated.

It really isn't that difficult to scroll past a post that doesn't capture interest. At most, its presence detracts not at all from the blog, and more importantly, you don't always find interesting stuff where you expect to find it. Sometimes something will be interesting and eye-catching in a post on a subject that one wouldn't otherwise click on. For example: I don't really care at all about Britney Spears or anything she and that travelling circus do, but my eye was caught recently by the "news" (I don't recall if it was here or elsewhere) that her loser ex-husband is blackmailing her with a "sex tape," and Britney fears that her "image" will "suffer." Which I wouldn't care about, but for the fact that it came hot on the heels of a news story that had caught my interest, about an Iranian actress; her loser ex-husband had done much the same thing, except in Iran, he now faced the death penalty (maybe the Iranians have the right idea on that point) and she faced public flogging and possibly execution. On its own, the story was enough, but with the concurrent parallel to Britney, I thought that would make a killer blog post. So sometimes you find stuff that's interesting by virtue of a blog refusing to self-segregate.

In sum, while eclecticism is satisfying from a writer's perspective, it is also a boon from a reader's perspective. And even if one's readership really is terminally lazy, anmd just can't get past reality TV and dumb celebrities, then all of the benefits and none of the problems of the road Bainbridge has taken can be attained with careful use of categories.

Maxine Weiss said...

"I think it will appeal to some who blog a lot -- most people can't keep up three blogs -- and who want to write about their professional subject in a style that they worry is not entertaining enough for lay readers or who want to maximize the credit they get for the professional writing they are doing on the blog. "---Althouse

(Rather long sentence, eh?)

(Some people are above punctuation, and succint thoughts. Can't be bothered!)

Peace, Maxine

Simon said...

Maxine,
The sentence that you quote contains 59 words, and is deficinent by a grand total of one commar. If your complaint alludes to Ann's objection to Glenn Greenwald's prose, then I suppose there is a superficial comparison possible, if we focus purely on word count and set aside the dubious grasp of the written word displayed in Greenwald's writing. The example that Ann gave was a paragraph containing two sentences, one of 68 words, the other (like the sentence of Ann's that you quote) of 59 words. But on closer inspection, that comparison falls apart, because the problem with Greenwald's writing is not only that it turgid, but that it is needlessly so: as Revenant and I demonstrated, the thought that Greenwald was struggling to inarticulately convey in 127 words could easily be expressed in 68 words, or even 23 words, without any loss of significant content. Ergo, for your comparison to hold up, you will need to demonstrate either a more concise phrasing that Ann might have used to express the thought, or a way to split the same statement over two sentences without rendering the whole construction unbearably clunky.

Anonymous said...

Why all this hostility, Maxine? I know I'm not the only one who really doesn't understand why you post the irrelevant and often hateful things you do post here, time after time.

Ann Althouse said...

The sentence is not incorrectly punctuated.

Ann Althouse said...

But don't fret about Maxine. She -- probably he -- is playing a character. I don't know exactly what has motivated him to keep it up for so long -- Glenn (G), is it you? -- but it's been a fairly consistent performance. Still catching all the guys by wearing wool skirts and nylons and driving around in a Lincoln, Maxine?

Anonymous said...

This is a tough crowd, I see. It will be interesting to see how Bainbridge's experiment works out. I'm inclined to believe that it may be the wave of the future of group blogs, particularly those not largely confined to a single subject. I hope it works well for Bainbridge. I can't help thinking it will take him some time to regain his readership after such a long quiet period.

That said, one of the main reasons Althouse is so attractive is the eclectic mix of topics. There is an element of surprise involved, like having your eye caught by an article in a section of a magazine that you might normally overlook. As we all know, some people are better than others at generating the right mix to attract (and keep) the readership they desire to have. Ann does a superb job in this regard.

Thus, to me, Althouse, and blogs like it, are more like general circulation magazines, while Bainbridge is creating a stable of niche market magazines aimed at different but specific markets.

Anonymous said...

Ann - Thanks for the explanation. That reminds me that, I was going to suggest blogger allow theme video/music buttons for comments, and can recommend a pretty good sock puppet video ("numa, numa") if that ever happens.

Simon said...

"The sentence is not incorrectly punctuated."

Surely there's a colorable argument that there should be a commar between "lay readers" and "or who."


"[D]on't fret about Maxine. She -- probably he -- is playing a character.

There's a company called Max Weiss in Wisconsin. Coincidence? Provoke them into sending you an email and compare the source IP address with one of Maxine's comments. ;)