January 29, 2015

At some point, it's got to end.

I think, after adding an update to yesterday's post about Andrew Sullivan's quitting blogging. I've been going for 11 years — less than Sullivan's 15 — but I know that blogging only works because the spirit is there. You have to thrive on the intrinsic energy of the writing itself. When the magic is gone, you can't do it, if you really know what blogging is. If you bring other people in to do it for you, then it's not your blog anymore. Maybe those other people — and Sullivan had brought in other people — can take off and become real bloggers in their own right, but if they're keeping "your" blog going and your spirit of blogging is depleted, it's over, and in the name of The Spirit of True Blogging, you should face that fact, stop, and move on into a life that does have intrinsic meaning for you.

Now, obviously, there are other things in the form of the blog that people are using to make money or to affect politics. Commerce and propaganda. Fine. That's something that can be done too, but it's not true blogging. When you have those other motives, you can proceed without the spirit. You have your incentives. You don't need the intrinsic value.

50 comments:

Heartless Aztec said...

And then who would I wake up with in the morning Althouse? Drudge? We've been together a long time now over coffee and surf reports. I like our routine.

Bob Ellison said...

What would be the Spirit of True Commenting? Or the Spirit of True Trolling, or the Spirit of Too Many Beers Tweeting?

wildswan said...

I really hope you keep the energy.

But while we are on the subject I might mention that perhaps bloggers as whole are starting to get ahead of the culture, to form it at times, instead of just responding to it. That's a different space.

Curious George said...

"At some point, it's got to end."

That's true of everything.

pm317 said...

At some point it ends with flogging.

Wince said...

"At some point, it's got to end."

Oh no, not one more Andrew Sullivan screed on circumcision.

pm317 said...

Well, you survived the moderation-gate and you are here to stay.

pm317 said...

IMHO, I think you use your blogging energy judiciously.. You don't write long commentary for every post and generating original content for every post is mentally tiresome. Just putting up an excerpt you think is interesting and letting us have at it in the comment thread perhaps conserves your blogging energy.

Laslo Spatula said...

I find it amazing that you do this everyday without using any posts showing the naked breasts of women or sexy celebrities.

For instance: if you were to do six posts in a day but two were pictures of Scarlett Johansson and one was of Taylor Swift then you'd have cut your workload in half.

I am Laslo, and I am here to help.

Oso Negro said...

Like others, I used to read Andrew Sullivan and Charles Johnson before the change came over them. Andrew retiring gave me pause to reflect on how long I have been reading blogs and the arc of the writers that I follow. I have been reading only Althouse and Instapundit for a long time now. I get the news from Drudge. Sooner or later all of these will come to some sort of an end. One is born, one dies, the land increases.

pm317 said...

Now how about a little blogging attention to this piece? Make a note of the actor/players there -- all while male and lefty liberal. These are the people who voted and funded Obama. How do you like them apples, girls? War on Women is just a phrase even for lefty liberals.

rehajm said...

That point arrives much quicker once you realize your monetary expectations were wildly unrealistic.

Laslo Spatula said...

'Bikini-Meade-Mondays': every Monday you can do picture posts of Meade modeling various bikinis.

I'm sure the women in the audience would love it. And some of the men, no doubt.

I am Laslo, and I'm here to help.

Heartless Aztec said...

Share a blog with Meade. That would be fun and it would take the everyday pressure off. Three days each and a shared Sunday together.

Jane the Actuary said...

Me, I've been blogging for a year and a half, and I'm not going to get philosophical about the "Spirit" of blogging or any some such thing.

I'm finding that blogging suits me, because it replaces time spent engaging in fruitless comment-section arguments, or letters-to-the-editor that never got published anyway, and provides a way to get my thoughts "out there" when my friends and neighbors aren't particularly political. Heck, it makes it a lot easier to ignore the nonsense political posts of my "facebook friends," although my one friend who used to post leftist stuff constantly that I couldn't resist countering, pre-blogging, ended up de-friending me anyway. (She was a close friend many years ago, but has since gone off the deep end -- she probably loves the Little Green Footballs' leftist zeal of the convert.) It's too bad, really, because the sorts of things she posted would probably now provide really great material -- for mocking, anyway.

Anyway, the difficultly is that, much as I say I have sensible reasons for blogging irrespective of the number of readers, it seems a silly activity without readers, and hunting for readers is challenging and, well, tacky, at the same time.

So: how did you build up your readership? And how did your perspective on blogging change as your readers increased, and the comments grew? (It would be interesting, but rather time-consuming, to read more of your early blogging than the snippets I did the other day.)

Oso Negro said...

Laslo, old man, you are off your game today! Meade in bikini? Everyone knows it would be Meade in shorts.

Oso Negro said...

Titus, of course, would likely prefer Meade in lederhosen.

chillblaine said...

I think blogging is a terrific medium. Sometimes I think of my dumb blog as a "two minute hate," in which I write to please myself.

I feel Twitter is changing things with its 140 character limit. People's attention spans are being conditioned downward. It's becoming a "two-second hate." If you can't say it in 140 characters it almost becomes TL:DR.

This blog is a treasure. I said it a few days ago. Nothing else like it on the internet, with the thoughtful original content, not just links, and insightful commentary.

Roger Sweeny said...

"At some point, it's got to end."

I hope not soon. The great evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr was writing books until just before his end at age 100.

Anonymous said...

Althouse has become a conditioned reflex with me. Grab the morning brew and aim the mouse at the link..

Would take some retraining if it were gone.

I was an early AS fan until his unfortunate mental breakdown.

Carol said...

Funny how newspaper blogs and blogs created up by political operatives always suck. The pols know they need bloggers on their side but their angle is just so boring to any real blogger.

As soon as real bloggers consciously try to "help" one side or the other, they suck too.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Andrew Sullivan isn't quite finished. I suspect he's going to write a book of essays, which he'll first publish in someplace like The New Yorker or The New Republic.

It would seem natural to blog while writing those essays, but he wouldn't need a staff to do that.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Laslo, old man, you are off your game today! Meade in bikini? Everyone knows it would be Meade in shorts."

1. 'Bikini-Meade-Mondays' sounds better.

2. I don't think I want to see Meade's nipples.

2A. Not that I think there is anything wrong with Meade's nipples, I just don't need to see them.

2B. Unless they are erect and poking through wet fabric.

2C. On second thought, I think pint #2 pretty much covers it.


I am Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

"Now how about a little blogging attention to this piece?"

That's the one that — looking at Memeorandum this morning — I feel I'm supposed to blog. I have some resistance to that. I mean... Newsweek. I have some ideas about that illustration on the cover, but my intuition is: bullshit. Newsweek is trying to get in on a much-discussed subject and is just going to dish up some anecdotes and summarize things already known without shedding any new light. I have 4 issues that I think should be discussed. I told them to Meade and asked him if he's reading the story -- which he seemed to be -- to check out whether I'm right that Newsweek never addresses any of them.

Laslo Spatula said...

Meade in a bikini, frolicking in the snow with Zeus: that says 'Wisconsin' to me.

I am Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

"Share a blog with Meade. That would be fun and it would take the everyday pressure off. Three days each and a shared Sunday together."

Meade has his own blog. It's about dogs. He doesn't want to write on my blog or have anything like what I'm doing here. He does back me up in a million ways that make life for me so much easier.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Bryson never hiked the whole thing.

He cooked up some justification at the end for why that was okay.

I don't remember what it was.

Ann Althouse said...

"It would seem natural to blog while writing those essays, but he wouldn't need a staff to do that."

Yeah, maybe there will be a revival of the original dark blue blog. Go old school!

Marc said...

All things come to an end, sure, but I hope AA remains interested, and able to continue, for many years. Apart from news sites and NYRB-- I was thinking of this after yesterday's AS posts-- and the occasional article or post that someone else links to, this blog represents one of only a couple habitual, daily online outings into the mostly secular world.

And I recently learned that my sister is also a daily reader; two quite different 'demographic profiles'.

Ann Althouse said...

"Bryson never hiked the whole thing. He cooked up some justification at the end for why that was okay. I don't remember what it was."

Ha ha. That's one of my most-listened-to audio books. It was the book that was playing through my under-the-pillow speaker when I woke up this morning.

In the end, he says something like: The thing is, I hiked the Appalachian Trial. He had all the experiences that are to be had, mostly... didn't get to Mount Katahdin, didn't see a bear... but all the basic stuff happened... and he was a will forever be A Mountain Man.

It's like Scott Walker saying: I went to college. Didn't get to the end. Didn't get his Mount Katahdin Degree, but he did have the college experience and he can say I was and will forever be A College Man.

Well, not the "will forever be"... but who wants to forever be A College Man. Nobody!

Ann Althouse said...

At the very least, I want to stay on to see how the arc of the Story of Scott Walker plays out. That's been such a blog trip.

It's fun to follow a story over a period of years -- the story of Barack Obama, notably. The Meade and Me Story has been the best one for me, of course.

On any given day, it's happenstance, a mix, but it's cool the way some things form big stories over time. Also the way things that aren't stories at all keep recurring... like men in shorts.

Freeman Hunt said...

"At some point, it's got to end."

As regards this blog, I desire to live in denial of that until the time comes. (And may it never come!)

MadisonMan said...

I hope there's a big party at the end of the blog.

Lawcruiter said...

I've commented maybe three times in 5 years, but it would be hard to imagine not having your blog to drink my coffee to. Keep going!

Meade said...

Laslo Spatula said...
"1. 'Bikini-Meade-Mondays' sounds better."

Trigger warnings, Laslo. Trigger warnings.

pm317 said...

He doesn't want to write on my blog or have anything like what I'm doing here.

I think that is smart.

pm317 said...

That's the one that — looking at Memeorandum this morning — I feel I'm supposed to blog. I have some resistance to that. I mean... Newsweek. I have some ideas about that illustration on the cover, but my intuition is: bullshit.

Yeah, summary of the article -- all silicon valley VCs are perverts and into porn and do not treat women highly. My grouse is that these are all mostly lefty liberals and there is the rub. If I blogged about it, it would be to show the lefty hypocrisy. The anecdote of two women entrepreneurs trying to raise money for their startup is underwhelming, their idea that is. I would not put money on it.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

On April 1st of last year, we mothballed our blog after exactly 15 years. We did so because of a combination of things-- we were devoting more time to other matters and we were "burned out." Five years ago, it would have been inconceivable to quit blogging. But the time seemed right.

And, kinda like Sullivan, we wanted to harvest the material from those 15 years and write a second book.

So far, it's working out. Initially, though, it was like losing a friend. We'll always have those 15 years.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Hmm. I just plowed my way through that entire Newsweek article (contributions to my recovery fund can be made over there). Almost completely alien to my own experiences as a SV native, engineer, and small investor, but nonetheless it's a real issue.
For example, I think there were no women-led companies in the last batch of 50 applying to my network.

Ann Althouse said...

"and he was a will forever be A Mountain Man"

That should read: "and he was and will forever be A Mountain Man."

Laslo Spatula said...

"Trigger warnings, Laslo. Trigger warnings."

I thought my name at the start of a comment served as a trigger warning.

I am Laslo.

cubanbob said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Now how about a little blogging attention to this piece?"

That's the one that — looking at Memeorandum this morning — I feel I'm supposed to blog. I have some resistance to that. I mean... Newsweek. I have some ideas about that illustration on the cover, but my intuition is: bullshit. Newsweek is trying to get in on a much-discussed subject and is just going to dish up some anecdotes and summarize things already known without shedding any new light. I have 4 issues that I think should be discussed. I told them to Meade and asked him if he's reading the story -- which he seemed to be -- to check out whether I'm right that Newsweek never addresses any of them.

1/29/15, 9:24 AM

Just remember Newsweek was sold for a buck and that was overpaying. Stick to what you have built which works rather well and leave the no-talents to their own devices. You have the touch that few have; a blog that isn't a one theme blog and appeals to a wide variety of readers. And thank you for your blog. I read it almost everyday and almost always find something interesting.

FullMoon said...

Ann Althouse said... [hush]​[hide comment]

At the very least, I want to stay on to see how the arc of the Story of Scott Walker plays out. That's been such a blog trip.

The first Walker election brought me here, a link from a forgotten source. I soon realized, hey, this is a pretty good blog, for a girl.

RE: continuity. At the top of the page is a link to another, always random blog. Rarely are they current. Each started with enthusiasm, most abandoned years ago. Kinda like those empty brand new chinese cities.

Anonymous said...

Ha! No surprise there. Most readers can tell you've only been in it for the money for a long time now.

Every time you re-post a Nazi flag it is obvious your spirit has given up and you are instead just begging for clicks on the Amazon portal.

Birches said...

You and Taranto---may you keep the Spirit forever.

Birches said...

@ Jane the Actuary

You got an instapundit mention, I noticed. That has to help.

Original Mike said...

"At the very least, I want to stay on to see how the arc of the Story of Scott Walker plays out. That's been such a blog trip."

There's your mission, people. You need to get Scott Walker elected. To two terms.

Smilin' Jack said...

Well, not the "will forever be"... but who wants to forever be A College Man. Nobody!

I certainly do. I intend to stay in the ivory tower for the rest of my life. The real world sucks. People who say I should get out in the real world remind me of those zombies in "I am Legend", trying to lure Robert Neville out of his house.

sonicfrog said...

My ten year anniversary for Sonicfrog.net just came and went. Sullivan was more than any other the reason I started.

At some point, like many others commenting here, he lost me too. It wasn't his turn against GW that did it - I kind of got that. His man-crush on Obama was just bizarre. He became so blind to so many of the Presidents misteps - "Meep Meep" and all that - It kind of made me sad sometimes.

But I still read him, because when he wasn't loving Obama, he still has some excellent posts and interesting things to say.

I'll miss the Dish. But I suspect he'll surface somewhere else before too long. I've pondered quitting a number of times, but when you love to write.... You can't leave the keyboard alone for long.

ken in tx said...

Ann, please have a succession plan. Don't leave your followers standing in bewilderment, staring at the end of the pavement. Good CEOs have a succession plan. Think of Johnny Carson introducing Jay Leno.