May 9, 2005

"Hello everyone! This is my first post!! Ever. I've never posted before! Anyway..."

So after all the weeks of waiting, the first posts are up, over at the Huffington Post blog. See that? It's called a link. You might want to learn how to do that. None of the celebrity-type bloggers seem to know how, though some of the columnists can.

Like Max Blumenthal. (Is Max Blumenthal a celebrity? I had to Google to find out who he was.) He linked to an Al Gore speech from last week.

Al Gore gave a speech? I did not know that. Now, with that link, I can go check out the speech for myself. But I didn't feel like it.

Blumenthal offers up a long column on the big "theocracy" problem in America. I glanced over his chunk of pedestrian prose but didn't read it. And the "theocracy" meme is something I'm following. The Al Gore block paragraph as a lead-in didn't exactly excite me. And then Gary Bauer had some response to Gore which Blumenthal found inadequate.

So, the columnist types over there are writing more of their usual columns, the kinds of things that get accepted as they do their normal work in MSM. These would-be bloggers are not -- it seems -- trying to come up with a blog-oriented style.

The celebrities seem to be going on about animals and food. Ellen is concerned about the wild horses. Someone else is interested in cooking spaghetti squash and another, lemon squares. Trying to corner the female blog-reading audience, are we?

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss's husband goes a little political by re-making the most-made joke about the Defense of Marriage Act. Go ahead! Guess what it is!

Nothing particularly clever or pithy coming from the celebs, and there's too much verbiage to give them all a chance. No one seems to have given much thought to how to write a blog. Have they even read other blogs?

38 comments:

Rick Lee said...

I'm somewhat impressed with the quantity on the first day. It'll be interesting to see which ones of the group will keep up the posting. I've always said that if you're not posting at LEAST once a day (barring unusual circumstances) you're not really blogging.

Dirty Harry said...

You are on their blogroll. That should count for something.

I like Larry David's wife (I'm just gonna call her that cuz who would she be without him? Same reason I say "Bill Clinton's wife.") getting all worked up about the SUV commercial: "No one's buying them -- why are they advertising them!"

Uhm, duh.

And no comments? Cowards! Shut them down if things get ugly but to begin with? Guess they like the bubble.

Ann Althouse said...

They should have posted a lot of very short things to get started and done things to get us hooked on them. It's easy to see how a lot of material would be posted on day 1, but on a blog, each new thing goes on top, and everything else is buried. Each celebrity is stepping on top of the previous celebrity.

Ann Althouse said...

Dirty Harry: I know I'm on the blogroll, and with alphebetizing, I'm near the top. So if people get bored and think where else can I go?, there's a great chance they'll click over to me. So am I supposed to be nice to them, lest they de-link me? But if they de-link me now, I'll blog about it.

Meade said...

"Al Gore gave a speech? I did not know that. Now, with that link, I can go check out the speech for myself. But I didn't feel like it."

Wickedly funny!

Dirty Harry said...

I was being sarcastic about the blogroll.

You have to wonder when Tina Brown will start blogging at the site. I hear she's got some time on her hands and she'd fit right in.

Cusack and Ellen are a bit tepid, no? Obituaries and animals?

Huffington needs has-beens unafraid to make fools of themselves. Where's the Baldwins? Any of them? Ted Danson? They're out there, Arianna. Ready to feel relevant again.

Agatha said...

I see no difference between their blogs and your own, Ann. Especially Ellens: give a tiny commentary of your own and link to some story not written by you. That about sums up the majority of your blogging. Nice try with your blogging superiority complex, however.

Adam said...

We've got something about this up on ALOTT5MA now -- basically, that people whose thoughts we weren't interested in otherwise don't become more interesting just because they're in this sphere; celebrity capital means diddly-poo if you've got nothing interesting to say.

Ann Althouse said...

Dirty Harry: I don't get what is wrong with thinning the over-population of wild horses and making them into dog food. I'll bet Ellen loves doggies too. What does the dog eat? Presumably, only animals that don't stir the romantic feelings of sensitive people. If the dogs can't eat the wild horses, they are just going to have to eat something else. But I guess the idea is that the dog ought to eat something that doesn't love the desert wind flowing through its mane.

When Ellen takes the hard positions as well as the soft -- like maybe telling people they shouldn't be keeping dogs -- then I'll be impressed.

Ann Althouse said...

Agatha: Thanks for sharing. I see at least one difference. They don't have comments. Or I could have put my dog-related observation above over there.

Starless said...

A difference could be that they are Hollywood celebrities who have access to all kinds of media outlets with which to express their thoughts. Why was it again that they needed yet another outlet to express their usually narrow, uninformed pet opinions about the world?

Freeman Hunt said...

"give a tiny commentary of your own and link to some story not written by you." -- Agatha

Do you normally read blogs? I ask because your comment would describe most blogging in general. The structure and quantity of commentary is not what makes one blog better than another.

The main difference between Althouse and The Huffington Post is that Althouse is interesting and thoughtful while The Huffington Post. . . well, not so much so much as not.

Dirty Harry said...

Isn't that always the peoblem with animal rights activists: The cute factor? Screw the tuna. Save the dolphin.

There's a study out about how some parents treat homely kids worse than attractive kids. It wouldn't surprise me if those were animal rights activists.

And I love your idea about how being at the top of the blogroll may bring you some hits. I just changed my site name to "Aaalthouse." Hope you don't mind. Of course I still have to solve the whole, "Getting on the blogroll" thing.

Ann Althouse said...

Dirty Harry: Oops, I shouldn't have given away my secret. That reminds me: my ex-husband once wrote a book with a character who adopted the pseudonym "A.A. Aardvark" to try to get attention. But he was a book writer, and ended up in the high upper corner, which was hard to reach. Note that my first and middle names are also "A" names, so I am A.A. Althouse.

Freeman: Thanks. I was thinking "Agatha" was maybe a pseudonym for Arianna -- or someone in the Arianna operation. As I say in my post, I don't think these people read blogs and tried to figure out what kind of writing works for blogging.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

Read David Mamet's first post and ask yourself: Does this guy really write for a living?

He did get in one line that I liked: "There I met people as befuddled as myself about the state of the world, and as confused as to whether or not a vast coup had occurred in our government." I believe you, Dave.

Uncle Mikey said...

Hey, it's not all bad in Huffingtown. I got a kick out of John Cusack's tale of Hunter S. Thompson's funeral. What a great way to remember a once-talented druggie gun nut, by doing liquid LSD and target shooting on the lawn. Good $%&*#@^ Lord.

Dan from Madison said...

I honestly don't think the majority of the celebs on Huffington's site are actually doing the "blogging", rather letting some lackey write the drivel and attach their name to it. My proof? Just a gut feeling. Guarantee 90% of them won't have a second post within a week.

Jeff said...

Another nitpick on their blogroll. Clicking on the Adam Curry link gets you to his old site that hasn't been updated since December. Broken links on a blogroll are an old Althouse gripe, but ther's no excuse for that on the first day up.

Jeff said...

Someone set up a mirror site so the great unwashed can comment on the stuff. http://huffington.isfullofcrap.com/

purple_kangaroo said...

Hmmm, you are making me wonder . . . if the "correct" way to blog is to post a link to something someone else wrote and then write just a very short commentary about it, I must be doing it "wrong" most of the time.

Ann, if you feel that strongly about there being a correct way to blog, maybe you should spend a few posts writing a tutorial for those of us who are relatively new to blogging.

Of course, I blog for myself more than for anyone else, so I may not follow your advice . . . but if you write it I'll promise to read it. :)

Ann Althouse said...

Purple Kangaroo: I don't think there's one absolutely correct way. I myself do several different things, depending on the material. But I do think bloggers should think about how to write for a blog and try to come up with good ideas about how to blog. I have some rules of thumb:

You need to post at least once a day.

You should write in a conversational style -- assuming you're not a boring conversationalist.

Write short sentences, unless you've got a reason not to. Try to be as readable and concise as you can.

Try to say something new or unusual or interesting.

Be funny. Be fair.

Ron said...

and now...Paris on Althouse vs. Huffington

"Intelligent writing and RLC?
instead of vacuous blather from airheads like me?

That's hot!"


Dirty Harry: the animals aren't "cute"; they're "charismatic megafauna" ( a term a biologist gave me when talking about which things we should concentrate on saving. Most of those things turned out not to have charisma, hence the term)

Michael said...

Purple Kangaroo's blog seems very blog-like: conversational, personal stories, commentary on newsy things, and even links to other blogs. Not sure why she's worried; I think she's doing it "right."

RE: huffington blog - They are just columns rather than any normal king of blog entry - and WAY too long. If every post has a "Read whole post" link on it, then something is wrong...

DaveG said...

I thought the oldest joke about same-sex marriage was that we ALL have same-sex marriage: the same sex, over and over and over again.

Ann Althouse said...

Hogarth: good old joke, but I did say "about the Defense of Marriage Act."

purple_kangaroo said...

I think I need to work on the short sentences bit. :) I've linked to your post from my blog, though: http://purplekangaroopuzzle.blogspot.com/2005/05/bloggers-on-blogging.html

Someday I need to figure out how to do a trackback ping. :)

purple_kangaroo said...

Thanks, Michael. I've been branching out a bit more lately, but for a few months almost every single post I made was an extremely long and detailed discussion containing a lot of research and analysis about a particular topic.

I think I lost a lot of readers and gained a few, but I have learned that a bit of variety is a good thing. :) I really think blogging, like any other skill, is a learning process.

I just started a thread (linking back here) about what makes a good blog and would enjoy anyone else's input on the topic.

DaveG said...

Doh! Well, I guess my lack of reading comprehension rears its ugly head yet again. I guess I shouldn't have been in such a hurry to work that joke in there...

Ann Althouse said...

Well, Hogarth, I am sitting here trying to write a law school exam, and my number one, oft-repeated, instruction to the class is: answer the question asked; you can only receive credit for answering the question asked; do not perceive other questions you know how to answer in the general vicinity of the questions asked and answer them, because you can only receive credit for answering the question asked. I'm pretty fanatical on that point. In the realm of blogging, however, you do look for opportunities to bring up whatever you have to say.

Joan said...

I read the Mamet post and thought it was hysterical.

I'm too put off by the comments made about the other posts to want to read them, though. Yes, I'm lazy, but I don't owe these people anything. If a person I trust on these issues says that a post is dreadful, I'm not likely to click on over.

I did a quick perusal of the blog roll and was impressed, then it occurred to me that what they most likely did was skim the top levels of the Ecosystem. I have a hard time believing any of those folks read and recommend Hugh Hewitt, for example.

rafinlay said...

The real reason for the Huffington blog may be the same as for Air America -- so they and the MSM can quote one another.

Dirty Harry said...

Isn't what Hunter Thompson wrote on Cusack's t-shirt just a wordy, self-important, ponderous, pretentious way of saying, "Vote or Die?"

I mean, if P Diddy's out-writing you... Not good.

RON: "Charasmatic Megafauna?" What a bigoted species-ist that biologist is!

downtownlad said...

It takes a while to get comfortable with blogging, develop your own style, etc.

I suspect it will get better with time.

My first impression was "it doesn't suck."

I'll look at it again in about a month.

imfunnytoo said...

"Write short sentences, unless you've got a reason not to."???

Sometimes twenty dollar sentences *are* called for, whether they're fashionable or not. "Educated" is becomeing as perjorative as "liberal" i.e. automaticly bad.

Ann Althouse said...

Educated: What's with the question marks? What did you add that I didn't already say?

Bruce Hayden said...

It may not be as bad as we all assumed. Yes, it contains the expected drivel. Cronkite surprising everyone as to his politics. A lot of stuff you might find in People magazine. And one or two thoughtful articles, among all the garbage.

But maybe that is the point. If you are reading this blog, you are probably self-selected as fairly thoughtful, etc. But there are many in this country who are not - IHMO, those very same people who buy People magazine. And maybe this is their blog.

Faithful Progressive said...

That site is lame, but...
The idea that all blogs
should look the same-
pithy pint-sized
linky little rants,
lots of self-referential
photos and/or egomanical
in-jokes--seems to limit
a new media in a way
that makes it too much
like the old:
formula over substance!

PS
But I forgot that diversity
is a dirty word to people
on your side of the fence...

Peter Spero said...

hmm...