May 3, 2006

"Mixed blogging is where the market tells us to go."

Stephen Bainbridge is -- as I already knew -- on my side in the "bloggership" controversy.

8 comments:

Freeman Hunt said...

Mixed blogs are much more interesting than narrowly focused blogs.

Solum commented:
This is especially likely to be true for those who don't yet have blogs and who face large start up costs before their blogs can attract significant numbers of readers.

Just curious: What start up costs? Is he referring to money or labor? Labor I would understand, but money I would not.

Ann Althouse said...

In the context of the whole quote, he must mean the time that is put into various activities. Building up traffic through mixed blogging is not an efficient way for a lawprof to try to make more money and build a reputation compared to other things he could do. So it's "costly" to devote time to that.

It's a way of talking that shows an attitude about blogging that makes me just not want to read the blog at all. I blog for the intrinsic value of blogging, for self-expression and connection with readers. It's personal! I want to read blogs written by people who have a similar attitude about their writing. If I know a person is blogging to make money and gain prestige in an academic field, why should I be a regular reader? It's "costly" to me to put my time into it.

Dave said...

Time has a definite cost.

Why put cost in scare quotes?

sonicfrog said...

Love the Prof's wine blog.

Simon said...

"If I know a person is blogging to make money and gain prestige in an academic field, why should I be a regular reader?"

Perhaps because of the inherent quality of the material? The thing is, even if you don't agree with his approach to blogging, taken on its own terms, what Larry does is very, very good in the "blogging as serious academic endeavour" mold. I think there's certainly a niche for that; in days of (as you've pointed out before) ludicrously protracted law review articles, concise scholarship that is clearly and effectively written is very seductive.

The big problem with mixed blogs is that eclecticism isn't a virtue per se; it depends on an audience that shares your interests. I read Legal Theory Blog very, very carefully. It isn't as fun as Althouse. But I probably skip half of the posts at Althouse, and the reason I stick with it because the half that ARE interesting are really good. Now, But the balance between interesting / not interesting, and the quality of the interesting stuff to offset the boredom of the non-interesting stuff can change, and potentially put off readers.

I can't help but feel that what Larry sees blogs as as meat and potatoes while you see blogs as tiramisu. The former isn't as self-indulgent or as exciting as the latter, but you can live off of it. Surely there is a middle ground.

Ann Althouse said...

Simon: The irony is, I take blogging more seriously than Larry does. Larry is the one who's afraid that if the meat touches the potatoes the meat will be tainted. I'm the one who wants meat and potatoes and jambalaya and bouillabaise and sausages and everything else, in a rich feast the ingredients of which only I know.

Bissage said...

Variety is the spice of life.

Tasty!

Simon said...

"The irony is, I take blogging more seriously than Larry does. Larry is the one who's afraid that if the meat touches the potatoes the meat will be tainted. I'm the one who wants meat and potatoes and jambalaya and bouillabaise and sausages and everything else, in a rich feast the ingredients of which only I know"

As it turns out, Althouse is Golden Corral. ;)