Blogging, as in Slogging

Dan Drezner went off to Maui for his brothers wedding, and got two people to guest blog for him. David Greenberg was one of them, and he wrote about his experience in the New York Times. I like the phrase “electronic black hole”.

When Dan Drezner guest-blogged at the Washington Monthly site, one reader wished bodily harm on his family members. I found the blood lust jarring – especially when it started arriving in bulk, daily. (Suzanne cheerfully said, “Oh, just ignore them!” and kept posting thousand-word items by night.)

It’s not that the readers were dim. Some forced me to refine or clarify my arguments. But the responses certainly got reductive, very quickly. And for all the individuality that blogs are supposed to offer, there was an amazing amount of groupthink – since some of them were getting their talking points from … other blogs.

By the end of the week, with other deadlines looming and my patience exhausted, I began to post less and less. There was a piece for Slate due, a book chapter to finish, my baby boy, Leo, to entertain and a piece to write for the Week in Review.

I wasn’t the only newcomer to blogging last week. On the ballyhooed “Huffington Post,” Gary Hart, Walter Cronkite and David Mamet dipped their toes in the blogosphere as well.

I don’t know how they’ll fare, but I doubt that celebrity will attract readers for long. To succeed in blogging you need to understand it’s a craft, with its own tricks of the trade. You need a thick skin. And you must put your life on hold to feed an electronic black hole.

What else did I learn by sitting in for Dan Drezner? That I’m not cut out for blogging.