Schizoblogophrenia

by Venomous Kate

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t write off-the-cuff about my feelings. I learned my lesson about that very thing 9 months ago after writing a soul-baring entry only to watch as a blogging “friend” twisted it to fit her agenda by trying to disparage me, ultimately for having surpassed her in some meanlingless ranking system. But, now that she’s a distant memory (and, I might add, karma’s a bitch, woman), I’m feeling less self-conscious in my writing.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve been doing a lot more original content lately.

But maybe what you didn’t notice is what I call “Schizoblogophrenia,” which I define as the difference between what people say they want from a blog and what they reward. In the blogosphere, “reward” is synonymous with link. You like, then link. That’s the name of the game, sweets.

Or, at least, that’s a fair assumption. For instance: when I was running the fun but time-intensive Letter of the Day, I was consistently in the Top 50 of the Blogosphere Ecosystem. I chalked that up to the give-and-take of good blogging. I was an extra-blogger, doling out daily linkage to blogs I enjoy but, most of all, bloggers who had recently linked me. On top of that, my more frivolous stuff – things you’ll find under the “Time Killing Bites”, “Odd Bites” and “Sex Bites” categories – generated hits. Because I read a huge number of news feeds daily (last count: 349), because I found funny, humorous, odd or mindless things other bloggers might not otherwise have discovered, because I didn’t make you click through to read the stuff but posted the bulk of the entry here in a blockquote, it generated links.

One day, about 6 months ago, I ran a poll which asked: “Why do you read Electric Venom?” The options boiled down to: (1) for the original content; (2) to find things I might not see elsewhere; (3) because I think Kate is Glenn Reynolds in drag. The results: 92% were here for the original stuff. The rest was fairly equally divided. (Sorry, Glenn.)

Well, here we are. I’ve been doing original stuff. Not just any stuff, mind you. Good stuff, like blog entries that go back to my roots as a warblogger. Heavy political analysis, too. I know it’s good. Not that I want to sound immodest, but I know the effort I’ve put into researching it, and I usually know when I’m “on my game” in terms of writing. Lately, I’ve been on it. Lately, I’ve also watched EV descend from the Top 50 to the mid-60s. And I’ve smirked.

Yes, smirked.

Why? Because I know better than to trust polls. I know that bloggers say they want original content, but that’s not what they link. Not if you’re not in the Top 20 (and then, not because you necessarily think it’s brilliant, but because you want the Big Dogs to notice you).

Schizoblogophrenia. It’s amusing.

As for me, I’m likely to continue this original stuff because it’s nice feeling free to speak my mind again. I happen to think that with my peculiar background of being a woman with dual undergraduate degrees in journalism and PoliSci (presidential campaign management being my particular area of study), along with a career background encompassing communications, government work and a successful law practice, I have a good reason to focus on warblogging and poliblogging like I do. I love being one of the female bloggers opening doors for other women to break into these areas (although Michele drove a bulldozer through those doors long before I was a blip on anyone’s screen and Meryl will get her panties in a wad if I don’t point out that she did, too.). Still, I was – for a while, at least – frightened away from pursuing the areas I love by bloggers who felt I wasn’t “really” blogging if I wasn’t pouring my guts out onto their screens on a daily basis. Confession-blogging, in other words.

So here it is – the newsflash – apparently that’s not what you want.

Think I’m grandstanding? Fine. Prove me wrong. Go out and find a blogger writing original content on a regular basis and link things they’ve written. (And, please, check out each of those words. You just might find some awesome new blogs if you do.) If what you truly want is original work, then recognize it.

Otherwise, you’re just schizoblogophreniacs and, as they say, the first step in recovery is admitting it.

31 Responses to “Schizoblogophrenia”

  1. I’m still unsure of what you mean by schizoblogophrenia. I read blogs that are well written, period. Okay, so I hit GR’s blog for the links. I used to read frontpagemag.com voraciously until I decided it was way too one-sided, plus they stopped putting in as many links as they used to–now I only skim it.
    I started my own journal because most of my friends are pretty far left of me politically and I was wearing out their ears. Now if I’m feeling politically snarky I rant there.

  2. No, I really was serious about the original content. I don’t want links to other bloggers because my plate is overflowing.

    That said, I’ve been incredibly bad about linking the good stuff lately. I’ve got to do something about that for sure. It only takes a few seconds to paste a URL into Notepad after all.

  3. I’ve been coming here pretty religiously over the last couple months – because I can expect to find new and original stuff. A lot of the other top blogs tend to wade through the same stuff over and over again, but I can always find something different, original and off key here – it keeps me coming back!

  4. I don’t necessarily link that which I love best–though I find I am more inclined to comment on it. And I have a tendency to be almost protective about soul-baring entries by a person; I don’t want to be the one who sent a bunch of judgmental freaks over to a site so they could make asses of themselves in the comments, you know? I saw what happened to you with the “one woman’s answer” post, and I’ve seen it happen to other people, so unless it’s something I just have to say, “Hey, me too!” about, I don’t often link posts like that.

    I read Everyday Stranger every day but almost never link it. It’s all original content and all personal. I don’t want to inadvertently send a social conservative over there to tell its author she needs to repent.

    As for the not-so-personal stuff, the more analytical stuff, that I’ll link if I think it says something I’ve been wanting to say, but says it better than I could have expressed it. I’ll link things like that also if they provide me an “a-ha!” moment, if they make pieces of a puzzle snap together for me.

    I don’t know if anyone else is like that. From what you’ve discovered, maybe not. But personally, I don’t miss the LOTD. The handful of times I tried to do one, I was like, “this is tedious” (not that what I was linking was tedious to read, but just the putting it together part). I never could figure out how you could get one up every day AND write half a dozen other posts.

  5. No offense to all the bloggers that really have their shit together technically, and who are gamers to boot.

    Gamers play all the link games, the stats games and constantly strive for whatever it takes to boost those numbers.

    I belong to the other group, that of bloggers who just write for expression’s sake and frankly don’t give a rip who reads it. Yes, I’m gratified when I get a few comments, or a link, but that’s not my goal. My goal is to speak my mind as artfully as I can. I am the judge of my work, and it’s severest critic.

    I read other blogs mostly to keep current on what pushes other bloggers’ buttons. If I strike a chord with them, great. If not, I write anyway.

  6. I’m in the same boat as Riverdog – I write for me; whatever crosses my fancy. Don’t give a rats ass if it is offensive or counter to anyone’s view. My space, my thoughts. I find that I get a lot of hits/day, but few links. Since my “voice” is taking a rude/funny/offensive angle on things, my content tends to not be PG-13…aka I have a potty mouth and know how to use it! Fuck ‘em!

  7. I enjoyed “Grouchy Old Cripple”
    I started reading “EV” because I enjoyed your wit & your blogroll. I enjoy the way you mix it up with politics as well as the goofy stuff.
    I think blogs are reflective of the writers personality & you’re obviously a fun person who is sharp as hell.
    I really hate the blogs by geeks who have a beautiful layout & nothing to say. (not that I do)
    I used to have a real blog my GF setup for me on MT & did a lot of personal writing. (she was my editor & would correct my grammar)
    Unfortunately I’m fairly well known in my community & because I would usually end up writing about life experiences I developed a stalker problem.
    Now I just have this little AOL Blog that I just use to save links & cartoons.
    I couldn’t care less about getting linked (it’s not a real blog) & only respond to you because you have my respect & when the girls are at work I need a “near perfect ass” to smooch.
    Just wanted to say
    be careful about the personal stuff you write & I’m glad your week is ending better than it started…

  8. Sorry about that! I’m as computer illiterate as I am illiterate & should never try to mess with HTML
    ::hanging head in shame::

  9. About half of my blog posts are not gleaned from other blogs… :) And maybe 20% of my posts are actually completely original content, I think…
    I’m not at all popular though. haha. ;)

  10. Kate, it’s obvious to me that you put a great deal of time and effort into what you write, as well as the topics that you choose.

    I feel your frustration. It is different than mine, but I have my issues, key issues that is. (…couldn’t resist.)

    Anyway, thanks for the mention. I don’t have the time for it that I once had, but I love the forum, and am therefore unwilling to give it up.

  11. I found you back in 11/03 via Amptoons, and I can here because I was curious about the name of your blog.

    I was stunned, because at that point you were the first female blogger I had run across, and you were eloquent, honest, and extremely “together”.

    I’ve continued to read you because you can elucidate on subjects that I’ve no experience with-namely war blogging, poli-sci, and the like.

    That said, I like ALL your content. But I’ve learned SO MUCH from reading your war/political stuff, that it’s insane.

    So thank you for that. :)

  12. Aw, shucks.

    Folks, my point isn’t to dig for compliments (although thank you, thank you, thank you – I really needed the morale boost!).

    My point was simply that there are so many good blogs out there, and it pisses me off when I get an email (like I did last night) from a talented writer/blogger who was thinking about closing down his site because he didn’t know how to get any recognition.

  13. Kate, thanks for including me in your linkage in this post.

    And as far as linkage goes, and “popularity” — hell, I’ve been blogging for nigh on four years, and yet barely crack triple-digits on GOOD days. Upstarts like you, Kelley, and such come along and blaze to Ecosystem glory in a matter of months.

    And I couldn’t be happier. There’s a *reason* that the Top Dawgs are where they are, usually, and you embody those reasons. My site is decidedly less “smart” and witty and topical than the Mammals and Higher Beings and such, and that’s fine. I’m quite content with my smaller audience – it’s comfortable. Vive le difference!

    Keep on keepin’ Kate, Kate. You’re truly one of the bright spots in the ‘Sphere.

  14. I found you from Command Post. I tend not to analyaze these sort of reactions. I do what I like. You have been a fountian of broadly based commentary and tolerated my occasional comments. I dig the comfort and the brain food. Thanks I’ll try not to wear the hat too often ( spread it around)

  15. One of the first blogs I ever linked to was http://www.jodiverse.com (Because I Say So!). She’s bright and original, offbeat, funny, sad, and always captures my attention. Jodi has a way of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary. A rare talent. She will forevermore stay on my blogroll. for whatever THAT’s worth.

    I’m one of those geek bloggers another commenter referred to. All window dressing and not much to say.

    I find I have fallen into the trap of either having a lot to talk about and no time to talk, or plenty of time on my hands with nothing to say (hence the design frenzy).

    I personally find poliblogs and warblogs boring. There are only so many sides to the story and most of them just become tedious. Seldom are they original, quite a few of them just regurgitate news bites. If I want the news, I just go to CNN.com. But when I want original, fresh content, and a new perspective I just head to my blogroll.

  16. Thanks, Kate. You’ve always been very supportive of my work, and I appreciate it.

  17. Thanks for the mention, Kate. Big compliment coming from one so prolific.

    Personally, I read almost exclusively blogs that are diary-style original content, or links with a lot of content around them. The dry, link-filled ones just bore me, including the big dogs.

    There’s a world of difference between what I link and what I read — I tend to link stuff about Israel and the Middle East to let the world know what’s happening here, whereas I’m more interested in reading U.S. news about American life.

  18. I think Joni has some beautiful skins. (I found something nice to say)
    I read a lot of blogs & personally find that the most entertaining blogs are written by those who “need to blog” as opposed to those “who blog for recognition”
    I do respect what you’re trying to do because it seems to come from the heart & that’s my point.
    Great artist don’t paint for recognition, they simply hope to survive while spilling their guts onto the canvass.
    Don’t get me wrong. I think what you’re doing is commendable & I think you are completely sincere which is why I admire you & enjoy EV…

  19. Interesting theory, but I’m damned if I can tell from this if you’re going to be doing more longer, original pieces or more link-heavy posts. Or whether your “ranking” is important to you or not.

    But my vote is for more original stuff. I quit reading here regularly when the big linky posts were too much to wade through to get to the (by my lights) good stuff.

    And, for the love of all that is holy — don’t blog about blogging. Most every blogger in the world does it, and I always hate myself the next day when I do it.

    All right, then. Not sure if I actually made any kind of point there.

    And take down that mean lady that’s giving me the Evil Eye in the background while I type. I’ve got the heebie-jeebies now, and must escape.

  20. Gee, Kate. I’m honored. Thanks for the mention! Now, let’s get ready to do some original content in three weeks! I cannot wait to see what the Venom and Blight Twosome bring for our reading and viewing pleasure!

  21. Kate,
    not sure how I came to your site in the first place, but I keep coming back. It is the combination of unique perspective and views of a blogger thatmakes them worth reading. And I do enjoy hearing about personal stuff when you care to share.

  22. a fuckin men girl!!!
    I’ve been thinking the same thing for months. I’ve went through all the blogging stages in the past few years of this blogging world and by far this one, the one where I’m the realest with myself, the one where I can’t remember the last time I checked any fucking stats or ranking system, the one where I commented with no thought of if they would reciprocate, the one where daily I am tempted to just remove commenting because it seems irrelevant anymore but yet I keep them because those who come have voices too and sometimes just sometimes i can hear them in the quietness and they in turn hear me. I remember a time when I was number 4 or 5 on all the ranking systems, I remember the endless requests for linkage and I also remember the endless blog drama as a result…….. none of it do I miss.
    I feel like I’ve evolved into some mature state or at least headed in that direction. I’ve cut away all the bullshit and gotten to the core of myself and this writing business that both plagues me, amazes me and sometimes/oftentimes scares me. Some of it is ugly, some of it is beautiful but all of it is me and all of it is real and all of it is for no other reason but to write the passions that fuel me while allowing others to peer through the window via the blog.
    gone are the days of writing for acceptance or some rank position that gets no further in the check out lane at the supermarket
    no more are those days
    these days it’s all about growing and stretching the souls and hearts and minds of any who can step up to it or at least admit they want to try.

    damn girl i’m apparently wordy as all hell today but it’s your fault for writing shit that fuels my passion :P

    take care girl!

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