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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blogging is Risky Business

A lot of people have stopped blogging. There are lots of reasons to not blog. You don't get paid. You burn out. You don't think anyone is reading your blogs or anyone cares. All these contribute to a collective blogburnout. Sometimes you just don't have anything left to say. Then there is a final reason and this is a big one--people don't like what you say and they let you know it.

I'm a novelist. My books go out there and I get reviewed by newspapers, reviewers, and people online. There is feedback but the book is done and it is pretty much you either like it or you don't. Not true in the blogging universe. You put out your blog and you get instant feedback and a lot of it is not good.
That is because most of the people who bother to comment are offended or disagree with what you have written. Some times it gets downright nasty. Certainly in the polarized atmosphere of our political landscape it is almost impossible not to piss off the right or the left. There is very little middle ground here. And if you are an author then there is another thought--you are making people mad who might buy your books.
I had a man the other day say it was nice knowing you. He had read my David Letterman essay and did not agree with the rapaciousness of Sarah Palin's career arc to the White House. That's fine, but can we not agree to disaee.? In the cyber world most people don't. That is what makes blogginng so brutal. It is instant feedback and the next day when you face that screen you have that little voice of discord in your head. Will I rack off more people? Am I doing myself harm? I know people have stopped blogging because it became nasty and they didn't want to turn away potential customers.

The opinion piece or the edtiorial is an offering. It is saying, here, did you think of it this way? It is an exploration of an idea. That is part of intellectual discourese. But of course in the time of cable bullies, we all know everyone does not get to put in their view. The podium now belongs to whoever speaks the loudest, writes in the most vitriolic vein, or silences the oppostion with email assaults. So it is not surprising people drop out of blogging. You basically have a choice--either say what you think or don't.
It takes thick skin to be a novelist and handle bad reviews, rejection, and the uncertain life of the fiction writer. It probably takes even a tougher hide these days to blog and remain honest.

Books by William Hazelgrove