I’d almost like to thank the Maryland Republican Party for handing me a subject I can write on while the state convention is going on, but perhaps this may instead thankfully be the final foot in the mouth for the Waterman regime.
On Thursday we learned that the Maryland Republican Party views bloggers as a cash cow and not a legitimate source of news and information. (Really, I should say independent bloggers since those associated with a mainstream news outlet are okay to them.) Needless to say, a lot of my peers are up in arms about this one.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret – I’ve been covering the convention for years. Media credential? I don’t need no stinkin’ media credential! Granted, I have a job to do for those who elected me as well, but the MDGOP should be well aware by now I put up a summary post or two afterward. So do most of the other blogs in the state.
But do they really think people aren’t going to Tweet, Facebook, or otherwise share what goes on at the convention? The first people who will know who the new state party Chair is will be in the room, but within five minutes the rest of the world will know.
The MDGOP should be honored that someone like William Jacobson (of Legal Insurrection) wants to have the opportunity to cover the event. Perhaps the coverage won’t be as glowing as the party would like, but do they honestly think the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, et. al. will focus on the message we are trying to send out or the agenda they want to hear? Obviously we’ve had a contentious race for Chair and they smell blood – I never see them at an uncontroversial state party convention.
So provided I don’t get rousted out of the event for protesting – I’m planning on wearing my CPAC credentials as a show of support for the Maryland blogging community – look for full coverage tomorrow. I will also be Tweeting as news breaks (@ttownjotes).
You might think I hate competition insofar as having more blogs around, but I really don’t. I feel relatively secure in my place in the pecking order, and let’s face it: the pro-liberty movement needs more good writers to expose what government does, on all levels. Certainly I can’t be everywhere at once and in this case more cooks don’t spoil the broth.
So if you’d like to join me in the wide, wonderful world of internet social media and don’t mind traveling over to Frederick on a Saturday, have I got an event for you. I will let MDCAN – the same people who bring you the outstanding Turning the Tides conference – pick this up from here:
As today’s Patriots, we need more than emails to communicate with each other. We need Facebook! We need Twitter! We need blogs!
Even if you don’t use all the different forms of social media, it’s useful to understand why they are such important tools of communication. Once you understand them better, maybe you’ll decide to give new media a try!
So come join us for the Social Media Workshop on Saturday, April 27, from 2 – 5 PM at the Jekyll & Hyde Tavern in Frederick.
The Leadership Institute is hosting our program, and will teach us how to set up and publish a blog, and how to get started with Twitter. You’ll meet people with whom you can begin to build your online network of followers.
Bring your laptop, tablet or smartphone, and make this a hands-on experience to remember!
Come early for lunch or stay for dinner and drinks afterward, and put the “social” in social media! (Meals and drinks are not included in the ticket price.)
I can tell you from experience that it’s enjoyable to watch someone who was inspired by reading a good website become a member of the new media and expand the pool of information people can dip into. As I was inspired by the late Bill Duvall and G.A. Harrison, I gave my good friend Jackie Wellfonder her initial support.
Don’t get me wrong – the pro-liberty movement still needs the volunteers who will register voters, knock on doors for our preferred candidates, and get people to run for office themselves. (By the way, I missed our oft-delayed Pathfinders seminar here, so I don’t know how successful it was.) But there’s room for people who can craft a message and hold politicians accountable. A rising tide lifts all boats, and this area always seemed to have more than its share of great political sites – until recently when we’ve dwindled down to just a couple. It’s time for a new generation to burst onto the scene and this seminar can help.
And if Frederick is too far for my local readers, why not encourage MDCAN to host an event on this side of the Bay Bridge? I’ve spoken on this before and would be happy to add a few words.
Perhaps April Fool’s Day is the perfect day to put this up.
But this was a spot I did as I was getting ready to leave CPAC, having made the the acquaintance of one Peter “DaTechGuy” Ingemi. He calls it his “field guide to bloggers,” I call it a nice little video calling card of my thoughts about CPAC.
I’ve not been one who has done a lot of video, but I thought that turned out relatively all right.
You might be interested to know that my friend Jackie Wellfonder has her own segment as well, with the whole field guide linked here. I think I was either the last or second-to-last one done, but Pete was apparently all over that place doing his field guide and radio show – a really nice guy.
It’s just another example of how the new media is working (and trust me, Pete is really working it because he has mouths to feed) to supplant the tired old rhetoric of what passes for journalism in the mainstream. He is an example of one who dabbles in a number of different areas to make his living, but this will also serve as a foreshadow to something discussed in Ten Question Tuesday tomorrow. Look for it at noon.
Oh, one postscript: this date has significance to me because, eight years ago tonight, I decided to embark on this whole blogging adventure with a Blogspot site called “ttown’s right-wing conspiracy.” It’s still there, linked to the right-hand side of my site under “bloglist.”
As a blogger who toils in relative obscurity (well, so far anyway), I can understand the thought process some might have when faced with a big payday. Such was apparently the case in a scandal that Robert Stacy McCain has written about frequently of late called MalaysiaGate, where a number of bloggers bagged nearly $400,000 from the Malaysian government to sugarcoat their stories. As he notes on the subject:
If powerful Malaysian interests had been willing to pay $400,000 to obtain the services of a natural-born smartass, how quickly would I have cashed that check? Immediately.
Let’s not kid anybody. Honesty is a virtue, and it would be dishonest to present myself as morally superior to Josh Treviño, Ben Domenech and their friends, simply because I have never sought the kind of reputation that would make my services valuable to the ruling regimes of foreign nations.
When I read about this, I was like “damn! Someone actually values the blogosphere enough to drop 400 grand on it?!?” Hell, I’d be happy to get a half-dozen advertisers at my going rate and a gig that pays me a few hundred dollars a week. Obviously I can’t speak for other bloggers – although I tend to agree with McCain’s take on the subject, which is well worth reading; I’ll wait for you - but there is a growing community of citizen journalists who could be harnessed in the right direction if the finances were there from a conservative benefactor.
The point is that we all have our own reasons for doing what we do. McCain makes a reasonable enough living at it, but he’s the exception to the rule. Most other bloggers have other outside jobs, whether they’re in the world of words or completely outside of it as one of mine is. (I also have freelance clients so I run in both circles.)
But we toil in order to make a difference in some way, and that includes bloggers on the other side of the political aisle as well. (They just happen to be wrong.) I know a few of them personally but most of them, particularly from outside Maryland, I’ve never met aside from on Facebook. It’s a reason I’m looking forward to CPAC, even if I’m only there for a limited time, because of the potential of meeting a few of them and others worth knowing in this extended family of ours.
And we do help each other out. I’m pretty careful about giving hat tips or credit where due, as I would hope that others are about my original material. Nor do I mind helping out other bloggers, with Jackie Wellfonder being one example.
Most bloggers would end with the pitch to hit their tip jar, but I’m going to be a little different. I have a long list of blogs I link to, some national and some local. One thing I try to do is keep the list stocked with blogs which are local or national in scope and are frequently updated, because a blog which doesn’t change often isn’t one which holds my interest (and probably not yours either.) So go check them out and support their fine establishments as well.
Normally around this time in this space I would place my Ten Question Tuesday interview, but I’ve noticed that some of the people who state they are open for interviews don’t seem to return my inquiries. It’s very frustrating because I don’t like to have too many interviews in the can (I like to work one week ahead) but when you ask a couple people who don’t get back to you that throws off the schedule. Listen, I’ll cheerfully admit I don’t have the highest number of readers but I’m working on building it up with the help of those folks I interview – the idea is to help out the pro-liberty movement overall and build something where the momentum can’t be stopped.
So I suppose I need to work on next week and see if I can get back to doing these interviews. In the couple months I’ve done TQT I’ve begun to marvel how radio hosts can get weekly guests because it’s tough to drag some into commitments – perhaps this is the best time to thank Dan Bongino, Jonathan Byrdak, Diana West, Patrick McGrady, Sara Marie Brenner, Tom Fitton, and Jake Day for their TQT participation. Really, that’s not a bad seven people to be in the company of, so I’ll see what I can get for the next few weeks. It’s quite a bit of work to put these together – particularly because I’d like to look outside the echo chamber of Maryland politics as well as find some people you may not hear as much from – but I enjoy the interaction.
Hopefully you’ll forgive the unscheduled TQT hiatus, but now I’d like to talk about something else.
If you haven’t noticed, I like to create content and the reason this site is called monoblogue is that, on all but perhaps two occasions where I’ve had guest posts, I’ve been the sole writer. But there was something I noticed of late about the way I did it and how it affected readership.
Late last month I put up a poll for a few days asking readers how often they visit the site, and the answer sort of went along the line with my suspicions that I could improve readership simply by posting more. It actually coincided with my desire to spend more time on other avenues of writing, such as the Watchdog Wire; simply put, spending three hours compiling posts like ‘odds and ends’ by making them sound coherent with transitions which satisfied my perfectionist streak left me less time to do other writing. My time is limited by my other, currently more lucrative outside jobs so I need to make my monoblogue posts count.
So instead of writing one 1000-2500 word post a day – although there have been days of late when I’ve dragged myself in the door after a hard day of toil outside the home and scratched out a quick and dirty 300-word post simply to place fresh content – I thought it would be better to try for a couple 600- to 800-word posts. Certainly I will keep my reporter’s hat on where needed, but the goal is to accelerate the post tempo up to around 50 to 60 a month. By spreading them out, it gives readers a reason to visit daily or even more frequently.
And if I can show readers visit more often, I can get more advertisers and more writing opportunities. I have a couple irons in the fire which might pan out as I try to expand my reach and get back to a format I enjoy writing – the 600 word op-ed, suitable for publication at a website or news outlet near you. (Being paid to do it would be nice, too.)
People tell me I’m a pretty good writer, so now it’s time to expand the audience and reach. If you’d like to be interviewed here, need a good op-ed (or even press release or persuasive e-mail, I’ve done those too), or even just show your support in a manner besides buying my book or rattling the tip jar, just let me know. I believe next Tuesday I should be able to resume the Ten Questions.
That’s the title of a recent post by Eric Odom of Liberty News, who’s pondering the question after studying the decline of conservative blogs since he last did a survey in 2009.
Well, in one respect Eric is correct when he notes:
Truthfully, blogging takes a lot of work. Time is required and a lot of it if you want readers. Especially now that an active social media presence is needed to drive growth and personal influence.
He’s exactly right on that one, as I would estimate I spend between 15 and 20 hours a week working on this site. That’s not necessarily just doing the writing, but promotion, attending events I cover, and reading other news sites to pick up ideas and trends. I’ve been blessed with a mind which rarely encounters writer’s block, but as a tradeoff readers may notice I veer onto non-political avenues once in awhile. (The best case in point is my Delmarva Shorebirds coverage, mostly during the summer. Local music also finds its way here.)
Yet if I were to survey the many thousands of bloggers who have left the field since 2009, my wager is that a significant number of them have simply traded in their blogs for other communication venues, particularly Twitter. WordPress is pretty easy for me to work with, but it’s no match for Tweeting to those who used to simply link to another post and perhaps add a line or two of commentary. 140 characters is about the length of a good-sized sentence like the example you’re reading, and for many it’s enough to express a thought. If they need a little more space, there’s always a Facebook page. It’s far easier to be the master of a Facebook page or a Twitter account than the servant of a blog site where new content is demanded regularly.
There’s also the idea of having to build and keep an audience, which is difficult because it requires that same consistent approach. I once read that the key to blogging success is to write 2500 words a day, which is generally more than I put in. My output is usually about half that, although my Ten Question Tuesday segments so far have exceeded that 2500-word figure. Of course, I didn’t have to be creative for those aside from coming up with the questions and tenor of the conversation. To be able to write creatively at such a pace it would also be to have my sole source of income and thus far that’s not been a doable option.
It occurred to me that I had my own (partial) list of blogs from back around that time, as the also now-defunct BlogNetNews used to “rank” conservative websites in Maryland. This was the list I had from 2008 as I compiled my own ranking of these sites – out of those twenty I believe this site, Red Maryland, and The Hedgehog Report are the only ones still posting on a regular basis.
Yet while there are few blogs which have managed to hang around in the last half-decade, it doesn’t mean there aren’t worthy, newer contenders – as well as some which weren’t in the BlogNetNews network but have stood the test of time. For example, Blue Ridge Forum began in 2006 and The Vail Spot in 2007. But even after this artificial point, several good sites have sprung up: according to the archives I could find A Conservative Lesbian, The FreeStater Blog, and Anthropocon were created in 2009, while 2010 brought the Potomac TEA Party Report, Cross Purposes, and Old Line Elephant. Even 2012 brought my friend Jackie Wellfonder’s Raging Against the Rhetoric, which proved some out there still feel blogging is a viable option, especially in the wake of Andrew Breitbart’s death. (All these blogs and more are linked on the sidebar.)
I think there was a time when the blogging craze was just that – a craze. Many people got into it, and most found out it wasn’t as easy to build an audience as they thought. But those who have stuck around and found their own niche have turned the internet into a viable alternative news source, so I think Eric’s fears are somewhat unfounded.
Having said that, though, more eyes and ears wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Thanks to my friend Muir Boda, I came across an interesting snippet on the Maryland Libertarians’ Facebook page:
Fellow Freedom Fighters,
The same is almost always true for Libertarian candidates for Senate, Congress, Governor, State Representative…any candidate that threatens the two party statist oligarchy gets ignored.
Today, we begin a new program to systematically break into the media, and make sure that America starts to get complete, honest, and accurate reporting. If you are interested in getting involved in online journalism, please contact Shane Wittig at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/shane.wittig.
Shane currently writes articles for the examiner.com, where he can provide accurate and unbiased political coverage. He can help you learn more about the process of writing for sites like examiner.com, which are becoming increasingly important in today’s media. Even if you write just one accurate article a week, you can help advance the joint causes of liberty and honesty.
Of course, having written for the Examiner website on two different occasions, I have some familiarity with them. My experience with them has been mixed at best, although perhaps my aims were a little bit different than those sought by the national Libertarian Party (the original source of this information.) While Examiners don’t make a whole lot of money from having the space there (I think my best month was around $40 and the payout formula has gotten worse since) they do have some readership. Unfortunately that readership tends to cluster in the lifestyle and celebrity portions of the Examiner site. Politics tends to be one of the many redheaded stepchildren in the Examiner‘s overall scheme. (If my memory serves – and it generally does – Muir Boda is the Maryland Libertarian Examiner, so he also should know.)
But any exposure is good exposure, which leads to the second part of my criticism. Truly this goes for anyone who wants to write commentary.
Almost anyone can write a blog post, but not everyone can write newsworthy articles or insightful opinion pieces. It’s somewhat of an acquired skill, although having a little natural talent at selecting just the right word to convey a thought doesn’t hurt. But in order to write one good, accurate article a week from an amateur’s perspective, the subject is probably not going to be something that’s up-to-the-minute news. What this market needs, then, is news brought from a different perspective, a fresh angle none of the others think of.
Let’s look at the Libertarians’ complaint: their candidates don’t get enough ink. We on the conservative side can relate to that, although in our case we get barrels of ink – it’s just that the media coverage shown to us tends to attempt to portray our side in the worst light possible. For example, the coverage of the “fiscal cliff” seemed to focus most on whether the Republican House would choose to continue tax cuts for the wealthy, not that the whole prospect could have been avoided had the Democratic-controlled Senate either a) passed a budget, which it has not for the last three years and counting, or b) taken up the House-passed plan sooner than a few days before the self-imposed D-day. (It was passed by the House several months ago.) Yet that word didn’t get out because the majority of people in this nation receive their news from mainstream media outlets (if they listen to them at all) and don’t do their homework.
Perhaps the secret isn’t just being featured on websites like the Examiner one, but using other avenues to announce to the people there is an alternative viewpoint. Examiners have the option to trumpet their work on Facebook and Twitter, which is good but not enough. As for me, I’ve done Facebook for quite awhile but I was slow to catch on to the marketing potential of Twitter, and am trying to catch up. (I can be followed there: @ttownjotes.)
Still, in many cases you’ll be preaching to the choir. The key with any writing is not just being a reporter or a commentator, but doing so in an interesting fashion which makes people want to read it and achieves the perception of a coherent and sound argument. In most cases misspelled words, poor sentence structure, and obtuse phrasing do as much to destroy an argument as misstating the facts will. This is why I almost obsessively proofread, even after I hit “publish.” In my case, WordPress does a nice job of pointing out my misspelled words but if it’s a misplaced word spelled correctly (like “truck” for “trunk”) the spell checker lets it slide. Sadly, I see this on many mainstream websites, let alone venues where untrained amateur cub reporters roam – Examiner is but one example.
I don’t say this to try to embarrass anyone who’s considering this business or to state that I’m the be-all and end-all of journalism. I know I have a steep learning curve in a lot of areas and I’ve been doing this as a hobby-turned-avocation for the last seven-plus years. If I’d started as a high-school graduate and received a degree in journalism as a substitute for the first four years I did this I’d probably be at the level where maybe I was trusted to write the obituaries at a medium-market paper by now. Yet in my situation I write this (apparently) well-regarded website. It took a lot of practice to get where I am, over 3,300 posts, perhaps a couple million words, and countless lessons which I continue to learn about marketing my work later.
So, my Libertarian friends and any other pro-liberty advocates who may happen across this post, don’t expect to be the second coming of John Stossel overnight. It will take a lot – and I mean a LOT – of writing to gain the credibility necessary to become a trusted pro-liberty voice. If you’re willing to work at it, though, why not give it a crack?
Besides, as poorly-run as the public school system is, the old-line journalists who knew how to write well aren’t being replaced on the liberal side. Here’s the opportunity to begin seizing the narrative.
If you’ve been around since the beginning of this website, you may recall I have done posts off-and-on in a category called “Ten Questions.” It began as a method of getting interview-style answers out of candidates in the 2006 election, a segment which comprises most of the 49 entries in the category. I then used the format occasionally from 2007-2009 to interview local and national people of renown, with the last “Ten Questions” post being an interview of then-Senate candidate Robert Broadus in 2011.
Well, my intent this time is to have “Ten Question Tuesday” as a regular feature each Tuesday. While most of the interview subjects will be political, the focus won’t strictly be on Maryland politics. Going forward in 2013, I’m going to eventually try and bring a little more of a national profile to this site just as my first subject did to his political race: I thought I would begin with perhaps the most popular Republican currently living in Maryland, recent U.S. Senate candidate Dan Bongino.
I’m not sure just where this effort will take me, since it will be quite a bit of work securing interviews and putting them together. But in order to improve this website and provide a service to readers, hard work is often necessary.
So look for this to debut at noon next Tuesday. Due to its length – Dan and I (well, mostly Dan) spoke for over 20 minutes – I haven’t decided whether to make it a two-part interview or distill it down to one part. (I look at it this way: you’re not coming here in that instance to read what I have to say!) But I can tell you that Dan should have a dynamic presentation at the MDCAN Turning the Tides 2013 conference on January 12 in Annapolis. I’ll be there, and if you’re trying to bring conservatism to its rightful place atop the Maryland political ladder, you should be too!
But ultimately the ball is in the court of you, the readers. I’m well aware of my readership trends over the years so if I see Tuesday readership is surging I’ll know I have a hit on my hands. As Dan told me in the interview, “media leads to more media,” so I’m going to find out if readership of this feature leads to more readership overall.
Last night I did something I’ve been doing quite often over the last few months – adding conservative links to my website.
Now I have no idea just how many blogs link to mine (Alexa says 158, but those could be article links and not just static links like I’m referring to) but I thought it would be interesting to compare what I have links to now vs. what I did 18 months ago. I actually wanted to do a year-to-year but couldn’t find a cached snapshot from last January. It’s close enough for government work, and, come on, it’s the Saturday of the last week of the year. You know as well as I do that the news cycle ain’t exactly peaking at the moment, and today I’m actually working on an exciting new project for 2013.
Anyway, in July 2011 I linked to blogs in the following categories:
- Commentary and News (24)
- Delaware (12)
- Eastern Shore (28)
- Free State Bloggers (24)
- Friends of monoblogue (7)
By my public school math, that’s 95 blogs. In the 18 months since, I’ve changed the categories a little but there’s a big difference in the totals:
- Daily News and Commentary (35)
- Delaware (9)
- Eastern Shore (13)
- Maryland (26)
- Other Great Blogs (23)
I’ve only gained a net of 11 blogs in that time, but the precipitous drop in Delmarva blogs I link to (from 40 to 22) has been made up for in a national sense, with representatives from across the country now on my “other great blogs” list. For the longest time it seemed like Delmarva had more blogs than the average area but I think the boom has passed. Now it’s difficult to find good blogs which deal with the area in a strictly political sense. (Some may argue that it’s difficult to find good blogs on Delmarva, period.) The days of BlogNetNews and their ranking system are long gone and practically forgotten, as are a lot of the sites once listed there.
I really wasn’t looking to make this a discussion of the Delmarva blogging scene, but we pretty much know who is serious about writing these things now, don’t we?
Meanwhile, there are others who have branched out into doing radio shows and other activities which don’t involve as much writing. That’s all well and good for them, but I suppose I have a face for radio and a voice for print. Being a radio show guest is fine and something I enjoy doing on a far-too-infrequent basis, but I’m not convinced I could commit to a radio show and frankly don’t have the desire to make the time. Several of these new blogging friends of mine are radio show hosts, though, so if you care to give them a listen I encourage you to do so. I found a lot of them through this useful Facebook page.
It’s worth noting that one of my biggest fans branched out into her own website and now writes commentary for a larger website; meanwhile, I now seem to have a financial patron who has hit my tip jar four times this year, plus other monetary support from friends and advertisers. So maybe I have more influence than ever. As always, I’m grateful for the assistance and feel blessed to have such passionate fans as well as those who have bought my book.
Yet if I’m missing a link feel free to let me know. The only parameters I have are that it’s updated regularly and isn’t simply a link generator. Other than that, I’ll figure out the category and it will be good to go.
As has been the case before, I had to prewrite this anniversary post a few days in advance because I’ll be away on the actual date. In this case, once again the Maryland GOP Fall Convention falls on the same day.
However, it really doesn’t matter much this time because I’m not breaking any big news in this post, which has sort of become a “state of the blog” address I do almost every year as I look back at what I accomplished through this site and ponder what lies ahead.
Seven years is a long time in life for me to do anything. Those in the architectural field could appreciate this, but I’ve only had one job which lasted for as long as seven years. Generally by that time I’ve either been furloughed because the company I toiled for ran out of work or I had received a better offer, or at times both. My move here was one of those times of getting both – too bad the job I moved here for only lasted a little over four years.
Yet I persevere at this task, which really doesn’t make me a lot of money nor is it the most-read website out there. I could stand some more of both these commodities, and of course my goal of monetizing content continued on this year with the release of my book, So We May Breathe Free: Avoiding Ineptocracy. It was sort of a hybrid because the book was based on a series of posts I wrote back in 2007 but heavily revised, expanded, and updated in the interim.
But I have noticed my readership took a significant upswing at this year’s election, moreso than previous years. I’ve come to understand the ebb and flow to this website’s readership (great in the fall, so-so during the spring and summer) but the Alexa rating I was pleased with last year is still pretty much the same this year – in fact, during the summer I was ranked well under 250,000 world and under 30,000 in the U.S. No, it’s not Fox News or even RedState, but this isn’t bad for a blog coming from flythrough country (so named because the Beltway denizens fly through here in their Volvos on their way to the beach.)
And because of my book and the demands of my outside job, I’ve been sort of slow in proceeding on a couple projects people have come to expect from me. The good news is that I’m wrapping up the monoblogue Accountability Project for 2012 and it should be ready in the next week or two. As a special added bonus, my Shorebird jonesing will be temporarily relieved with the “induction” of five new members to the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. You may have noticed I took that page private – well, there’s your reason. It will return soon.
So where will my website go in the next year? In 2012 I expanded my reach a little bit by joining up with the Politics in Stereo website as the conservative Maryland voice, and we’ll see if that relationship bears fruit. On the other hand, I think my off-and-on Examiner flirtation is coming to an end. The time invested doesn’t seem to be worth it in either enhanced readership or in my bank account.
Naturally I’ll be covering the basics: liberal lunacy in Maryland and nationally, the Salisbury elections for my local readers, and the conservative commentary you’ve come to expect. I’ve been building up my Twitter following over the last few months, with the goal by the end of 2013 having 1,000 followers on either Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
I have two other writing goals in mind for 2013. As a blogger, I’ve seen a number of my peers attend CPAC but I’ve never been able to scratch together the funding to go. Obviously you can help with that cause if you so desire, but one way or another I’m going to try and get there this year, at least for the experience and opportunity to meet and interact with key bloggers nationally. People tell me I’m just as good as them, well, maybe they need to know who I am.
The second goal is a second book. It actually took me about four years to write my first one because I did it in fits and starts, but the last six months before I wrapped up So We May Breathe Free were fun and challenging at the same time. Obviously I made some mistakes and would love to learn from them by doing a second tome and creating better results. (That’s not to say book #1 is going away, though.) Originally I thought I could have a second book done by next summer, but I think this time next year may be more realistic. I’ll start devoting a little more time to it after the holidays.
Of course, there may be other unforeseen opportunities awaiting me, whether it’s additional duties for the Patriot Post, another chance at syndication, deeper direct political involvement, or writing features at new venues. The fun thing about life is that you never really know what’s ahead. The maddening thing in life, too, is that you never know what’s ahead.
But I think I have the wherewithal to give an eighth year of monoblogue a go, since I know a lot of people enjoy it and the site has turned out to be a fantastic calling card in the political world. I’ve spoken to and met people I never would have if it weren’t for this site, and rest assured the adventure will continue apace!
Well, the results are in. I didn’t win, but I think I placed reasonably well in this popularity contest for a little ole Eastern Shore blog.
I was nominated in two categories: Best News Blog and Best Politics Blog. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of the Best News Blog category, so 8th of 11 isn’t too bad.
But I finished in the top 5 for Best Politics Blog behind eventual (and pretty much deserving, since Dave Wissing does a good job with it) winner Hedgehog Report, Maryland Juice, Maryland Reporter, and HoCo Rising. I’ll take it, as that’s my best finish of the three years I’ve been involved and when you consider I live well outside the Sun‘s primary circulation area fifth isn’t too bad.
Of course, there are many who pooh-pooh this whole awards thing, with the main point being that all we’re doing is helping the Baltimore Sun get more eyeballs on its website. It’s a point taken, but I look at it this way: since a large part of the Sun‘s readership is of the liberal variety, any chance I get to expose a little bit of common sense and conservative thought their way is an opportunity which should be taken advantage of. Certainly they agree more with what Maryland Juice would have to say, but perhaps some have read here and understand a little about common-sense conservatism. I’m certainly not going to complain about my readership totals in the runup to the election.
Finally, I wanted to give a shout out to my friend and fan Jackie Wellfonder, whose Raging Against the Rhetoric website scored a top 10 finish in the Best New Blog category. Certainly I wasn’t the only one voting for her!
Full results are here.
After a one-year hiatus, my favorite category of the Maryland Outstanding Blog Awards (affectionately known as the Mobbies) is back. monoblogue is one of ten nominees (so far) for Best Political Blog; I’ve also been nominated in the Best News Blog category where I join eight other hopefuls.
This isn’t a new experience for me, as I’ve been nominated twice before in the three-year history of the awards, sponsored by the Baltimore Sun. Since it’s more or less a popularity contest once voting begins and many of the contenders are more local to Baltimore, I figure making the top tier is a pretty good showing for this little ole Eastern Shore blog. (In looking the results up, I have at least finished closer to top than bottom in my previous two tries.)
But maybe I have a couple advantages this time, since my readership and social media reach have grown quite a bit in the last two years. It would be nice to win, but I’m keeping my expectations low since the competition is very good in both categories and there are several who I can say are worthy of victory.
However, I have another personal stake in this as I nominated Jackie Wellfonder’s Raging Against the Rhetoric blog as the Best New Blog. She has a tougher row to hoe because there are 20 nominees so far; obviously she works at the same disadvantages I do insofar as living in the hinterlands. But if there’s someone who can pull this off, I’m confident she can.
Nominations close tomorrow, and voting begins October 29. As I recall, a person can vote once per day.