Weblogterview

No one ever interviews me about weblogs because, let’s face it, why would they even? However, because a weblog writer is nothing without his or her humongous overweening ego, I’ve decided that I will answer all the questions a New York Times writer might ask me “as a weblog writer.”
“How do you increase the size of the audience for your weblog, Lance, the weblog writer?”
You really need to pour your heart out. And be funny. At the same time. So, like, tell them all about the horrible date you had last night, really lay it all out there, exaggerate a lot of it, even, making sure you’re the foil. I mean, you never know, your date may be reading your stuff, could Google you and find it easily enough, right? And then if they have a weblog, too, you link over there and start some drama, some soap opera, right? Totally gets the whole weblog world going, honey. And don’t be afraid of looking like a fool. It makes you more like a person and less like a… something other than a person. An emory board. Like.
“Are there any subjects a potential weblog author should avoid, or think twice about?”


Frankly, no, but you should avoid naming names in some circumstances, of course. Particularly when it’s work-related.
Except, see, there’s this one weblog author (I don’t read him, but I read this on a weblog I do read) who wrote something on his site? Right? And then he was teaching a class or something at his work and I guess whatever he wrote was really gross or stupid or involved fantasy rape or something, I dunno really. But anyway, so, he played that up and now he’s a really big and famous weblog author. For what that’s worth. Which is basically nothing. But hey, whatever floats your boat.
“What about linking? Reciprocal or otherwise? Whom do you link to and why? Do you have any criteria about that?”
Wait, that was, like, 16 questions right there. I’m not sure you know what you’re doing. But, whatever. Everyone knows that weblog authors are the new journalists and you people are just biding your time. I mean, Jayson Blair? Hello?
Anyway, links are like crack. You link to people hoping they’ll link to you and then when they don’t you take their link off because they really weren’t worth linking to in the first place. Me, yes, I have criteria. If you want to be linked off my page—and really, who doesn’t—you need to be writing. Not scribbling every little thought that deigns to bubble to the surface of what you call your mind, I mean you’re putting words together in a thoughtful, creative way.
And you aren’t just surfing the bloody web all day hoping to find the Holy Grail of weblogs, the link no one else has (yet). You’re using that link, regardless of where it came from or what it says, as your jumping off point. You’re expanding on it. You’re explaining its context in your world. And that doesn’t take a sentence you thought up on the toilet while you were playing with your cat, you sat down and wrote it and you didn’t post it immediately, you considered it. You chewed on it some more. You read it and new ideas came from it and you wrote those down too.
No, it doesn’t need to be a novel. No, it doesn’t have to be prose, or erudite, or ever grammatically correct. But it needs to show that you thought about it. And then you wrote about it. And that was good.
We all, naturally, have our own criteri… what’s that red light for? What do you mean, “time’s up?”
“Why are weblogs so popular?”
Who said they were popular? They’re only popular with Weblog authors, no one gives a rat’s ass about them. They’re just prolific. They’re like the new Beanie Babies, in two years no one will want one and they’ll be abandoned on the side of the road, mark my words.
The upkeep is too time intensive, the payoff is miniscule for the most part, it’s still easier just to pick up the damned phone (whether or not the damned thing takes damned pictures you can put on your damned photoblog) and what’s the value of having a thousand places all pointing to the same thing? What’s the value of Me-Tooism?
It’s not all that different from web pages. Remember them? Of course not. They’re out of fashion. Oh, sure, there are still diehard web site developers who update their hand-coded beauties every now and again, but those people are relics. They’re like Cher, they get all excited when someone notices them but it’s just because they got fed up that no one was noticing them so they declared, “that’s it! I’m outta here!” and suddenly (for a split second) they get a rush of ‘remember when’ posts and maybe a little surge of traffic, but it’s over. Done. Weblogs, they’ll be there in a couple of years.
“What’s your take on allowing people to comment? Is that a form of extending the dialog?”
What a leading question you pedantic little twerp. I suppose it depends on the weblog and the individual entries. I’m not providing links or commentary or anything like that, I’m spewing my wrath out into the world and the weblog is simply the most expedious manner of accomplishing that at present. I used to hand-code pages and then I templated them and used server-side includes and blah blah blah, so now there’s a system that automatically feeds content into enveloped pages and archives them based on a schedule you don’t have to remember so, hey, good going Mr. Software Engineer!
But my personal view on comments is, you want to give your opinion? Get your own damned web page. This one’s mine.
“Isn’t this just a cry for attention? The last couple of times you wrote about blogging, your traffic went through the roof and you got links-a-plenty. Are you that desperate for attention?”
Jesus Christ, but you’re stupid. Of course I’m that desperate! You’d have to be blind and retarded and dead not to know that. For crying out loud, come up with some better questions or I am out of here.
“Okay, talk about the nature of becoming famous on the Web. What can you tell us about how some of the more popular blogonalities became the superstars they are today.”
For example?
“Mssrs. Kottke, Zeldman, Haughey. Now we have Ms. Spiers becoming a ‘professional blogger,’ the trend seems to be that it no longer takes a college degree or experience to be a pundit or writer or commentator, all it takes is presence.”
I’m not exactly sure how that’s different now than it ever was, but okay, I’ll take your little idea and run with it.
I’d say first and foremost you just need to post so much crap so often that people come to rely on you for your crap. Become a Crapmeister. Wasn’t that Matthew Barney’s art movie thing? Crapmeister? I may have that wrong.
Anyway, as far as I can tell you just need to post and post and post and post. And keep posting. Don’t take those self-imposed weblog exiles, don’t whine and rant when you feel like no one’s listening, don’t take a vacation and leave blank pages up. If it’s important to you to become some Überblogger and get links hither and yon and have articles written about you in ‘the real press’ than just keep going, like the Energizer Bunny or the Red Sox.
And may I add that it’s probably a dubious goal to shoot for anyway. Why not just be happier in your daily life and find satisfaction from, like, making pie. I love pie. Everyone loves pie. The world needs more pie, not more blog. And please don’t become a pieblogger. Nobody needs that.
“In closing, do you have any final thoughts or advice for the blog audience?”
For the blogience? The blogosphere. The blogfuckfuckfuckfuck stop using ‘blog’ in every fucking description as if the mere fact of writing it into an archiving system suddenly changes its value or purpose?
No, I have no words of wisdom for them. I have no idea what they’re doing it for. Not that it’s important to figure that out. I mean, half the stuff in the world on a daily basis would never get done if the doers took a step back and said to themselves out loud rather than with that little inner voice that’s way too irritating anyway, “Why am I doing this? Why am I driving 60 minutes each way to a job I hate? Why am I watching this shit on TV? Why am I eating this cardboard-flavored McSandwich and this 32oz. cup of brown bubbly sugar water? Why, why, why?”
Life isn’t made for ‘whys,’ it’s made for ‘why nots.’

October 10, 2003

Comments are closed.