Monday, July 5, 2010

Thoughts on Blogging and Freedom

I'm past the point of writing "tips for bloggers" essays. I did that last year, and the advice is still pretty good over there.

No, I was thinking about a little update on blogging after see John Hawkins' post last week, "
7 Things Every Blogger Should Know How To Do (Besides Write)." John has a comment about making money from blogging, but the more basic thing here is the traffic numbers he cites:
#5) How to make some money doing this: Here's an unpleasant truth. You can have 2,000 or 3,000 people a day reading your blog and make almost nothing off of it. In fact, from what I've seen, until you get big enough to stand out a little bit from the crowd, say at 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 people reading you a day, you will have great difficulty making enough money to do more than pay your bills for your blog. Then, even when you do get big, if you don't know what you're doing and dramatically underprice your ads, you can still make a lot less money than what you should. I've seen people who could DOUBLE their ad rates and probably not lose any ads.
While I'd love to make a little more money than I'm getting now (mostly from Amazon and the ad at the sidebar), I blog mostly to make a contribution to the debate (and we need more regular folks in new media, so hopefully I can hold out for a while). American Power has been doing well. My traffic has doubled since last year, and I'm co-blogging at both Right Wing News and Theo Spark's. (And that's something to think about, for the newer bloggers just getting started. Get going on the networking and seek high-traffic blogs to post essays and increase exposure.) I'm closing in on a solid average of 2000 visitors per day. A good chunk of that is from SEQ, but more and more it's due to the relentless promotion that's integral to serious blogging. As I've said previously, don't be shy about pimping your stuff (although adhere to some limits, naturally). In addition, I suspect one should think pretty carefully about making blogging a career. I'll be honest: If in a few years from now I'm able to find a way to make some serious, long-term money from blogging, I'll be no doubt looking to speed up retirement from my college. After ten years of teaching at LBCC, I've realized I probably don't have the ideological temperament for academe. It's my career, and I'm a professional, but I think I'd like to leave college teaching sooner rather than later. Maybe I can write books, or something. But that's a matter I'll discuss more another day.

There's one more thing: the frequency of recent "babe blogging." I posted a ton of "Rule 5" last week. Linkmaster Smith
has the roundup:
American Power went on a bit of a Rule 5 rampage this week, NTTAWWT:
This is mostly experimentation, especially the frequency of the hotness. I may or may not post Rule 5 in the future, or at least at regular intervals. There's clearly a demand for it. But what's important is that I CAN POST HOTTIES whether I want to or not. IT'S ABOUT FREEDOM. So if you like this kind of thing, enjoy it while it lasts. Meanwhile, maybe we'll see some increased blog frequency over at Swedish Meatballs Confidential!


Huck said...

(continued from previous comment) I'm constantly encouraging my conservative MA students to consider careers in academia because I believe we can all benefit from a multiplicity of approaches and views in the Academy. I don't think any of my conservative graduate students have ever felt that their ideology was an impediment to their ability to be successful in their studies and scholarship, nor in their pursuit of an academic career -- should they want such a career. Anyway, I would love to hear more from you on this subject so that I can better understand why you (and maybe other conservative academics) think and feel this way. I'm curious also because three of my most important and beloved academic mentors were outspoken conservative political scientists (Fr. James Schall, SJ; Roland Ebel; and Paul Lewis). I disagreed with them intensely on many things, but they were instrumental in really pushing me to think critically and to question the motivations and origins of my thinking. I would be less of an academic (albeit not less of a liberal!) if not for them. I think they found themselves possessing the temperament for academe, ideology notwithstanding. That's why I find your comment fascinating.

Huck said...

Donald - I've been following you for a while now, mostly at RWN. As one of RWN's few resident liberal commenters, and a fellow academic, I always am very intrigued and interested in what you have to say. Sometimes, I visit American Power, too. In this posting, you write: "After ten years of teaching at LBCC, I've realized I probably don't have the ideological temperament for academe." I'm curious to know why you think this? "Academe" is a word that is used in many different ways. Some think of it primarily as apolitical research and publication. Others think of it as teaching. Yet others think of it in terms of the administration of academic institutions. Maybe it's a combination of all three. But I don't see how academe, like any other career, demands a particular ideological temperament. I'll grant that there is a leftward tilt to some aspects of Academia (and the Ward Churchill side of it is, as you surely must know, miniscule), but there are plenty of spaces in Academe for ideological conservatives and a fair number of colleges and universities that tilt decidedly conservative.

AmPowerBlog said...

Huck: Great question. It demands a longer response though. The short answer is that while no, there's no necessary ideological temperament for an academic career, it's certainly the case that the loudest, most influential voices on campus (faculty colleagues, union leaders, administrators, student activists) are on the left of the spectrum. And because I'm now involved in a conflict on my campus for speaking out against the double-standards, radicalism, and blatant indoctrination, I'm literally being singled-out for special treatment (my bulletin board received a formal complaint for alleged "hate speech"). I just don't know how long I want to fight the fight in this venue. Perhaps I'd be better at writing books, or something. We'll see in time.

Huck said...

Donald - Thanks for the reply. I hope you can elaborate more; but I do understand what you mean. One of my mentors I mention, Paul Lewis, also was especially outspoken on campus in defense of conservative principles and the way the academy worked, from admissions to tenure to faculty hiring, etc. If he ever got singled out, or felt aggrieved because of it, it never showed. He was one of the best tempered and jovial professors I ever had, and also one of the most opinionated and controversial on campus. But the academic community at Tulane respected and loved the man, even though there were many an ideological disagreement. It does anger me when things like what you appear to be experiencing happen. It's antithetical to constructive intellectual engagement. Because higher education tends to have a liberal tilt, it's easy for the intellectually lazy among the liberal academic community to hide behind this fact and to be emboldened by it to behave towards you in the unfortunate way that it seems they are doing. I guess they would argue they have a right to their free speech, too; but I think it's a shame that they would exercise this right in a way that seems to want to stifle debate as opposed to engaging in it. Good luck and I will look forward to reading any more of your postings that might touch on this subject.

M1 said...

You've come a long way baby! (and a big thanks)