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Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's nice to be noticed, but...

Any blogger/journaler who tells you that he/she doesn't give a whit (no, that isn't a typo... look it up) about mundane things like traffic, 'hits', links, track-backs, comments and other indicators that their writing has been noticed by the world beyond their computer screens is, in my humble opinion, a big fat liar.

Yeah, most of us are pretty convincing with our straight-faced 'I write only for myself' act... but the real tip-off to this lie is where we do our writing. By choosing to publish our thoughts in the public domain rather than in a private paper & ink journal/diary we are actively hoping that others will take notice of what we write.   To say otherwise is just silly!

It's like people who practice Tai Chi in the local park rather than in their rec room at home.  Sure it's nice to go through the entire form flawlessly nestled in the serene bosom of nature... but I'd bet that for many practitioners there is also a tiny bit if exhibitionism tied up in the choice of practice venue.

So, with that excruciating preamble out of the way, I guess I can move on to what's really on my mind this morning.

Once in a while I unwittingly write a post that makes people laugh or cry... and it garners a flurry of generous links in jblog round-ups and from BOFs (Blogs Of Friends).  I think this happens to most of us at periodic intervals.  Those moments in time where our stats begin jumping and something we created is being talked about by people we respect... that's what sustains us while we churn out the barely readable drivel for the next few weeks.

Then late last year a pivotal event in treppenwitz history occurred. I was approached by the Jerusalem Post asking if they could publish some selected archived treppenwitz posts on their web site.  This was more than a "Hey go read trep's latest post..." from one of my blog-buddies.  I was both please and flattered... and nearly broke my arm rushing to type the oh-so-casual response giving them permission.

Then a few weeks later I noticed that one of my posts had been picked up by Pajamas Media on their 'Best of the Blogs' page... and my last shred of modesty and nonchalance began to fall away. I was officially becoming pretty full of myself!

Then a recent event caused me a couple of sleepless nights, and I decided to write a post called 'Ibrahim's Mirror'.  The resulting avalanche of links and traffic made me realize that perhaps the whole journaling thing wasn't entirely an exercise in self-aggrandizement (thanks for providing the perfect phrase, Elisson), but was instead a handy vehicle for comparing my 'take' on certain feelings and events with those of an extremely diverse group of people. 

Life is sunny and fine when you get noticed and everyone seems to be patting you on the back and agreeing with you.

As if to confirm this, the other day I got an email from one of the editors at Arutz Sheva (Israel National News.com) asking if they could republish 'Ibrahim's Mirror' as an opinion piece on their web site.  I mulled it over for a little while and asked Zahava what she thought.  There seemed to be no downside to saying yes... yet something inside made me hesitate.

For those of you not familiar with Arutz Sheva, it is the political polar opposite of Haaretz.  Its reporting and editorial content is as tailored to the right wing political sensibilities of its readership as Haaretz's is to the lefty leanings of its own audience.

Nothing wrong with that.  Most media outlets are quite open about having a conscious editorial bias agenda orientation these days, so it comes as no surprise that no single news outlet is going to be able to satisfy the needs of a theoretical universal audience. 

Most regular readers have figured out by now that my political views are pretty scattered.  But being nominally a religious settler [Note:  The word 'nominally' is meant to modify only the word 'settler'... not the word 'religious'], my sympathies line up more often closer to Arutz Sheva's political line than that of Haaretz, although neither is anything close to a perfect fit. 

With that in mind, 'Ibrahim's Mirror' wasn't meant to support or promote any particular worldview... but rather was a cheap parlor trick intended to fool people into examining their preconceptions about events and actors in the region.  However, from the comments I received on the post I got the sense that many people (from both side of center) had taken the piece to be simply a confirmation of their current view.

Long story short (yeah, I know... that ship sailed about 10 or 15 minutes ago), I told the editor from Arutz Sheva 'yes', and even did something I almost never do with my posts: I went back and edited a second draft.

The piece ended up being posted around 11:00PM last night (Israel time), and within minutes the email started to arrive.

The tone of anger and the general sense of betrayal present in many of the emails (almost all from abroad) caught me completely off-guard.  One of the kinder, more erudite emails used the word 'puerile' to describe the piece... and - not satisfied at savaging 'Ibrahim's Mirror' - the author even tried to make me feel a bit dense for expressing genuine surprise in yesterday's post at having received all of Passover off from work ("hasn't it sunk in yet that you're in a Jewish state of Jews?")

As a result, I'm starting to rethink a few things:

Is treppenwitz's readership as diverse as I originally thought or is the respectful calm that prevails around here only a result of most of us being clustered close to one side or the other of political center? 

Also, this strong negative reaction has made me wonder if perhaps the wide recognition and attention we bloggers/journalers seem to crave isn't a classic case of 'be careful what you wish for... you just might get it'. 

I'm not exactly sure why this should be... but I have the good fortune to write for an audience whose views tend not to be too extreme.  Perhaps the very reason many of you come here is because there is little of the shouting, name calling or finger pointing that goes on in sites with more extreme (or perhaps simply more clearly defined) points of view.

Whatever the reason, I am starting to have serious second thoughts about how much 'bigger' I want treppenwitz to become... and whether being noticed is always a good thing.

220_35

Posted by David Bogner on April 27, 2006 | Permalink

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Can you post any more specific examples of "anger and betrayal" from the emails you received?

Did anyone in the emails make cogent points in response to specific things that you wrote or was it all just emotional preaching?

Posted by: Yaakov | Apr 27, 2006 2:12:54 PM

David,

1. Of course the natural readership of a blog are those that are sympathetic to the point of view of the blogger. Most people read pieces that they enjoy reading, isn't that obvious?

2. With certain exceptions, in that a large enough blog will always attract a few people who constantly argue.

3. You should have expected to receive the reaction you did from INN, just like you should expect to receive a similar reaction if it was posted as an opinion piece in Haaretz. Haaretz is populated by Mobius types, and INN is populated by right wing radicals with just as secure blinders. So yes, you live in an insulated world here; where you publish is just as important as what you publish.

4. A nice try, but I don't believe it for a minute that you don't want to keep getting bigger. Try not checking your blog stats for a month and we'll talk.

Yehuda

Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Apr 27, 2006 2:27:00 PM

Just a few short comments: Firstly, yes I think many of your readers probably enjoy visiting Treppenwitz for the calm and respectful way in which issues are discussed. This is not to say that we're not fighting because we all agree! I have to disagree with Yehuda's first point; yes, people read pieces they enjoy reading, but we don't have to agree with something to enjoy reading/thinking about it. The comments on your more controversial posts always show a wide variety of view points, though as you correctly pointed out, perhaps not as extreme as elsewhere on the web.

It may also be debatable whether in fact the opinions are less extreme, or whether you have been lucky enough to gather a group of readers who are able (and willing) to present their view in a cogent and respectful manner. This also applies to your suggestion that perhaps things are a bit more gentle here at Treppenwitz becuase opinions are 'less clearly defined'. That might be true in some cases, but I think in general its a case of your readers stating their point politely, intelligently and without feeling the need to tear apart everyone else's opinions in order to make their point.

Finally, (sorry for the long comment!) I think you did the 'right' thing (as much as there is a right thing to do in this situation) by allowing 'Ibrahim's Mirror' to be published. It was an articulate and quite moving piece that above all encouraged us to think. If people feel threatened by this then they need to do some serious self-examining and reflection. I truly believe that to move forward we all need to be able to think independently and understand other points of view, even if we don't agree with them.

As for whether you want Treppenwitz to become more noticed in the public eye; I guess thats a decision for you to make, but if you continue to write at your normal high standard I'm sure people will continue to be drawn to read it. (So actually, maybe it's not your choice at all - sorry!!)

Posted by: zemirah | Apr 27, 2006 3:20:58 PM

It's interesting that most of the negative e-mails come from abroad. Since I've started reading your site, I've gained a few insights as to what it's like living in Israel. It brings home the things in America I take for granted and the very real danger that exists for Israelis.

I tend to read blogs that have the same point of view as me. But I do have a few that are at the opposite end. I enjoy reading because the writer articulates his position well. Anything that makes you think and look at things differently is good.

I would urge you to publish more of your posts in newspapers. The one you wrote when you took the photographs of the ruins really opened my eyes.

I love to take photos also. But I have the luxery of not worrying about being a target when I do so.

More people need to know what it's like.

The decision is yours to make but the more people know, the better.

Posted by: seawitch | Apr 27, 2006 4:15:26 PM

Yaakov...a lot of it seemed emotional preaching. the whole IM-TYPING-IN-CAPS-AND-NOT-PUTTING-PUNCTUATION seems to imply this. oh yeah, and the YOURE-AN-IDIOT-FOR-SAYING-THIS too. one guy though, he brought down some halachos in the gemara, rambam and shulchan aruch that non jews arent allowed to own land. not too many cogent responses, though there were oen or two if i recall correctly.

and i do like the fact, Mr B, that there is none of this name calling and TYPING-IN-CAPS-WITH-NO-PUNCTUATION here on treppenwitz. it's comforting to come here and see people arguing their point in a nice friendly matter.

Posted by: Tonny | Apr 27, 2006 4:20:56 PM

1. A beautiful article, thanks for sharing. I have quietly despaired of Arutz 7 some time ago and wouldn't have got to read it otherwise.

2. The usual spread of acerbic responses, partly from people who didn't even read the article to the end. With the usual percentage of idiots, hysterical as their habit is.

3. Zealots will be zealots and eventually they will be our undoing. And I mean zealots on both sides.

Best.

P.S. I have especially liked the one that is titled "Well Bogner...". I can easily see his punem, I believe...

Posted by: SnoopyTheGoon | Apr 27, 2006 4:28:06 PM

Hmm. I was very surprised to find you guesting on Arutz Sheva (especially with THAT post, which provoked some debate) And even before I read *this* post, I did actually wonder as to how much you'd thought through the prospect of the mammoth A7 readership descending upon your blog- especially after I read some of the typically delightful, eloquent and intelligent comments on your piece on the site itself.

Anyway. Don't beat yourself up for wanting your audience to grow, and furthermore to be comprised of people who will respond appreciatively to your words: I think you'll actually find that to be the wish of most bloggers! (except of course for those lovely creatures who go around picking fights in comments sections)

Posted by: PP | Apr 27, 2006 4:30:20 PM

We don't all agree here. It's the setting that enforces the manners. This is your parlor. It would take a major jerk to come here and be truculent. A news site, on the other hand, is a much more public forum, akin to you taking your soapbox out of your parlor to the market square and reading the same speech. People there would be much less inhibited from taking pot shots at you.

The answer to how much bigger you should get should have at least something to do with (if not entirely) the answer to the following question. Would getting bigger make you money? Even though I think your message is tremendously valuable and should be read by millions, you have to realize that if you were Caroline Glick it would add layers of complexity to your life. Why do that for free?

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Apr 27, 2006 4:31:16 PM

David,

The regulars here at Treppenwitz have had the time to get to know you and your family. Perhaps not on an intimate level, but enough to know that there is a real person on the other end of the keyboard.

That usually helps to temper responses and prevent people from going overboard.

When you can't see the other person it is really easy to point fingers, shout and call them nasty names. It doesn't always feel real.

As has been said many times, I doubt that many of them would speak the same way to you in person.

Posted by: Jack | Apr 27, 2006 4:34:28 PM

David,
You can't make everyone happy. You write well and people are respecting that and providing you with opportunities to publish in other vernues. Enjoy and stop worrying so much! ;)

Posted by: val | Apr 27, 2006 4:56:27 PM

Where can we read the comments on the article on A-7? Their site has a link for submitting comments, but I can't figure out how to get to the ones that were already submitted.

Posted by: Elie | Apr 27, 2006 4:57:46 PM

Yaakov... Go read some of the comments on Arutz Sheva. Those are mild versions of what landed in my inbox.

Yehuda... I didn't say I didn't want to get bigger. I simply wondered out loud if it would be worth the personal cost.

Zemirah... I can always count on you to make me feel better about a problem. Thanks. And I agree, by the way, that most of the people who comment here are extremely respectful of one another (and me) despite differences of background and opinion.

Seawitch... Unfortunately there seems to be a tendency... especially on the far right... for people living outside of Israel to be very much in favor of direct, massive armed conflict with the Palestinians, as well as stricter enforcement of Halacha regarding non-Jews in Israel. This is hugely hypocritical as they don't have to send their kids out to fight (or put on a uniform themselves) and they also don't have to deal with the very real issue of placing another human being in the status of second class citizen (and not even a citizen at that. When they start quoting scripture I simply ask them, "OK, so if we are required to live by every aspect of Torah law... why haven't you followed the mitzvah to live in Israel? Unfortunately they usually have some well-researched Rabbinic opinion on which to rely when trying to talk their way out of that one.

Tonny... Thanks. It's nice to know you have my back (both here and there). :-)

Snoopy the Goon... I try to dip into as many sources as I can. I've found that I can sometimes triangulate my way to something pretty close to the facts by comparing all the news sources... with a large grain of salt. :-)

PP... It's not like the New York Times or the New Republic were lining up to publish my stuff. That's what I meant when I talked about the price of getting more exposure. The line between wanting to be read at any cost and becoming a bit of an attention whore is a blurry one. I honestly hadn't thought about the A7 readership descending on treppenwitz... but thanks for adding that to my worries. :-)

Doctor Bean... You've inadvertently hit on one of the things on my mind. My traffic and link scores are both high enough now where advertisers might begin to find treppenwitz an attractive vehicle. I'm no Instapundit or even Dooce... but the next stage would obviously be to try and see if I can keep the same format while being rewarded financially for my time.

Jack... "I doubt that many of them would speak the same way to you in person" or they'd get b*tchslapped for their trouble. :-) Seriously, It's not the regulars with whom I traditionally have trouble. It's the seagull commenters (those who fly in... crap all over everything/everyone... and then fly off, never to return).

Val... Have you seen some of the fan mail I've garnered over there? :-)

Ellie... You need to scroll down the page a little more. there are 12 or 13 comments there so far.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Apr 27, 2006 5:04:58 PM

Diversity, one of the unique traits of this blog yet for what its worth, we all know that treppenwitz.com get's a small percentage of Jack@sses, it's a pity but we have to live with them.

Posted by: pk | Apr 27, 2006 5:23:25 PM

David,

It's surprising to hear about such a hostile reaction from a relatively moderate blog-reading crowd. This is my first time on your site, but from a cursory inspection your tone lacks the kind of bomb-throwing that is prevalent on other sites. I suppose that, as you say, one of the joys of being lifted into the higher echelons of the media universe is that you suddenly get read by people who would otherwise not seek you out as a comfort zone. But to the piece itself - you state that one of your critics called the trick puerile, which perhaps it is in the sense of not being utterly original or ubersophisticated, but I think the response proves that the audience was ripe for this kind of forced reflection, and therefore the level of the ruse perfectly matched the sensibilities (or lack thereof) of the intended readers. It is always interesting to watch people's naked biases exposed, and even more fun seeing their reaction to said exposure. So if you are angry about being uncloaked, than one assumes you were exactly the type of person who needed to read a piece like this in the first place. Big props for striking a rare blow for intellectual honesty.

Posted by: Dash Riprock | Apr 27, 2006 5:29:39 PM

I am utterly shocked at the type of comments that you received, David. I've seen hateful reactions before, but I never would have thought they would have stemmed from reading that article!

I guess some people are too afraid to look in the mirror for fear of what they might see.

K.

Posted by: Kate | Apr 27, 2006 5:44:23 PM

Yes, I pretty much agree with the points of view you share here. I read this blog because I fantasize about living in Israel. I also want to cheer on pioneers like you and your family. (I come from a family of pioneers myself.)

In terms of the responses to your piece that were hostile, perhaps people are more likely to voice dissention than support, which can give you the mistaken impression that tons of people hate your piece.

You made people think. Pat yourself on the back for that. It's a really nice piece of writing. The way you reflected on the issues it brought up for YOU was poignant and shows that you are not some unthinking clod.

Posted by: Alice | Apr 27, 2006 6:24:15 PM

I couldn't get to their comments section either but having read those in Ynet and Haaretz online I can pretty much guess the tone.

Other commenters here have pretty much said it all.

Posted by: lisoosh | Apr 27, 2006 6:53:06 PM

Ah, so what that there's a bunch of trolls commenting to that piece in the paper. If they are so rude and hate-filled with their responses, why should their opinion matter? But think about all the people, who may not have commented, but who enjoyed the piece and are thinking about it even now!

Posted by: Irina | Apr 27, 2006 7:23:43 PM

"I'm not exactly sure why this should be... but I have the good fortune to write for an audience whose views tend not to be too extreme. Perhaps the very reason many of you come here is because there is little of the shouting, name calling or finger pointing that goes on in sites with more extreme (or perhaps simply more clearly defined) points of view."

Yep. And you set the tone. You are always respectful of those who communicate in a responsible way, even if their point of view is very far from your own. And you do not tolerate personal attacks or insolence of any kind. I can always count on Treppenwitz for a balanced account of whatever situation is being discussed. It is the way it should be. IMHO.

Posted by: Ezer Knegdo | Apr 27, 2006 7:56:44 PM

Reading the article (again, I read it when it was posted on the blog) and then reading the comments, I was glad to see that there were some that were supporting you. There are those in this world who have their brains in the "upright and locked" position, meaning that they seem to be unable to reflect upon their own attitudes or about the perspective of others. You tried to bring people into a new perspective, and some of them could not understand why anyone would do so.

Have you replied to these emails? Will you? If so, what would you say?

Posted by: J | Apr 27, 2006 8:07:50 PM

David,

As far as I'm concerned, the more people who are exposed to your thoughtful and evocative essays, the better. Of course, you're the only one who can decide if it's worth the personal cost.

Most of the commenters at Arutz 7 obviously hadn't read through to the end of "Ibrahim's Mirror," which makes their responses sound rather silly. I'd bet, though, that for every angry response, there were dozens of readers who quietly absorbed your point and went away richer for it.

When you scatter seeds, some are bound to fall on rocks. But, given time, even a few of those may eventually find their way to a more fertile medium.

Posted by: Lynn B. | Apr 27, 2006 8:30:28 PM

I come because you express life in Israel without everything having to be defended or blasted. If I wish the other, there are MANY. So thanks for being you. Oh, and your ability to write doesn't hurt anything, either. :o)

Posted by: Tim | Apr 27, 2006 9:44:24 PM

Shalom David:

Honestly, I don't see why people reacted so harshly to "Ibrahim's Mirror".
It's a very beautiful piece, and it makes you stop and think about your own biases and how they effect your views on the major issues of the day.
I don't comment much on this blog, (in fact, this may actually be the first time), but I've been reading it since the summer, and have always appreciated the thoughtfulness of your writing, along with the humor.
I think my favorite piece was the "Great Big John" one.
That was just too much.
I would suggest you keep up the good work when it comes to blogging, and don't worry about it getting huge.
As far as advertising is concerned, there are several automated advertising services you can use, that display ads whenever people visit, and that are PPM (pay per mil, or thousand), instead of PPC (pay per click) advertising.
Try visiting

Posted by: Amanda Rush | Apr 27, 2006 10:47:23 PM

It looks like the URL didn't post.
Try visiting www.problogger.com.

Posted by: Amanda Rush | Apr 27, 2006 10:48:26 PM

anytime Mr B, anytime.

Posted by: Tonny | Apr 27, 2006 11:21:02 PM

anytime Mr B, anytime.

Posted by: Tonny | Apr 27, 2006 11:21:19 PM

The other outlets running your work bothers me for a different, more mercenary reason.

When the Post fills its webpages with free content from bloggers, but loads up the page with ads, they make money and don't pay you anything -- that's less work for paid writers.

Same with Arutz Sheva...

I think any outlet that makes money from advertising should pay its writers, even if it's something small and symbolic.

Posted by: Allison | Apr 27, 2006 11:31:51 PM

Honestly, I don't see why people reacted so harshly to "Ibrahim's Mirror".
It's a very beautiful piece, and it makes you stop and think about your own biases...

My impression from the Arutz Sheva link is that the "cheap parlor trick" (as David put it) went over pretty much everyone's head. Almost all of the commenters seem to have utterly missed the point.

Posted by: JSinger | Apr 27, 2006 11:55:53 PM

I'm not surprised at all by the hostile comments from A7. This is a site with an obvious point of view, which does not tolerate other's opinions well. As someone pointed out, you would have gotten as many hostile comments from Haaretz, merely different. A thought piece which is proposing taking a different point of view is not something that a seriously partisan individual can stomach (perhaps the old 2 Jews 3 opinions addage applies). Still, challenging another's point of view is not bad. Perhaps the readers of A7 need a piece like that more than your more middle of the road blog readers need it. Maybe a few people who didn't respond had an opportunity to reflect on what you wrote and it made them think.... Controversy is not bad. Take the heat. Make them think.

Posted by: Jersey Boy | Apr 28, 2006 1:50:39 AM

I agree with Dr Bean & Jack and the others--we regular readers know you and we read your blog because we respect you. I have learned so much about life in Israel from you and G-d willing hope to make aliyah, so I really appreciate the "real-life" aspect of your blog. And I think you're a great writer.

Posted by: Essie | Apr 28, 2006 4:36:36 AM

That was a particularly nice work (Ibrahim's Mirror) and it wasn't overly controversial. What it did, however, require was thought. It seemed that many of your commenters went there with a filter, not a mirror like they needed. I bet thousands viewed it, even if so few commented on it. If there is any lesson to be learned, it is for the normal people to comment, and drown out the people who didn't bother to think, and people who only see things through their own jaded filter.

Posted by: Seattle | Apr 28, 2006 7:05:55 AM

Heh. Before commenting, this post made me go back to an article of mine the Wall Street Journal picked up a few months ago and read some of the comments... I remember the hate mail was even worse than the comments [especially from an uncle], and that was a far less divisive topic, so I can imagine what you probably got.

It's interesting glancing at the first few comments on A7 - it's almost as if they didn't finish the post.

Jack and Dr. Bean had great points, but just to add a bit... it's not only that your readers feel they know you a bit; people comment on blogs because they feel part of the discussion. I think that the bigger the publication, the more extreme the comments tend to be; those in the middle simply aren't interested in being involved in the public discussion. I'm sure hundreds of people read and appreciated the article as much as your readers did... and I still think you should try to get this published in the US, too.

Your blog is a great one to get more exposure - more blogs like yours should as opposed to many of those that do. Shabbat Shalom!!

Posted by: Ezzie | Apr 28, 2006 10:58:46 AM

Note: I solved the comments problem. They don't show up if you view with a Netscape 7.2 browser, but they you can see them if you use IE (and probably a newer Netscape version as well).

Posted by: Elie | Apr 28, 2006 6:37:31 PM

David, there's a very similar situation with the UK (left wing) Guardian's "Comment is free" blog pages. Many good UK bloggers get invited to post there (and they had Lisa and Shai on the Israeli elections). The comments are just beyond belief. It makes it look as if the Guardian's readership are totally bigoted raving left loonies consumed by anger. It's true that it is read by many knee-jerk liberals, but the commenters are way beyond that and solidly into competitive abuse. It's partly because people post underpseudonyms, and because it's not really an individual they're posting to. But actually you've made it clear that you don't accept trollish and provocative comments from either end of the spectrum, and so you should.

Don't let it get to you.


Have a good Shabbos

Posted by: Judy | Apr 28, 2006 7:30:43 PM

Hmmm ... first you complain that we all are too complimentary and that you are taking flak from other bloggers about your adoring minions -- and now you complain about people hating on you? Gosh, you're tough to please!

(And I *am* pulling your leg, of course.)

Posted by: Drew | Apr 28, 2006 9:09:39 PM

What IS heartening is the number of people who took on your attackers--the last post said it best: "Before you attack, READ the article!"

Have to confess that I don't track my readership--but further confess that it's because I've never learned how to .

Posted by: aliyah06 | Apr 29, 2006 2:19:37 AM

P.S. to Yehuda--I actually read more blogs that I disagree with, in large part because I love to debate with the bloggers (nicely)--especially the pro-Palestinian Left wing blogs which are rife with hysterical rantings.

Posted by: aliyah06 | Apr 29, 2006 2:22:03 AM

You know, I've been thinking abt the same things exactly. You have far more traffic than I do and our leagues wink at each other from a distance. I wouldn't want to be read by hundreds (*SHUDDER*) but just a few days ago I had a post w 5 comments, 5 comments only, and I realised (amidst some cursing bcs this is me after all) I had grown accostumed to having a certain amount of comments. Say, anything less than 10, 12 and I do start to wonder what the hell is wrong.
We may have written for ourselves in the beginning and we may very well still write for ourselves but if the tree falls and only a few read it I think we now know ourselves to exist the tiniest bit less.

What with 2005 I gave up on the snarkiness and the political a bit (I actually miss me) and I don't really attract many people who disagree with me (or they keep mum). Again, disagreeing abt general nothingness would be daft so I am protected from nasty comments. But no, I don't think I envy you much, though i'm happy that the treppvoice is spreading further. It may suck rock to you at times but the world at large needs treppendom.

Posted by: Lioness | Apr 30, 2006 11:54:04 AM

David, people who read our blogs--and comment on them--tend to be those that agree with our overall viewpoint. This is not to say that we don't get our trolls and annoyances, but people like to read what they are most comfortable with.

You do get a bit of an echo chamber effect. You won't get that on any media outlet, even when you conform to their point of view. But if you step outside it just a touch, the idiot brigades will descend on you.

But let me tell you that the larger your audience, the higher the number of annoying readers. What brings that number down is how you handle them in your emails and comments.

I don't get nearly as many as some bloggers, but then, my blog doesn't have nearly as high numbers people think it has.

Well, there's that, and the fact that I learned a long time ago that I will almost never start a fight, but by G-d, I will finish it.

If you don't like to scrap, you have to have a very thick skin. If you have neither, don't try for a larger audience.

But David, you're not going to get a very large audience. I don't mean that to be negative. It's from personal experience. JBlogging is a niche. If you want a larger audience, you have to have a wider appeal.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish | May 1, 2006 7:35:34 PM

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