I don’t know - yet - what I want to say. I have written a few hundred words already, only to delete them into the cyber ether. I want to go this way… then that way. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say - those who know me know that this is rarely an issue - I’m just having trouble getting my thoughts to flow into anything that makes any sense.
So I write about it - and the words start to come.
This blog started as a tool to keep me writing during the break in between the fall and spring semesters of my junior year at Sacramento State. Monday morning will mark the start of my final semester of undergraduate studies. I will graduate with my bachelor’s degree on May 26 (or 27). I started off by writing about my favorite subject (me) and expanded into a number of other areas. One genre I have re-visited regularly is that of politics.
Over the past thirteen months, I have been able to pick up on some patterns. I don’t have any independent empirical data - no dependent or independent variables, no control sets - just some observations as determined by my hit counter and the comments and emails I’ve received in response to what I’ve written. Before I get into my analysis, I have another set of very subjective observations regarding my readers.
My regular and semi-regular readers are highly intelligent. I would like to think that I attract those who think for themselves - an ideology I encourage and respect. I’m not one for blind loyalty; I question authority; “Because I said so” has never worked for me. It would appear that my readers are cut from the same cloth - no matter what political party they might be aligned with.
I don’t take politics personally. If you think the war in Iraq was the right thing to do and you think so based on your own weighing of the issues, I can respect that. I certainly don’t agree and will say so and why if asked, but it’s not personal. I don’t hate or even dislike our president. I have other strong opinions regarding his decisions, but it’s not personal. However, after watching politics closely for many years, it is apparent that not everyone reacts as rationally. To disagree with some politically is tantamount to a personal affront. I don’t play that game.
More objective (though, as noted earlier, certainly not scientific) observations are based on numbers. They are generated through the comments registered and the visits to my blog as documented through my hit counter. One of my first (and earliest) observations is simple enough. Shorter is better. Generally 600 to 1,000 words are the most anyone is willing to commit to. It’s a general rule in news writing. There are, of course, exceptions, but in the blogosphere, it seems to be true as well.
The subject matter, although much more difficult to isolate, seems to make a difference as well. Even within the same field, some matters garner more opinion than others. For example, my recent post, “The Left Coast,” was about a proposed law by a Democratic California Assemblywoman that would outlaw spanking. Although this post probably could be categorized a number of ways, “political” would have be one of those categories. However, political though it may be, it is also a decidedly social issue. It was a post that generated comments very quickly.
The next two posts were political as well. Both were oriented towards national politics and as such dealt with the war in Iraq. The first, “The New Way Backward,” was a preview opinion on the State of the Union address. It generated only two comments. My last piece, “Democratic Response,” was an analysis of the SOTU address and of Senator Webb’s response to it. Initially, it didn’t garner many comments either. It took some time before visitors felt compelled to comment.
There are of course many other factors that I can’t even begin to account for. What day of the week a post is put up and how long it stays on top is a factor as well. Furthermore, although my comment count varies, my hit counter does not. I still get the same number of visitors - roughly - regardless of the comments left behind. And even on a highly remarked piece, the visitor count outnumbers the comments… by a lot. What’s it all mean?
I haven’t a clue, so I’ll just keep writing.