Crisis of relevancy for Wellsy’s World

Posted on March 24, 2011

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So it’s been four months since my last post, and this is the first post of 2011. To say that I have been unmotivated to blog would be a massive understatement – indeed, it’s almost a slog to write this post. Still, I feel like I ought to write down what’s going through my head right now.

When I first started doing this blogging thing back in November of 2009, I wanted to give my take on what was going on in the world. Part of the reason was a sort of cathartic release of issues that had been roiling around in my head regarding the hot topics of the day. But even though a desire for personal expression remains a big part of why I started, in the back of my head I knew that I didn’t want this blog to just become some sort of personal political diary; that for a continued drive to carry on, I’d have to try to build something in terms of relevancy to the rest of the blogosphere.

I had some modest success at first, it seemed. Pageviews seemed to steadily increase, and I got the attention of the managing editor of The Moderate Voice, who offered me the chance to guest post over there occasionally. Still, something seemed to be missing. Most of the traffic seemed be driven by search engines, meaning that new eyeballs were getting to the site – but weren’t sticking around. In addition, the people who did come back didn’t comment or argue, making it impossible to build any kind of community of readers.

Obviously that’s my own fault. I had in my head that I wanted an approach that was a kind of hybrid of Hot Air and Ace of Spades – a blogging style that relied not on red-meat name-calling but on arguments and facts with a healthy dose of levity and, yes, a bit of unapologetic confidence in conservatism.

The only problem is that Hot Air, Ace of Spades, and many others do this a lot better than I do. So, in a sense, if others are doing it better and with more success, what’s the point?

Another factor is despite the fact that I started a political blog, I don’t enjoy hostile confrontation. Discussion is one thing, and I fully recognize that disagreements should get heated with the scope of issues that are involved, and I totally get that and embrace that. But this means that writing posts that by their nature must be adversarial and confrontational in order to present a point of view that is often under attack takes more of a deliberate effort than other bloggers who I think relish the opportunity to forcefully argue their case.

This is an effort that, after a full day of work and seeing to my family, is hard to sustain without some sense of building accomplishment. So after one and a half years of work with little else to show but a moderate increase in pageviews, my motivation waned. There’s quite frankly other stuff I want to do when my daughter goes to bed, and while I’ll gladly invest the time and effort, it’s only if it seems like I’m making a small difference.

This feeling may have been sadly exacerbated with my experience at TMV. I have nothing but thanks for Joe Gandelman’s graciousness in extending an opportunity at that site, especially for an amateur no-name blogger like me. Yet despite the name, the vast majority of posters decidedly skew left, and being one of the very, very few right-leaning posters left me feeling isolated and really questioning the point of continuing over there when for every one piece of opinion I wrote, thirty others would counterbalance my “Fox News talking points,” as one commenter put it. I’m not quite sure I fit in with the rest of the community.

So that brings us to this post. I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say with this post. I’m not folding up shop and calling it quits, not entirely. This may seem like a lot like whining, the sort that a lot of small-time bloggers do when things don’t progress as quickly as they’d like. This is probably the most candid I’ve been on this blog, and I’m sorry if it sounds petulant or petty or naive, but I simply had to write how I felt.

Some might say I just need to find a better niche – do local, Dayton-area stuff, or focus more on strictly Ohio matters. Doing a local politics blog seems like a real losing proposition with little appeal outside this county, and while there are certainly a lot of things going on inside Ohio right now, I don’t think I could do it justice with my limited time and total lack of connections with any in state government.

So there it is. I’m going to continue to post and write here. But some explanation of what’s been happening needed to be published here. I thank any of you that frequent this place, and I urge you to speak up with any criticism or suggestions that would help to make this place better.

We’ll speak again soon.

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