What I’ve Learned About Blogging So Far
In the coming weeks, I’ll start posting on regular days, probably Mondays and Thursdays (I’m working on it), probably a long piece and a short one. On other random days I’ll post “I take it back” pieces, highlighting how comments or correspondence have changed or expanded my thinking. I want to share what’s gotten knocked into my head; that’s the whole point of this enterprise. Meanwhile here’s what I’ve learned in three weeks:
Blogging is fast
Within two days of launching “It’s the Tribes, Stupid”, responses were zooming in. Two of the first and best were posted by Zenpundit and Fabius Maximus. They made it clear that we weren’t on the same page, but they also showed respect for the intent of the endeavor and they took the time to present well thought-out, balanced posts. I learned something from them—and I’ve continued reading their posts. The point to me is to stir the pot, not to congregate only with like-minded travelers.
Bloggers have sharp teeth
The blogosphere, I’m beginning to see, can also be the slogosphere. To you gentlemen (and you know who you are) who are snarling at each other on “It’s the Tribes,” please knock it off or take it outside. There’s no excuse for ad hominem snarkiness. Let’s keep the discourse on a plane our mothers would be proud of.
Blogging is hard work
When I started, I thought, “No problem, I’ll knock out five pieces a week and keep ‘em coming.” Not so fast, Steve. I discovered it’s as hard to write a good blogging post as it is to do any other form of serious writing. I respect it. It’s making me sweat!
There’s good stuff online
I didn’t realize how much interesting work lives online only. Through Small Wars Journal, I was introduced to Major Niel Smith. I quoted a paragraph from his article “Sisyphus and Counterinsurgency” in my June 30 post. Small Wars Journal also features the work of Patrick Devenny, though I was introduced to Patrick’s work through Twitter—just in time to catch his just-published Foreign Policy article titled “Call in the Cavalry: A historical look at how Afghanistan can be won—and lost.”
Views are easy, comments are hard
For every thousand views of a post, maybe two or three people leave comments. I’d love to figure a way to get that second number up. As I write this, according to Small Wars Council, 3,333 people have viewed a thread about “It’s the Tribes, Stupid” but only 32 have left comments. And these aren’t 32 different people. As Shakespeare wrote for King Lear: “Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.”
Blogging is fun
The videos and the entries posted thus far are just a beginning. For those who have remarked on what I’ve left out, there’s more to come. Continue pointing out what you think I’m missing and what you would enjoy reading more of in the future. Thanks!