Well, it seems that Reno A-lister turned C-lister might have the mojo back. Two posts just this week in the double digits – wow! Of course, one of those did invoke the name of GWB, so you knew crazy people whose faces turn red would be out in full force to comment away on that one.
That post asking where the comments went illustrates a big point for me. Blogging isn’t easy. At least, it’s not easy when you want to create large conversations on your site that add value to the community. I think that the RGJ reporters felt that – finally – in the last couple of months. And I can’t say I wasn’t a bit happy about it.
When INP came on the scene, it picked up really quickly. As soon as people figured out it was there, which wasn’t long, the comments were racking up. Now, a lot of those comments were jabs that “anonymous” took at either a real person or another anonymous, but you can’t deny that there was activity there. As there should have been. It was a blog run by a reporter who had access many of us could only dream about. And she was doing it not on her own, but as part of the job. On the paper’s dime. With every expense covered. So the material was invaluable. Heck, I’d even argue that the paper might want to look at how popular that blog was with people and maybe think about the direction of the print version, but that’s an argument for another day.
Then, reality hit. That reporter who made the site so popular announced she was leaving for awhile. She also ignored some things that the readership – at least a few – thought were really important. Things that a reporter connected in political circles could have investigated, but didn’t. And coupled with the leaving thing, accusations started flying that she was blowing it all off. That wasn’t fair on the part of the accusers. But, in retrospect, there were entire weeks where nothing was posted at all this summer.
There was also a problem I personally had. She didn’t get blogging. After a discussion in the comments over there, she accused me of using her comments to try to promote myself. Um, duh. I always thought that the reason comments included that little line where you put in your own website was to get people to click on it and visit your site. It was also ironic that a site that allowed anonymous to call me names in those same comments would crack on me for having the guts to use my name to try and get new readers. It was at that point that I realized they were still the enemy. Still the media. That site wasn’t about “creating a conversation.” It was about “listening to what we say.” Couple that with the fact that they removed their local site blogroll, and I should need to explain no more. So it should come as no surprise that I was laughing when I read that she was a bit bummed by not having comments anymore. For some people, it takes a few years of regular blogging to start making an impact. For others, it takes a lot of posting about very relevant things. And for more, it takes incessant promotion of your site to get people to participate. They got participation over there because they were more connected than anyone else. I think that makes you a bit less understanding of what others are doing to play in this game.
So, with my arms held out firmly to keep my distance, I say welcome back. The comments are coming again, and they’re just as filled with crazy talk as they always were. I visit, but don’t for a second think that I’m not muting those horrific commercials they run on that site (forced audio is BAD!). I’ll still comment. It’s certainly fun. When the election is over and all those commenters realize they didn’t change anyone’s mind on anything, they’ll all go back to their normal lives. I’ll still be there, because this is my normal life.