Thursday, November 17, 2016


Two conversations I had today about blogging.

I haven't added Sitemeter to this blog and I'm thinking of avoiding it. Ah, but no sooner did I write that then I felt a pull to enter the address of this blog in Technorati. And don't you want to know what level of evolution you've reached on the Truth Laid Bear ecosystem? I was a Flappy Bird (over there on my other blog), then I got to be an Adorable Rodent, then somehow I had fewer links and I was a Flappy Bird again. These are like cliques in a high school--it was like I was one of the Theater Kids again. This was all (or most of it) said in a conversation today with a colleague who used to be an Adorable Rodent like me but is now a Marauding Marsupial. We discussed the feeling we get when the Popular Kid says hi to us: Instapundit linked to him today. Oh, and I've be linked by Instapundit five times, but it's like: the Popular Kid never calls me any more. And so I'm checking Sitemeter referrals and Technorati like a teenager in love checking to see if the phone has a dialtone.

Imagine if when you were in high school you had services like BlogShares and Sitemeter and Technorati to check to see where you ranked against the other kids! And then would you try to figure out how to improve your standing and do those things. But here we are, adults with blogs, checking our statistics. Now Jeremy doesn't use any traffic metering device on his weblog, but he's still a character in Blog High School. He's just one of those kids who go around saying popularity doesn't matter and he doesn't even want to be popular. But I admire Jeremy's blog! And I may never add Sitemeter and thus affect the form of self-esteem that is the Pride of the Nerd.

Then I had another conversation with someone who saw that I'd started a second blog and she wanted a second blog too. We discussed the many motives for having a second blog and came up with a lot of good ideas. One would be to have a secret blog, an anonymous blog, where you could say all the things you don't want attributed to your name. Nothing criminal and nothing against a person, just sort of your alter ego. Your main blog would be your Jerry Seinfeld, and the anonymous blog would be George Constanza--all the meaner things you hold your tongue about. For the blogger who coulda been a novelist, the alter ego blog would be the villainous or socially inappropriate character in your story, where you can dump all the mean or daring or shameful things that you think but don't say. I got the idea--really the most outrageously narcissistic idea--of having a second blog that would be anonymous, but that would have as its theme taking issue with everything I say on my main blog--denouncing and vilifying myself, which struck me as a very amusing thing to do. Thinking back to that earlier conversation (the Blog High School conversation), I realized that would be a way to get more links. Especially if unwitting others came forward to defend me.

In the Saul Cornell talk today about the Second Amendment, which I mentioned over on my "Jerry blog" (man, that shouldn't count as a link--that's like sending yourself flowers to try to appear popular!), he explained how the recent body of Second Amendment scholarship was created around the Sanford Levinson article "The Embarrassing Second Amendment," how once that was published and a citation existed, people could write other articles and law review editors would accept those articles, because now there was an authority to footnote. He compared the phenomenon to a coral reef or an algae bloom. He said it was like check kiting (except not necessarily bad). Anyway, couldn't you similarly play the website popularity tracker sites by creating multiple anonymous blogs and linking to them? It would then seem like an important little group of bloggers had gotten going and that might attract others to linking to you and so forth. But why would you be doing that? Because blogging is like high school!

ORIGINAL POST DATE: Tue - April 27, 2004 at 05:55 PM  

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