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Columnist Turned Accidental Baseball Blogger 102

Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "Wall Street Journal Online tech columnist Jason Fry started playing around with a New York Mets blog almost a year ago. In today's Real Time column, he outs himself as one of the writers behind Faith & Fear in Flushing, and writes about the stress of blogging: "The downside of being a blog writer? Being a blog administrator. I also wasn't prepared for how much work blogging was. Baseball already took up three hours a night; now it took up four -- at least. Blogging about a thrilling extra-inning win was easy; blogging about a dull-as-dishwater loss wasn't. And with more and more people reading us and commenting about our posts, blogging sometimes became a duty; we wrote at least one new entry for 190 straight days, including ones when one or both of us was tired, on vacation or not particularly inspired."" Heh. Boy, does this refrain ever sound familiar.
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Columnist Turned Accidental Baseball Blogger

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  • by Control Group ( 105494 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @01:50PM (#13916921) Homepage
    Outsource!

    I'm sure there are people in India happy to blog for $1.73/hr.
  • by plastid ( 535330 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @01:52PM (#13916930)
    Do what the slashdot editors do -- just use the same posts over and over with slightly different headlines.
  • Sucks, doesn't it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @01:57PM (#13916977)
    No one realizes just how much work goes into any "hobby project website" until they start doing it themselves. Recently, I was elected into one position in a hobby association, dumped into the "webmaster" position, and also administer the forum software. Man, was it easy to be on the other side of the table when all I had to do was read what others posted. I had no idea how much work content, coding, and administrating is/was.

    Then you have to deal w/the users of your website. Drama, questions, problems, bugs, whatever. Ugh.

    I'm already burned out from that one particular project and I have my own website, other websites, and real life I have to deal with. I have gotten to the point where at least three days a week are "offline time". I sit down with a book and headphones or do something w/the wife or whatever.

    I have talked about making your hobby your job and the problems that causes. Looks like other people are learning about it too.
    • No one realizes just how much work goes into any "hobby project website" until they start doing it themselves.

      Actually, I've found just the opposite to be true. I started a "hobby" site about 2 years ago dealing with home remedies (My Home Remedies [myhomeremedies.com]). There is some initial work coding the site, but after that, assuming there are no huge bugs, it takes maybe 5 minutes a day for me to review submissions. Of course, the key to an easy, successful hobby site, unless you just love the sound of your fingers
      • by stevey ( 64018 )

        I've found that running my site on Debian Administration [debian-adm...ration.org] a fair amount of work.

        Choosing the base software was fairly simple, but since then I find I'm making tweaks to the code on an almost daily basis [cvsrepository.org]. Sometimes these are just minor things, othertimes I have to make a lot of changes for different reasons.

        (Of course switching to a CSS layout to be all cool like /. doesn't help that ;)

        Even if you allow users to submit content, as I do, there's still a lot of writing I've had to do. With a couple of thou

        • I couldn't find your AdSense ads. Are they still on the site or have you taken them down since they were not producing much? Anyways, after reading your comment I think maybe the subject matter has to do with how willing people will be to contribute content. On the home remedies site, for example, everyone has their own theories about how to cure the common cold or get rid of hiccups, and they're happy to get online and share that with everyone. Perhaps there aren't enough people knowledgeable enough (o
          • There is one block of adverts on each "article" - on the front page, and the other pages there are none.

            (Actually that is not the whole story, there is a 75% chance of viewing an adsense advert upon each article, and a 25% chance of seeing a "paypal donate" button).

            I agree that your site is much more open-ended than mine, and has a much wider potential contributor/audience pool.

            I'm not unhappy that I'm not raking in $$, just figured that it was worth suggesting that either you got lucky, or are doing mor

  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @01:58PM (#13916980)
    And with more and more people reading us and commenting about our posts, blogging sometimes became a duty;

    Only in your own friggin' heads.

    I have a blog that's fairly popular (not the link here and I'm not posting it). Sometimes, if I go a while without posting, I get comments, some quite nasty, asking why (or just complaining that) I haven't posted recently.

    My thought is, "Pay my rent and then we can talk about my responsibility to write this damn thing." I write when I'm in the mood and I don't write when I'm not in the mood. If people can't deal with that for free, then they can go find another blog.

    Any responsibility these guys feel to doing this daily is of their own making. If they're not getting paid for doing it when they don't want to do it, then they're morons. If they ARE getting paid, then they need to stop whining.
    • Agreed. If you're not getting anything out of it, stop or take a break. If it's your hobby, let it stay your hobby. Once it becomes an obligation, it becomes a chore, and once it becomes a chore... why are you doing it in the first place?

      I've got a blog which is basically a place for me to post interesting stuff or sound off. I like getting readers and comments, but that's not the purpose. I post what I want, when I want, and I haven't lost interest.

      I've also got a long-running (i.e. 9.5 years now) com [hyperborea.org]
    • by fistfullast33l ( 819270 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:06PM (#13917056) Homepage Journal
      I totally agree with you, but for some reason I always get twangs of guilt for committing to do something and not being able to do it. I also think that most people get to the point where they don't want to blog anymore and the blog dies out. My brother's and girlfriend's blogs both suffered from this. I think that it doesn't even matter who reads it, nine times out of ten it's more of how much effort you want to put into it. Most blogs are created out of the user's ideas of, hey, that might be nice to do. Once you get into it, however, you can see how much effort it takes to maintain these things and that usually kills the "nice idea" thoughts in your head. Of course, the Slashdot editors are excellent examples of how to keep a blog going by getting paid for your efforts. I think the dedication level only comes from monetary rewards or something like PJ's from Groklaw where you're carrying a cause on your shoulders. The blogs where people just comment on daily life are a dime a dozen and tend to disappear very freqently.
      • I totally agree with you, but for some reason I always get twangs of guilt for committing to do something and not being able to do it.

        To whom did you make this commitment to blog every n hours? If only to yourself, then you simply need to decide to write only when you actually have something to say. So many blogs are awful exactly because the authors think quantity is more important than quality. The blogs that are worth reading are generally written by those authors who know that it's always best to leave
        • Yes, I'd say I definitely made this commitment to myself. It's something I wanted to do to get readership up. But in the end, I guess it doesn't really matter. Maybe I'm getting the guilt more because I wanted to do this and failed miserably?
    • So disable the comments. Do you really value the feedback that much?

    • Yeah, but my hobby site was more relaxing/fun when it *didn't* pay the rent.

      Now it's bringing in enough money to do that, and I feel obligated to clean up the bugs, be vigilant about spam, redesign the site to something modern, getting upset when artists don't deliver...

      Now it's work.
  • wrote at least one new entry for 190 straight days, including ones when one or both of us was tired, on vacation or not particularly inspired.

    *whiners*
    I guess this goes to show people will read anything reguardless of the quality of content. Hell, your reading this.....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @01:59PM (#13916997)
    Blogging is hard? Compared to what? Watching TV? Digging ditches, cleaning septic tanks, plumbing, and about a million other jobs are much harder than merely posting trivial and useless opinions on fluff topics.

    Get real.
    • Insightful? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kelson ( 129150 ) *
      posting trivial and useless opinions on fluff topics

      Like dismissing an entire medium* on Slashdot? That takes a lot of work, doesn't it?

      Sure, those jobs are a lot more physically difficult (with the exception of watching TV). But anyone who spends time programming, writing websites -- heck, just writing -- should recognize that mental work takes effort too. And yes, there are a lot of "fluff" blogs -- probably the majority, though that just reflects Sturgeon's Law.

      Posting fluff is easy. Keeping a schedu
    • "Blogging is hard? Compared to what? Watching TV? Digging ditches, cleaning septic tanks, plumbing, and about a million other jobs are much harder than merely posting trivial and useless opinions on fluff topics."

      RTFA, please.

      See, blogging in the author's case is a hobby. Not a job, not a necessity. And his point is that it was more involved, and took more time, than he expected. It wasn't just a matter of posting some commentary every day -- he had to administrate the blog, deal with the comments, e
      • by ifwm ( 687373 )
        "he CHOSE to administrate the blog, deal with the comments, etc."

        There, I fixed it for you.

        PS, you don't get to whine about something you choose to do. That makes you a crybaby (and deservedly so).
        • What is wrong with discussing misperceptions about something? What is wrong with bring up a potentially interesting topic?

          "PS, you don't get to whine about something you choose to do. That makes you a crybaby (and deservedly so)."

          Then stop complaining about TFA and the GP to this post. And stop complaining about any single thing that happens, since you CHOOSE to not commit suicide.

          If you'd read TFA, you'd see that he wasn't complaining. He was making a point or two.

          What's the point of a blog, t
          • What is wrong with bring up a potentially interesting topic?

            My God, man! You do realize you're talking about Slashdot, don't you?
            • Sure, but my point is that if you want to discuss the topic, go ahead. If you don't think it's worth discussing, simply don't bother.

              No one is forced to participate in any thread.
          • You know, I had a well thought out, logical response to your post.

            Then I realized you don't have the slightest idea how to use reason or logic, so I'll go with this.

            "Then stop complaining about TFA and the GP to this post. And stop complaining about any single thing that happens, since you CHOOSE to not commit suicide."

            And that makes sense to you? Um, well... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. THAT MAKES SENSE TO YOU!!!!! BWAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAA.

            Thanks for the laugh.

            Share some more wisdom genius. I
            • Well, yes. You CHOSE to read the post. You CHOSE to read the article (maybe).

              The fact of the matter is that raising issues (complaining, if you will) is a great way of fostering debate about topics.

              There's a literary device called sarcasm that apparently you have no grasp of. Maybe you should go back and learn to read critically. You think my point is ridiculous? Good, so do I -- just like your point was ridiculous. Maybe you missed the obvious step of wondering why I had written that -- to poin
    • But if you're a ditch-digger, the only way you can reach a point where you literally cannot do your job anymore is if you get injured, get old, or forget how to dig a ditch. It's different with blogging, or any creative job: the ability to write is not a resource you can just renew by eating food and getting a good night's sleep. It is difficult to write on demand.
  • by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:03PM (#13917024)
    Just write when you feel like you should. Write only when it means something to you. Don't try to write for the sake of an audience. If you get bored with it, do something else. Or write about different things. Baseball audience doesn't want to hear about your views on music or politics or curling? Well too bad for them!
    • I think since I started "blogging," I might have posted 80 articles, and that has been more than a year ago. So out of 365+ days, I post maybe once or twice a week on average.

      I could have written more often, but then my blog would quickly degenerate being from a semi-serious source of information on various topics (ranging from book reviews to rants about spam blacklisting services, probably my most popular post ever by number of comments and search engine hits) to being your classic LiveJournal angst-and-
    • Guess it depends on why you are writing. If you're writing for the sake of journaling it doesn't matter if people read your blog or not. A 'hobby' blog like this sounds like the author decided he had something to share with the world, in which case the audience, and maintaining the attention of the audience is more important on some level. How many times can they check back with no update, before they simply stop checking back? Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Yep, it's hard. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frostman ( 302143 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:10PM (#13917089) Homepage Journal

    Keeping that stream of blog posts coming is a lot harder than most people think before they actually try it.

    In that, blogging is no different than any other kind of content creation. Especially non-profit content creation.

    What makes the difficulty surprising, I think, is how many people don't seem to have it. You look around in blogville and see all these people posting at least once a day, and a lot of them have large readerships. But if you look closely you find that a lot of these folks are doing one or more of:

    1. Obsessively blogging about the (boring) details of their lives.
    2. Compensating for a lack of other other social or creative outlets.
    3. Expressing a natural graphomania (lawyer blogs anyone?).
    4. Actually making money (or even a living) with their blogs.

    If none of those apply to you, that leaves the not-so-simple task of regularly trying to write something interesting and suitable for at least amateur publication. Anyone who ever made a zine or a comic will tell you it's a very hard habit to get into. But with blogging, you have the hyper-productive blogs in front of you, and the blog companies telling you how easy it is, and you dive in expecting it to be cake.

    And then there's the whole templates-and-hacking issue, at least if you don't want the blog to be ugly. Yep, lotsa work.

    • Yes but 'blog means "web log" which refers to logging things that happen. If things happen then they would be easy to write about. This guy was abusing the concept of a blog in that he was trying to write when there was nothing to write about.
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:12PM (#13917105)
    Professional columnists and cartoonists sometimes prepare a few submissions ahead of time. Thought-pieces, retrospectives, discussion of long-term trends, etc. don't depend as much on timely, up-to-the-minute news. If nothing timely inspires an entry or exhaustion strikes, then post one from inventory.
    • You can't really do that with baseball, as there are 162 games played in a year. Football you can do that, because they only play 16 games a year. Really no need to blog everyday for football.

      Since baseball is like the stock market, even on off days a team can go up and down in the standings, it is more difficult to ignore the day and post purely on trends. It would be like the WSJ declining to discuss the 5 point loss in the Dow and running a piece on how stocks are on a upward trend.
    • Thought-pieces, retrospectives, discussion of long-term trends, etc. don't depend as much on timely, up-to-the-minute news.

      Yeah, the problem is with something like baseball, something is always going on during the season, so these evergreen blogs won't really work>

      What I don't get from some of the responses on /. is the vitrolic response to someone explaing that creatig quality content is hard. Come on, when you put up a blog, you want people to read it, to come back and keep reading it. You want

  • If it becomes work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by duncan ( 16437 ) <chuckf410@noSpam.yahoo.com> on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:13PM (#13917111)
    Then get paid for it.

    If you want to blog for the fun of it, don't take it so seriously. If you miss a day that's just too bad. If you regret missing a day, that's fine.

    If I'm on vacation and miss blogging for a few days to a week or two, too bad. And if people complain, let them pay me to do it daily.
  • Boy, does this refrain ever sound familiar.

    Well duh, Hemos. Advise the man on the way to deal with "new article" monotony: repost previous game recaps. Dupes 4tw.
  • Yes, anything you write about more than once on the internet, and OMG suddenly it's a Blog!

    blog this! blog that! blogs about blogs! It's not a webcam, it's a still image blog! Hey look, it's not a directory, it's a file blog! Apache logs, nope, they are web blogs!(get it?).

    Yes, 2005's the year where suddenly EVERYTHING is redefined as a freakin' blog. Maybe 2006 is the year we go outside.
  • A couple years ago I was asked by some pet supply business in California if I wanted them to market my Pet Foil Hat Technology in their magazine, and I'd mass produce them. Since that certainly takes a lot of the fun out of it, I declined, even though I stood to make a little money out of it, and maybe gain some more fame. But it just isn't worth it if fun becomes work, just for the sake of money.

    I feel the same about my blog. I have [probably] enough writing talent to be a somewhat popular blogger, but
  • From my experience, the length of most blog's entries are inversely proportional to the number of entries.

    * First post: On and on about the blog
    * Second: On and on about response
    * Eighth: Voicing opinion on some overplayed incident
    * Twelveth: Searching for new topics
    * Twentieth: "Anyone reading this?"
    * Twenty-fifth: "Sorry all but I'm going to have to stop the blog. Work's really busy now. Look for me to come back soon!"
  • I've been running a blog for over 4 years now (it may be in my .sig, I forget now), and sometimes I post every day, sometimes I've even gone 6 or 7 days without posting, but it's still there, and people read it, and sometimes they complain, but really, what does it matter?

    I've got the content there, I do it for myself, and if people read it, they read it. It's not like it's paying my mortgage, or even for my bandwidth.
  • God knows we could not all live without another yammering commentary on something as mind bogglingly boring as baseball.

    More power to you Philip J.- er, Jason Fry! God speed and God bless and stuff.

    Flamebait? Yeah, sure, why not?

  • by dmccarty ( 152630 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:41PM (#13917315)
    Hemos wrote:
    "we wrote at least one new entry for 190 straight days, including ones when one or both of us was tired, on vacation or not particularly inspired."
    Heh. Boy, does this refrain ever sound familiar.

    Oh yeah, sure. With the exception of Taco's diatribe against Blizzard last week, how much content do Slashdot editors* write in a week? Maybe 50 words?

    * for all values of editors = submission moderators

  • Heh. Boy, does this refrain ever sound familiar.

    That's probably because it's a dupe.
  • I run a fairly busy blog for a college sports team Red and White From State and it has been up for a year. I've written most of the entries, in fact 380 of them in the 366 days that we've been up. We average over 1,000 unique hits a day, with no advertising, no search engine placement, in fact, it's just there and has gotten around by word of mouth.

    My wife asks me why I do it. I tell her that it's therapeutic, that it's interesting to me, and that I enjoy it -- most of the time. She thinks I am crazy.

  • I think everyone is being awfully hard on these guys. Trying to come up with something interesting and worthwhile to say on a repeated basis is a hard thing to do. Sure, there are no major repurcussions if they slacked off and didn't update as often, but they made a personal commitment. They decided to do it, and they did it. I think that is pretty impressive when compared to the majority of projects that I see. I think that calling them whiners is a bit harsh, definitely derogatory, and by saying that you
  • Why, these guys double post all their stuff as well?
  • Is better than blogging for a team like the Royals or Pirates. Their season is over around June. At least the Mets were in contention until August, have exciting players and play in NY.
  • His complaint that he feels a duty to post is like the many people who complain that they loathe cell phones because they "have" to answer whenever someone calls. The answer to both is easy: If you don't want to, don't. If you don't want to be interrupted, just ignore your cell phone. Heck, turn if off for a few hours. Sure, some people will complain, "You didn't answer." (If it's your boss and you're being paid to be on call, perhaps he has a point.) Tell them you were otherwise occupied, that this

  • ...where could I go to receive ads from the WSJ about someone posting unedited stuff on a webpage about baseball...? Now I know: Slashdot! By the way, does anybody like know where I could get ads about gossip on Jennifer Lopez? OMG PLEASE POST THEM HERE!!!

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