• Hollering Into The Void


    "John,

    Thanks for the support. I sometimes wonder if I'm hollering weird photoshops and awkward puns into the void. ..."

    I remember that terrible feeling. Only I really was hollering into the void.
    ~~~

    A few days ago, I dropped a note to one of our bloggers on Twins Daily, telling them that I enjoyed their latest entry and planned to promote it. Their response is above, and it reminded me of my first seven months of blogging back in 2002. I'd spend an hour or two writing every night. And every day I'd look and find at most 15-20 people were reading me.

    I also remember that once Brad Zellar, an oustanding local professional writer found me and dropped me a note telling me how good he thought one of my entries was. It meant a lot to me then, but looking back, I wonder if it didn't mean everything. It might well have been the difference between stopping or writing.

    ~~~
    It was the second time this week I've been reminded of that. The first time was yesterday when I read an outstanding short entry by internet marketing guru Seth Godin:

    "The cost of setting up a lemonade stand (or whatever metaphorical equivalent you dream up) is almost 100% internal. Until you confront the fear and discomfort of being in the world and saying, "here, I made this," it's impossible to understand anything at all about what it means to be a entrepreneur. Or an artist."

    Or a blogger. This is why I love bloggers.

    It's also why I have so little patience any more for media who take shots at bloggers. Yes, they're also putting themselves out into the world. But it's one thing to publish when you know you're being read (and paid). It's another to publish in the face of the monster of the void. I love people who have stared down that demon.

    Blogging is an act of faith, and there are few things I find more beautiful than an act of faith. (Posting on a message board the first time can be one too.) If you recognize that or feel the same way, I'd encourage you to reward those writers you think deserve that recognition with a comment or message. I also hope you'll think twice before discouraging someone brave enough to confront that fear and discomfort.

    ~~~
    Twins Daily will continue to try and do what it can, too. If you're an independent blogger and want to let the world know you're there, please consider posting a link in our forums of any store of which you are especially proud. Hundreds of people read those links and people will find you. We want people to find you. Just remind us where you are.

    Or you can blog on our site, too. We set you up one when you registered. Just go to the Blogs page and look for a line in the upper right to "My Blog." If you're willing to try hollering at the void, know that we promote quality entries to the front page, where thousands of people will read it.

    That also is true for existing bloggers that want to republish a story from their site. We'll only promote full stories, but include as many teasers back to your blog as you like. We want people to find you.

    This is as much of the mission of Twins Daily as it is to provide independent quality Twins coverage. It is no fun hollering at the void.

    Blog on,
    John
    This article was originally published in blog: Hollering Into The Void started by John Bonnes
    Comments 27 Comments
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I agree with John 100% I started blogging in May of 2003 and the audiences were not big. I would be happy if the page got 20-25 views a day. Then John would link to me and I'd get like 100 views for a day, and then it would level off at 40-50 a day. Then Aaron would link to me and I'd have 150 for a day, but then it would sit at 75-80 views a day.

      So the idea of paying it forward for other bloggers has always been important. I try to do that through retweeting on Twitter and other ways. So that was something that was very important to me when we were developing Twins Daily. We wanted a place to encourage others to write, to share ideas and opinions, lists or laughs. Some will get promoted to the front page. Some won't. But as John said, we want to encourage you to write if you want. We also want to encourage people to click on that "Blog" link at the top of the front page and just see what else has been written. Leave new posters some (respectful) comments and encouragement.
    1. Axel Kohagen's Avatar
      Axel Kohagen -
      A wonderful article, and the irony of reading it and not praising it would be too much to bear.
    1. AScheib50's Avatar
      AScheib50 -
      Great article. I remember about 2 years ago I had started writing for a Twins blog and I remember Seth linking it on his site. It was a great feeling knowing someone appreciated the work I had put in. Alas, I am not blogging these days although this makes me think I should get back at it.

      John, thanks for the quote about putting yourself out there. As a writer and musician, it was my small inspiration today!
    1. markominne's Avatar
      markominne -
      Thanks, John. Great reminder. My hope is that this generation, far from being ruined by the Internet and technology, will produce an unprecedented number of writers. Blogs allow writers to gain exposure - and most importantly - feedback from a wide range of people. Sure, there are the trolls out there who will trash everything, but those few - like you, Seth, Parker, Nick, Aaron and others - who take the time to reinforce good writing make a huge difference, and improve the "blogosphere" for all of us readers!
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      > We set you up one when you registered.

      Somebody set up us the bomb.

      But all seriousness aside, John's post shames me a little. I had been thinking that the blog feature here was not really a success except for people already established. I got what I felt was little response in the early going last year, except if I posted in a forum. Recently, I tried again with a blog post, and got "only" two responses in the comments section. But John's point today mentioned getting 15-20 views in his early days, so I went back to look at my blog posting of a week ago. The stats counter shows 200+ readings. If I got only two comments, it's because what I wrote wasn't interesting enough. I'll have to step up my game - if it's actually something I want to invest more time in, that is, as I'm not sure I have the fire in the belly to do it - and that last observation probably explains more than anything else.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by markominne View Post
      My hope is that this generation, far from being ruined by the Internet and technology, will produce an unprecedented number of writers. Blogs allow writers to gain exposure - and most importantly - feedback from a wide range of people.
      I agree, and I think it's inevitable.
    1. daryl's Avatar
      daryl -
      As someone who was reading your aticles back then (or shortly thereafter when the STrib picked you up) and who never got into commenting - thanks for sticking with it. And that goes for all of you - I've been reading you, Seth, and AG for about a decade on a a daily basis. Never set up a username until now though - I've been inspired!
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      AJ, it shames me a little, too, because I haven't been nearly as good at getting out to the blog page to read, evaluate, respond and promote as I want to be. it needs to be an everyday thing, and ther are definitely lapses.

      I need to organize a group of editors/copywriters to do that, but just haven't got off my butt to do so. In part, because I don't really have a great way to reward/recognize the work they would be doing.
    1. PeanutsFromHeaven's Avatar
      PeanutsFromHeaven -
      It's so gratifying to see writers supporting each other. Teaching High School students has shown me how important it is to feel encouraged and positive about their writing. Much as I might like to think I'm beyond that, I know that we all need that boost from time to time.

      Thanks John, Seth and all the Twins Daily crew for supporting those of us who feel like we're "hollering into the void", and thanks to all who write for inspiring still more writing.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      > We set you up one when you registered.

      Somebody set up us the bomb.

      But all seriousness aside, John's post shames me a little. I had been thinking that the blog feature here was not really a success except for people already established. I got what I felt was little response in the early going last year, except if I posted in a forum. Recently, I tried again with a blog post, and got "only" two responses in the comments section. But John's point today mentioned getting 15-20 views in his early days, so I went back to look at my blog posting of a week ago. The stats counter shows 200+ readings. If I got only two comments, it's because what I wrote wasn't interesting enough. I'll have to step up my game - if it's actually something I want to invest more time in, that is, as I'm not sure I have the fire in the belly to do it - and that last observation probably explains more than anything else.
      This is an excellent point. As our traffic numbers continue to rise, the blogs continue to gain exposure. Our blog index page receives several thousand page views a month and is one of the top 10-15 viewed pages on the site every month.

      If you write something, people will read it. Probably more than you'd expect and without dedicating yourself to writing for several years on your own site, more people than you'd get by writing "into the void".

      And the number increases by tenfold if your blog makes it to our front page, which we do for several user blogs every week (and it's not only for certain people, we try to keep it as quality-based as possible and lend little weight to who wrote the blog).
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      I came here because I used to read Seth and Aaron (and you, although I wasn't a regular after your hiatus ended. I still like the VOR and the chatty chatty princess names you used.)

      I havn't been as satisfied with the site lately, and I really couldn't put my finger on it. The recent poll about the front page (1 column, 2 columns, or the silly third option - can't remember what it was) didn't really seem to get to the issue for me. This column helped me pinpoint it - I was having a hard time finding the things I like to read.

      I changed my link to the blog page instead of the front page. Problem solved.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Love this, John. I've been on an almost permanent vacation from blogging due to lack of time (trying to change that), but I remember when I started blogging going through the same things as discussed here. I'd promote my posts on places like Twitter and Facebook, and daily page views would be around 25-40 (probably all family and friends). Then through persistence and dedication, this number started rising, and the website I wrote for (now defunct) made progress getting our stories out there through things like Google News.

      Then Seth also noticed, and was gracious enough to ask me if I'd like to be on a panel of writers for a series of Minor League Prediction posts he was putting together. This was awesome for me (thanks again for that Seth!).

      After those developments the page view number rose significantly.

      Every once in a while I get asked by people who know I've blogged before, if I had any advice for them because they wanted to start.

      I always went back to what my Creative Writing teachers and professors said: "Writers write, if you want to be one, you have to work on your craft." With enough time and topics, people will notice! And this site is a great tool for that.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      I enjoy Twins Daily so much. In fact, I feel grateful toward TD and all its leaders and members. I had wanted to start writing about the Twins and baseball for years before I actually started. I never felt I had a forum where anything I wrote would ever be read. I have no delusions of turning this into a career or anything like that, but I did want to feel like I was part of some form of community. I had been reading all of the prominent Twins bloggers over the years, so when TD started, I followed. I signed up long before I ever posted anything, as I was still apprehensive. I finally took the plunge and I have really enjoyed contributing what I can. The community here is very supportive and this has become my favorite site to visit. I wish each fan base had a site like this for them.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      It's a sad commentary on my own writing ability, I know, but I have nothing original to add to the comments above. I just want to second many of them. I can't begin to explain how much enjoyment the blogging community has brought to me, especially since we set up Knuckleballs 3 years ago and joined the fun ourselves. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed writing.
    1. Han Joelo's Avatar
      Han Joelo -
      Thanks to you and your team, John. I'm an Idaho farm kid who was 12 in 87 and clearly remember the '91 series. In my twenties, I lost interest. Around 2003 I guess, I read a Bill Simmons article that linked to Bat-Girl that linked to Aaron that linked to Seth and you and the gang. I got back into baseball thanks to bloggers.

      Obviously, the Twins were getting better, I was at a different point in my life (married, kids--up at 5:30 a.m. to read TD and TT) but it was also a cool symbiotic thing--I have a BA in Creative Writing, I enjoy baseball--so its pretty cool to get both things. I have a spring training game streaming on my phone right now as I type this.

      I don't enjoy the "snark"--a word that seems to be an excuse to be a jerk on the internet. But, to each their own. As someone pointed out, there seems to be a bunch of folks that used to follow a defunct website (BYTO? WTF?) and they want to enjoy the content here but get in constant internet arguments. Well, welcome to them, but maybe open a forum specifically for them or something. Honestly, I read through these threads (rarely commenting) like I am at the scene of a car crash.

      I've posted at TT a few times. Once, I had a post that was in the top 3 or 5 rec'd of all times--I analogized the Twins with the Fellowship of the Rings. The last one I did was a total clunker--after one comment I wanted to just delete it. Hard not to be sensitive, but until I sequester myself in a cabin and write a novel, throwing up comments and the occasional posts are as close as I'll come to being a professional writer. Thanks to all of you for what you do.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Han Joelo View Post
      As someone pointed out, there seems to be a bunch of folks that used to follow a defunct website (BYTO? WTF?) and they want to enjoy the content here but get in constant internet arguments. Well, welcome to them, but maybe open a forum specifically for them or something. Honestly, I read through these threads (rarely commenting) like I am at the scene of a car crash.
      BYTO (Battle Your Tail Off) is the forum I ran for six years before merging it (and my skillset) into Twins Daily.

      As for the car crash... Welcome to the Internet. The comments here are tame compared to most. Ever read RubeChat? Or, god forbid, YouTube?
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      > Welcome to the Internet. The comments here are tame compared to most.

      This is the argument I use when I work blue and get called on it, but I don't honestly expect it to hold sway.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      > Welcome to the Internet. The comments here are tame compared to most.

      This is the argument I use when I work blue and get called on it, but I don't honestly expect it to hold sway.
      When running a site, something you have to accept immediately is that you'll never please everyone. Restrict commenting, people complain about not being allowed to say what they want. Let comments run wild and people are insulted off the site.

      Hell, we had someone mention that we shouldn't "glorify alcohol consumption". Well, damn. Our first direct sponsor is Summit Brewing. How's that gonna work?

      At the end of the day, you try to implement something in the middle of the road that keeps most of the people happy and your sanity intact. We're still getting there but overall, this forum is pretty tame compared to most.
    1. mcrow's Avatar
      mcrow -
      This reminds me I should blog more.

      I just feel like I'm not sure if I have anything of value to write about (In other people's eyes) or that anyone else will read it. Maybe I should just write for the fun of getting my thoughts organized.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by mcrow View Post
      This reminds me I should blog more.

      I just feel like I'm not sure if I have anything of value to write about (In other people's eyes) or that anyone else will read it. Maybe I should just write for the fun of getting my thoughts organized.
      tl; dnr

      /
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.