Will Carroll has a post about the baseball blogosphere. I wont’ try to characterize the post in a single sentence because it, and the ensuing comments hit a number of issues. However one of the elements that at least got my wheels turning was in defining quality and success in a blog/blogger.
First in terms of defining success Will points out that all bloggers are looking for feedback. That feedback could be in terms of visits, comments, money, and praise. I’d also include additional opportunities as another feedback component, but I like the definition as a starting point. At this point in terms of defining success it becomes a matter of magnitude. Caroll points out that with the exception of David Pinto, nobody is making a living blogging about baseball. Also, he notes that no blogs have the followship that mainstream media has. Again, I can’t argue with the assertion. However, I’m not sure that the lack of the above means blogs aren’t succeeding. As a blogger, I’m satisified that several hundred people care enough about what I think to visit on a regular basis. I consider it a success that the voice of the Detroit Tigers lists my blog among his regular reads. I understand that I probably won’t make a career out of this, but I’m satisfied considering this is a hobby and a passion. The income is just a bonus.
Sports bloggers in general are blogging out of a passion for their sport or team. For some it may be an exercise in journalism, or what may amount to a rather lengthy resume. But I don’t know many who started a sports blog as a profession. There aren’t carefully crafted business models prior to starting a blog because there doesn’t need to be. While the easy entry encourages a great deal more content and conversation it probably diminishes innovation from an economical standpoint.
Now I think Will is talking on a broader level and thinking of success of blogs as an entity as opposed to individual endeavors. I believe he is talking about the success of the blog as opposed to the blogger. Afterall, Belth landed a MSM gig, and Gleeman used his blog to land a host of paid writing jobs. I’d consider both of these to be successes. In another example, John Bonnes ported his Twins Geek blog over to MSM for an entire season.
But in terms of blog success it may best be defined in their adoption by MSM. Many papers have charged internal columnists/writers to start blogs to better keep up with current news. Many of these blogs are effective at communicating things that don’t fit in game stories or the beat reports. But as informative as the MSM blogs may be, they still don’t provide the voice or insight that many appreciate in their local blogger.
I don’t disagree entirely with Carroll’s post. I just view the situation a little more optimistically.