So, you want to be a blogger? Good luck with that!
What’s a blog? It’s an online opinion that invites comment.
More technically, it’s a bunch of words posted on a blogging platform by someone who hopes other people will care about their opinion enough to follow them. The top three blogging platforms (all “free”) are WordPress.com, Blog.com and Google Blogger.
(My initially “free” Word Press page hosted a violent video game ad, which played poorly with my blog topic, “What is PR?”. Now I pay a reasonable annual subscription to be ad-free.)
One of the first popular blogs was The Misanthropic Bitch, started by a journalism student in 1997. Ten years later, there were an estimated 12 million bloggers in the US alone.
As a majority of bloggers discover, nobody cares about their opinion, which perhaps is why 80 percent of bloggers abandon ship within a month. The average blogger apparently has a better chance of winning the lottery or being struck by lightning than attracting a large and adoring following. (Not to worry. A lightning strike, should you survive, could launch a successful blogging career.)
However, a handful of successful bloggers attract throngs of followers, and their words are a catalyst for change.
The most successful US blog is the Huffington Post, with 54 million monthly visitors last year. Holy smokes Batman! Huff Post blogger Matt Sledge recently posted “The Drug War and Mass Incarceration by The Numbers.” By 5 p.m. on the day of his post, he had garnered 5,000 comments and 3,000 “likes.”
Bloggers in Russia, China and the Middle East are challenging the status quo, giving hope to the oppressed, and winning handsome jail sentences. Blogger Alexey Navalny is called “the man Vladimir Putin fears most.”
So, you want to be a blogger? It’s not for the faint of heart, but success is possible.
I started my blog a few weeks ago, and as of today I have enough followers to count on one hand. I was my only follower in week one, an absurdity reminiscent of “I’m My Own Grandpa,” a folk song favorite.
Of course, I’m in it for the long haul. If I can attract two dozen followers before the year is out, I might still value my own opinion.