Monday, June 2, 2008

Secrets of an Ace Blogger or,
UD Tells All

Margaret Soltan (aka UD, as in University Diaries) has buried in the comments section of a recent post the secrets to her success as a blogger.

Some excerpts:

... I don’t do anything, technologically, BUT internet, and when I do internet, I only blog or read. No video games, no Face Book stuff, etc. I buy almost nothing online. I read very few other blogs. I’m on no listservs.

... I have no tv, and I have no Blackberry or whatever. I don’t know how to text on my cell phone.

... I also don’t drive, so I’m not wasting time that way. On the metro, I’m writing longhand — journal entries, essays, blog entries which I’ll post later that day.

Part of the answer is also that I’m a fast writer (at least relative to the people I know) and (by any standard) a fast typist.

... I’ve been blogging for quite a long time in blog years, and I’ve been keeping a blog whose focus has become pretty refined — which makes it easier to work quickly. I know exactly what I’m doing when I go to Google News. One thing, for instance, that makes work quicker for me is that I’m now following a particular group of stories - some very specific, like where’s that pig on the Colby campus? - and some general, like what’s the next outrage in bigtime football and basketball? — and these sorts of stories are easily found and reasonably easily commented upon.

Also - keep in mind my remarkable privilege in having the sort of job — tenured college professor — that allows me a good deal of discretion in the use of my time away from the classroom. I’m not desperately working away at the internet in an addictive way in the few moments I have each day for it — it’s much easier for me, probably, to assimilate the activity into my day than it is for a lot of other people, because I have a longer day, if you will, to myself.

So eliminate distraction, focus, and systematically keep an eye on the literature. Attempt to integrate work/life in such a way that neither is strained. Sounds like a good recipe for a superior blogger or a superior scientist.


UD said...

You know Mr. UD said, when I told him what I'd written, "You've given away your secrets." I guess I have. But I'm not too worried. How many people, to start with, are going to stop watching television?


Mr. B. said...


I don't watch tv either...

The driving, well you've got me there.

Mr. B.

Jim Chen said...

It's worth noting that UD and PTable also have one leg up on much of the competition: excellent content. That's what keeps people reading.