Balancing blog content

There’s a fascinating thread of comments from readers at Matt Yglesias’s blog about finding an ideal balance in blog postings. I know you’ll be shocked to here this, but I tend to write long and tedious blog posts, so I offer all this without amendment to reform. (I have to communicate with discipline and coherence for a living; what’s the point of having my own blog if I have to be disciplined and coherent here too!) Still, it might be nice to take the the collective pulse of the southern gospel blog reading world on this issue, since it’s probably not a safe assumption that readers of a political blog have the same sense of things as readers of a blog about gospel music and culture. So consider this the place the tell me what to do and how to do it best. Short or long posts? Serious or marginal? Quirky or analytical? Snarky or deferential? Quick links or thoughtful reflections of whatever’s the latest issue or news? All, both, none, or something else entirely in between? I think it’s pretty clear I do a little of all this here and will continue to, but it’s probably a good idea to solicit feedback from time to time, though as I say, this is no guarantee of change.

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Comments

  1. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    About all I learned from those comments is that the people who comment on Matt Yglesias’ blog seem like a bunch of smart alecks. :o)

    As for you, what you’re doing is obviously getting a lot of thoughtful readers to pay attention and respond with generally well reasoned comments. That’s the proof in the pudding.

    Of course, you get a freak from time to time which keeps it entertaining, but that’s to be expected.

    As for my personal preference, I’m not so crazy about your posts that run long and string “ifs” together. I can’t complain too much, though. I’ve written a few blog entries like that myself.

    Also, I think it’s a good thing you’ve pretty much refrained from being unnecessarily nasty to any SG celebrities for the last couple of months. That kind of writing attracts readers and comments of a lower common denominator as a general rule.

  2. CVH wrote:

    The long posts are often more stream of consciousness-oriented but that’s a good way to set up some of the pros and cons of the more complex issues. Short posts are ok but they tend to invite more yes-no/agree-disagree type responses. Nothing wrong with that either but it’s more like a quick exit poll (raw numbers) compared to the more lengthy and thoughful dialogues that come from the longer posts (context and meaning).

    I tend to be drawn more toward the serious conversations but I enjoy reading them all. Lord knows there are enough fluff blogs out there dealing with superficial issues. Again, nothing wrong with that if it’s what you’re into, just that I’m not so much.

    Snarky or deferential? Both. Musings are fine as are open-ended questions. The recent Jim Hamill thread was great because your post provided an opportunity for people to not only show their appreciation for his many skills, but to do so by sharing first-hand experiences without degenerating into indiscriminant adulation. On the other hand, some of the snarkier posts force light into places where light is not often
    welcome and that’s a good thing. Not that you’re trying to be the Upton Sinclair of southern gospel, but it’s not impolite to ask hard, probing questions; it would actually be a dissservice not to. And those that prefer their southern gospel through rose-colored glasses can find other blogs that won’t disturb their delicate sensitivities.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Be thoughtful. Ask good questions. Don’t shy away from the hard ones. If they have it coming, hit ‘em hard, then hit ‘em hard again. There’s nothing “un-Christian” about it as long as some basic underlying principles are maintained, and it seems to me they are. You’re not writing to please people; you’re writing to express thoughts and opinions and develop a dialogue between readers who share similar interests. And if you’re consistently offending 10-20% of the readership, you’re probably on the right track.

    Just one thing; if you’re going to be away for more than a week, send up a flare so we know you’re still out there somewhere.

  3. ITF wrote:

    I think what you’ve always done has worked really well. The suggestion I’d have is to try to post on a more regular schedule. Instead of no posts for a week and then 4 in two days, spread the four out over a week. The timestamp feature of WP is perfect for that.

  4. thom wrote:

    Don’t change a thing. Your blog is an entertaining read; I find it both well written and thought provoking.

    I appreciate that you do not write fluff just to draw out 100% concordance with your viewpoints. Instead your opines seem to initiate honest dialogue for the most part and encourage lively confabulation where dissenters are provoked to bloviate to often laughable extremes.

    This keeps the discussion honest and engaging. Just don’t dish my Perrys! (wink)

    Thom Rawls

  5. Bryce wrote:

    Keep doing what you have been doing. Stir the waters and freak out the fish. Never give us a reason to respond with one sentence comments, like “Great post, Avery,” as though you were a contestant in the Special Olympics. It’s your blog to begin with, so write for yourself, and we’ll take our cue from you. You have your finger on the abating pulse of the industry.

  6. Snarfie wrote:

    I agree with those above. Some of everything is best, and you seem to do it all quite well. Thanks for keeping the rest of us entertained, involved, and along for the ride…wherever you take us!

  7. Judi wrote:

    Asking your readers is a great way to do audience research! Obviously I agree with the “keep doing what you are doing” and “be true to yourself” threads above. Longer, thoughtful posts on nuanced topics are rare in the blogosphere and you excel at them–just keep the sentences somewhat short and direct and readers will hang in there with you. And the medium-length “breaking news” or “what do you think” posts are a nice change of pace for variety. But I also agree with DBM about long silences and would add that long absences sometimes tempt the faithful to start throwing food across the aisles in the cafeteria… but I know that happens. One of my blogs hasn’t had a post in six weeks, so I have no room to talk. I’m just glad Avery is still writing a blog all this time and getting better at it every day. You’ve done a lot to educate those of us who didn’t grow up listening to and performing SG.

  8. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    Short
    Serious
    Deferential
    Positive
    :)

  9. Angie M wrote:

    I agree with what others have said–particularly with CVH in #2. The loooong time lags are a little problematic, but the content is great. Maybe you could have guest-writers when real life interferes and you can’t post for a while.

  10. Glenn wrote:

    Go with #8 and at least it will solve your server problem by cutting your readership in half.

  11. RF wrote:

    Positive? Life is not always positive and sg is not always positive. Short means something is left out. Serious means that life is boring. Differential? Had a lot of problems with that on my last Ford Explorer.

    Seriously (and like I said, that’s no fun), keep on doing what you’re doing and try to just drop by once a week to say you’re still here and paying attention. That’s all I’ll ask. This blog is fresh air from all the “Man, this whole genre and everything about it is wonderful” attitude the industry takes as a whole. There are problems and failures. The sooner we accept that and try to improve the better sg will become.

  12. Al Locke wrote:

    This commentary and others have shed some light on the “good ole boys” that historically have controlled the business end of our beloved venue.
    Keep it up!

  13. Amanda wrote:

    I appreciate that Daniel wants to show respect to those in the SG industry, but not everything happening is positive. I think the word “positive” should be scratched out of comment #8, and it should be replaced with the word “honest”.

    And, as far as the “short” part, I enjoy the long posts myself. No, we don’t see posts on this blog everyday, but the posts that we see are definitely thought-provoking.

    I don’t agree with everything said on this blog, but that goes for any blog. I enjoy coming here and reading Doug’s thoughts (they are HIS thoughts, after all). And, I must be one of many considering the popularity of this blog. I would venture to say that this is the most read blog of all the SG blogs. Keep ‘em coming, Doug!

  14. Matt Brannon wrote:

    Ref: #1 - Who or what is a David Bruce Murray? When did he get elected King of SG info? On the comment “I’ve written a few blog entries like that myself”, no way, not even in the same league as Avery.

  15. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Matt,
    I did indicate that I have written a few blog entries in the past that string “ifs” together. This is true. However, I never claimed to be in Doug’s league as a writer.

    What would you consider your league to be as a reader?

    As for your “who or what” question, I am simply a long time fan of Southern Gospel who wants to see the industry thrive.

    As for the title King Of SG Info, they’re still counting the votes on that one. When I think of wise men like John Crenshaw and Dean Adkins, though, I know my name definitely isn’t going to be at the top of that list.

    Doesn’t matter, though. I’ll keep doing all I can to be sure a written record of Southern Gospel is maintained via collaborative sites like www.sghistory.com, my book, and other efforts. I don’t believe I know you. I have no idea why you’d choose to take personal shots at a total stranger in a public forum for trying to preserve Southern Gospel history, but that’s your option. At least signed your name, which is more than most people who find fault are willing to do. Carry on…

  16. Phil wrote:

    I’ll join what appears to be the majority opinion here. Keep on doing what you’re doing. I would also like to see what you could do to keep the intervals between posts a little shorter, although I do appreciate and can accept what your limitations are if no solution can be found
    for that slight problem.

  17. Rob wrote:

    Matt #14 …I believe that was uncalled for. I venture to say DBM & Doug are staunch supporters of each other’s Blog sites without competition. Both have thier niches in the community and i read both faithfully….Doug continue on as you were not changing content or style please…and DBM great job done as well !! Blessings

  18. Juno wrote:

    Matt needs to get a life.

  19. cdguy wrote:

    Matt must a newcomer to s/g blogging. David and Doug are 2 of the most-read (if not THE most read) bloggers in s/g. David is quite the historian, and knows whereof he speaks. Doug has been around the block enough time (as have I) that he’s seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Both these guys obviously have a deep love for the genre, and want nothing but the best for the artists, the companies, the fans, and the Lord’s work.

    Doug, in answer to your questions, don’t change. Just keep it flowing. Keep us thinking.

    Blessings to all who post, even those with whom I disagree.

  20. tecstar wrote:

    Keep up the great work Doug. Readers keep in mind that some times (not all) there is just not that much to write about, leading to lags between posts. Can’t get in the middle of that little fued between #14 & #15 but I have noticed when confronted on a issue DBM usually turns it into a positive and always gets a commercial in there also. Not being negative, in this business, it’s only the agencies making the money.

  21. Michael R. wrote:

    personally, i would like to see more researched facts, instead of trashing someone based on rumors. I have read rumors of friends on here that I know 100% that they are just rumors. If we are going to look at this site as an honest blog, things should be researched a little more. The biggest items that I remember were Young Harmony and the Dove Awards. This was hurtful to me and it wasn’t even about me. I read stuff on here about Rick Hendricks and started judging him with out even knowing him. Later finding out that it wasn’t even true. Jonathan with Gold City stuff was rumored on here also and wasn’t true. This is just my take, if you are asking.

  22. art wrote:

    Doug: I appreciate the honesty, insight, constructive criticism — positive and negative — and respectful tone found in your posts. Those characteristics are not always found in the posts of your readers. Them’s the breaks.

    From a writing standpoint, I’d suggest that you take a few minutes to self-edit. I don’t mind long, thoughtful posts, but they are easier to navigate if you shorten your sentences and make sure you’ve been as clear as possible.

    I enjoy this site and check in multiple times a day.

  23. RF wrote:

    Michael R, #21 things Avery is a rumor-monger. I can’t recall anytime that a rumor isn’t listed as a rumor and if you go back and look at the record, you’ll find most of the “rumors” have come to pass, so I don’t see the beef.

  24. Jim2 wrote:

    Doug,
    I appreciate the opportunity to give some feedback, if only because it gives me a chance to let you know how much I appreciate your insight and fearless posts about the “inside” of SG that many other sites gloss over. There is no other SG site or blog that I check even 25% as often as yours.
    I for one would love to see more reviews, but I understand how time consuming that can be.
    At my job I do a lot of work that other people share, and a comment I’ve gotten there when asking for feedback that I feel is appropriate for your site: “I like the way you do it better than the way I don’t” Keep up the good work and keep that edge to your wit - it’s the best part of the blog!

  25. JimT wrote:

    I agree with Art #22. Sometimes the run-on sentences get hard to follow. I know you have to self-edit in your work, but the quality of the writing would improve immensely if you did so on your blog as well.

    I would also like to see you allow for the fact that other people’s tastes may be different from yours. You continually trash some groups - like the Inspirations. I am not a musician like you, so am in no position to know if musically speaking they are good or bad. However, I know I like them, and most people do also judging by their many Singing News nominations year after year. It’s OK to criticize them, but you come across as talking down to those who may not share your thoughts.

    Otherwise, keep doing what you are doing.

  26. Doug Sword wrote:

    Keep doing what you are doing. Strong opinion and honest dialogue are badly needed in the SG world.

  27. Derek wrote:

    I love it! It’s a breath of fresh air to be able to see beyond the “generic-insert name here” press releases. IMO it forces a bit more integrity. As J.D. Sumner would say, “I can’t wait!”

  28. Practical Fellow wrote:

    Sacred cows make the best hamburgers. This forum is having an effect on SG by challenging traditions and standards that may not be relevant in 2007. Every generation needs voices ‘crying in the wilderness’ questioning the status quo. Regarding the SG industry, Doug is doing that.

    I find most of my relevant SG news on this site. I also find more information than what is available in the press releases from the artists and labels. I like that.

    I would like there to be less time between posts (maybe get a guest blogger if you’ll be gone for more than a few days). But I like the information covered here. A lot.

    My biggest pet peeve about this blog is the freakishly long sentences with gratuitous verbage. Just spit it out. It’s not that I can’t keep up, but if I want cluttered, complicated writing I’ll read a professional journal article.

    But all in all - I feel like I get my money’s worth with this site. Keep tipping those cows!

  29. Matt wrote:

    It seems anytime DBM posts on any site he has to put in a commercial of all his businesses and mighty acomplishments. Smart but not classy.

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