This One Time, When I Was in the WSJ...

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Sep 01, 2006 4:05 PM

Sure, it's a mention for dragging down Michelle Malkin's traffic with my guest-blogging while she was gone in August, and I can't even access the article because I let my subscription lapse, and I don't think it even mentions me by name, but when it says "guest-bloggers," I'm one of them.

Movin'. On. Up. People.

Luckily, SeeDubya does have a subscription, read the article, and defends us Malkin-invited guest-bloggers:

I don’t think that’s the case. Blog traffic comes in unpredictable fits and starts. My own sitemeter for this month looks like a bunch of stalagmites, and while I’m sure the variation is less in big blogs it’s not really fair to compare a week during the heady rush of the blog-fueled Reutergate scandal to the subsequent slow weeks.

In any case, the guest bloggers did their job well: if you look at Michelle’s sitemeter predictions now, the traffic prediction based on the past week’s traffic (all Michelle) is for 127,645 page views in a day. The prediction based on all last month’s traffic (including the guest bloggers) is 153, 833 visits per day—so the guest bloggers were no drag on overall traffic. In fact, quite the contrary: August is the second best month on Michelle’s year-long sitemeter.

I agree with him that comparing our traffic to the preceeding Reutersgate week traffic isn't entirely fair. It's hard enough keeping up with Michelle, anyway. Keeping up with her during a big, breaking media scandal? Well-nigh impossible.

Michelle gives us a nod in the article, too: “For the dog days of August, they did tremendously well.”

Thanks!

Hey, I was just happy to get an oblique mention in the WSJ. Maybe I'll frame it, ha ha.

But, in general, blogs are very personality-driven. People like the voice of the blogger they visit. They like who they are, not just what they write about. That's what has always made reading blogs more fun for me than reading straight news. Blog-readers trust the bloggers they read, get to know them, are loyal to them. For that reason, there's bound to be a drop-off whenever you throw new personalities at those loyal readers.

A blog can feel like an entirely different place when there are different bloggers at the keyboard, and that's important to readers, whereas they'll take a news story from any old reporter as long as the information is good. That connection with readers is one of the strengths and joys of blogging, I think. It breeds loyalty in readers and committment in bloggers to perform well and be straight with those for whom they write.

But what's probably most interesting about this, and which SeeDub points out, is that the WSJ thinks blogs are important enough to write a story on what happens to their traffic while their proprietors go on vacation.

Looks like someone else is feelin' the dog days of August.

But the most important part of the story is now I can always say, "this one time, when I was in the Wall Street Journal...," or "yeah, that was right around the time I was in the Wall Street Journal," or "wanna buy me a beer? I was in the WSJ once!" Oh yeah, just wait 'til my old journalism professors hear about this.