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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
People often ask me, “Lambert, what is the glamorous world of blogging really like?” So, tonight I want to answer that question MR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right. In detail.
After refreshing sleep, long after sunrise, I’m awakened by the soft reverberation from a single stroke on the golden Gong of WakingMR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right from a felt mallet gently wielded by one of Naked Capitalism’s army of
slaves personal servants interns. Having arisen, and having been slipped into my tasseled slippers and silk robe — embroidered with the “NC” sigil — proffered by a second and third intern, and having performed my lengthy and relaxed morning ablutions, I enter The Blogging Room, reclothed in my resplendent blogging raiment: the crown, the ruff, the ermine robes.
Having carefully seated myself on the Ironic Throne, my first act of the day is to press a gilded button, closing a circuit that sends electricity pulsing over many hundreds of copper miles to raise The Gates of FeedingMR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right, allowing a carefully metered ration of catfood to pour chunkily into the two extremely solid Gold Bug™ bowls MR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right in the feline area of Yves’s faraway compound, high above the glittering towers of Manhattan.
“Go, some of you, and fetch my Council!” Clapping my hands, once. The Master of Sites, the Master of Coin, the Master of Laws, the Hand of the King, and the Grand Measter enter, and prostate themselves on the marbled floor before me.
“Rise, my people!” A fourth intern receives their three-ring binders; a fifth intern strikes the sold gold Gong of ReportMR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right, and the Council rushes away to perform its appointed tasks.
Still seated, I raise both hands: A sixth intern rushes forward with a steaming cup off coffee, while a seventh rolls the ambulatory laptop forward and positions the keyboard carefully beneath my fingers. Interns eight and nine rip a long scroll from the TeleType machine, hulking in its niche, and bring me the latest news. Having entered my byline, I pause, raise my right hand, and intern ten strikes The Gong of BloggingMR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is to your right …
Over the top? Yes, but not for the reason you might think.
A blogger of the top rank* like Yves — a pure blogger, unsupported by corporate structure, and not using the blog as an ancillary sales tool for another business — performs all the roles in the Council. The Council does not, in fact, prostrate itself before her; she is not able to take their reports and dismiss them; she must have those skills herself and be able to execute any of them at a moment’s notice, and at all hours.
Readers, you may think that Yves is lounging around in silk pajamas, popping bon bons, making the occasional phone call, sending the cats out for Chinese, and doing a smidge of typing every so often, but take it from me: Blogging is work, and blogging takes more work, and more skills, than any other work I’ve ever done in my life, and I’m sure Yves feels the same way. It’s grueling. MR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is still to your right. Here are the roles played by the Council:
- Master of Sites: The technical aspects of blogging;
- Master of Coin: The business aspects;
- Master of Laws: Moderation and administration;
- Hand of the King: What we call “management.”
- Grand Maester: Content creation
Let’s look at each of them this year.
Technical: The technical skills required to run NC include knowing WordPress intimately, being able to code in HTML, and having a solid understanding of websites, website development, and the infrastructure of the Internet. Our technical skills were excessively tested this year as we tried simultaneously to begin the site redesign and find a new host for the site. After some nine months of frustration, during which our existing host proved unable to provide our designer with the proper credentials to build a test site, we went through a process of qualification, discovery, testing, and disqualification with not one, not two, not three, but four candidates for hosting NC; one of them we disqualified after they had begun to transfer our data to their servers because they upped the price on us that they’d committed to! All in all, that was an inordinately stressful and time-consuming effort that also got in the way of reader enjoyment, as the existing host would randomly slow to a crawl. Finally, we arrived at a satisfactory host, and we were able to begin the site redesign, but it was not at all an easy process.MR SUBLIMINAL The tip jar is still to your right.
Business: Yves has had to make a number of decisions about advertising this year. Like them or not, ads help keep the NC lights on, the throne room swept, and the cats fed, and Yves has to vet the vendors, make sure their material is appropriate for the site, test out their feeds, and handle all the other business aspects involved in advertising, like billing. OnSwipe for mobile devices, and the MoneyNews feed both took a substantial amount for time, time that Yves was not able to devote to writing, which is what people read NC for!MR SUBLIMINAL Yep!
Moderation and administration: Essential, very personal, sleepless-night stressful, and the less said the better.
Management: Yves is running a small business. She’s the boss, with all that entails. She’s the publisher. She’s the editor. She has people to manage, and she has advisors. and an extraordinary network of personal relationships to maintain.MR SUBLIMINAL The location of the tip jar has not changed!
Content creation: Best. Blog. EVAH.MR SUBLIMINAL Yo! Over there!
Finally, on a personal note, let me share some pictures. First, my keyboard:
MacBook Air keyboards come with pre-installed plastic keys surfaced in black. However, I have struck that spacebar with my thumb so many times that the black has been worn away, revealing clear plastic and mechanical innards. My thumbs, however, have not worn away, nor my fingers, and (more importantly) Yves’s thumbs and fingers are still going strong.**
Second, Yves has given me permission to include a photograph of a phone much like hers, though this one is newer: A prepaid Nokia. A really dumb prepaid Nokia.
At you can see, that cunning plan to blog and grow rich didn’t work out. But we love doing it. Won’t you help us keep doing what we love?
The tip jar is to your right.
NOTE ** Heck, she can kill people with her bare hands!