Austin-blogger meet-up

At the Austin weblogger meetup, Chris McConnell talked about disliking political bloggers who quote mainstream press articles and write pompous commentary. He is put off by their officious tone, repetition of spoonfed platitudes, and their wannabe air, as if they were interviewing for jobs at the New Republic
This led to a discussion about diagnostics for phony bloggers, whether using weblogs for self-promotion is effective or good, and whether it’s important for one’s politics to be original.
Chris talked about how he likes blogs where people talk from their own experience, and thinks of self-expression as a political act.
I agree that “the personal is political”– I also think that there are times when you want your opinion (however independently considered) to become mainstream. In which case it is good to agree publicly with others, and to help google-amplify stories that come from the mainstream press.
Prentiss Riddle doesn’t find that kind of blogging interesting, and is reluctant to dive into flam-ish blog-conversations with pompous zealot-types. I think that “interesting” is actually a really good filter — a problem with poseur sites is that they’re boring.
Chris didn’t think that the politico-bloggers had any chance of using blogging to break into mass media. I’m not so sure. Blogging by itself probably won’t break you into the big time. But blogging, linking, and commenting are decent ways to meet people. Once you’ve made the introduction, you can do the usual networking.
David Nunez is (from other conversations as well) in favor of using a weblog as a means to promote yourself. I am more ambivalent about this. I am very comfortable and happy with using a blog to meet people with common interests.
But I also know that self-promotion is a game; there is a set of predictable techniques you can use to accrue fame points that can be cashed in for money points or influence points. Write catchy articles. Speak at conferences. Meet people around whom you can meet other people. The game does require some genuine skills. If you’re a bad writer, a boring speaker, a nasty person, you won’t be good at the game. But there’s a playbook; if you follow the playbook, you’re likely to increase your fame points.
The key here, as Jerry Michalski likes to say, is intent. The set of techniques can be used sincerely, to meet people you would like to know, and to work with people you would like to working with. Or they can be used insincerely, to attract attention, to flatter the unwary, and to social climb above your inferiors to reach the “a-list.”
Guys, if I’ve mischaracterized your opinions, please let me know.