Okay, so maybe this past weekend you watched the bloggers behind Crommunist Manifesto, WWJTD, Atheist Experience, Voice of Reason, En Tequila Es Verdad, Rock Beyond Belief, and Token Skeptic become newly knighted as Sacred Bloggers of the Order of Freethought Blogs and thereby ascend overnight to international stardom as part of phase III of PZ Myers’s plan for world conquest, and you thought, “how can I get in on some of that celebrity blogger that action?”
Well, recently I noticed an interesting trend among a significant handful of my favorite bloggers in how they made it to the high life of internet fame, internet glory, internet power, and internet money. Below the fold is one secret of their success they share in common…
Hank Fox, of Freethought Blogs’ own Blue Collar Atheist, Digital Cuttlefish, of Freethought Blogs’ own Digital Cuttlefish, Richard Wade, of Friendly Atheist’s “Ask Richard” column, VorJack, of Unreasonable Faith, Eric MacDonald, of Choice in Dying, and our good friend George Waye, of Misplaced Grace, each went into blogging after making splashes in preexisting blogs’ comments sections.
Hank and Cuttlefish were Pharyngula staples, Eric MacDonald credits Jerry Coyne with encouraging him for a long time to blog based on his comments at Why Evolution is True, Hemant Mehta not only plucked Richard Wade out of the Friendly Atheist comments section but then later had the vision to give him his breakthrough column, VorJack commented on Unreasonable Faith before becoming its most frequent blogger, and George Waye’s comments here at Camels With Hammers were so good I routinely was building my own posts off of responding to him before he decided to try his own hand out at blogging. He also established a close relationship with fellow Freethought Blogs blogger the Lousy Canuck.
Bloggers, like normal people, don’t like to feel used, of course. Greta has a number of great tips for getting started blogging and she warns rightly against only commenting on people’s stuff with links to your own posts and without a desire to just contribute to the discussion of the blog you are visiting. That comes off, as she puts it, like going to a party and handing out your business card to everyone. I admit, I kick myself for having made that mistake a lot in my zealous early days of doing whatever I possibly could to get my links out there.
But who bloggers do love are those amazing commenters who turn their beloved internet home into a much greater source of fun and wisdom and vigorous discussion than they alone could have made it by themselves. And sometimes, some commenters are so exciting that we wish they had their own blogs we could read, which got their own voices out to a wider audience. And we are delighted to support those people. And we know, from their prodigious output in our own comments sections, that they have the chops to blog regularly enough to make their efforts worth it. Sometimes, bloggers even give their own blog as a regular place for great commenters to guest post or, even, to permanently blog.
One of my own occasional guest bloggers, Sara Manesterska of Sendai Anonymous, was someone with a low profile blog who I found in the Pharyngula comments section, whose comment I liked. Her post eviscerating biblical literalism, Leviticus, Biblical literalism, and why it’s all drivel propagated by delusional bigots who need something, anything to validate their beliefs was an early Camels With Hammers classic, filled with detailed information and a solid argument. Similarly, James Gray’s blog Ethical Realism is a terrific philosophy blog, one of my favorites, but it took his copious amounts of insight generously offered in the comments section at Camels With Hammers for me to check out what he was doing and to want him to fill in for me when I took a brief hiatus in the spring. His excellent philosophical post here was Philosophy Can Debunk Myths About Atheism. (On a side note, sometimes you don’t get the attention of the major blogger but meet other low profile bloggers with whom you can develop valuable relationships. See my post Soul Searching With Clergy Guy which was part of a cross-blog debate with a reflective pastor which began in the comments section of Unreasonable Faith.)
There are many more things to say about how to blog successfully and when I am more successful and more qualified to speak on that topic, I may write some more on the topic. But for now, if you think some day you might want to do this in a serious way, in the meantime make your favorite bloggers know and appreciate you by commenting brilliantly on their every word and you can get ahead in the game.