Dubsism

What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Guest Column: Santa Claus Has A Brutally Honest Gift For Sports Bloggers

Editor’s Note: Mr. Claus really needs no introduction, but as he will explain, he is an avid blog reader and came to us with some strong opinions he wanted to get published. Remember, these views are his own and if you have an issue with them, you can write your own nasty note to the North Pole. 

Since I only work one day a year, I have a lot of extra time. It may surprise you to know that I fill a lot of that time by reading blogs. It helps for those times when I have to work on my “naughty or nice” list.

A while back, I read a piece by Ryan Meehan and Dubsism about types of bloggers the world would be better off without. That piece came flooding back into my head this morning as I was checking out why some of my favorite blogs haven’t had any new posts in a while. As I’m going through my various readers, I’m noticing that in the sports blog world, there is far too high of an attrition rate amongst the people who are producing imaginative and readable content.

The other day, one of my favorite bloggers announced they are going on a hiatus. That usually means I’ve seen the last of them. I saw two more that made it official with the “goodbye” post.  As I looked over my subscriptions, all of a sudden I found myself asking a question: Why are some blogs naughty, why are some nice, and why do some just plain suck?

Granted, some trade in the blogosphere for the mainstream media because they get successful. Some get swallowed by content farms like SB Nation. And some just reach the end of their service life. After all, it isn’t easy to keep producing quality material on a regular basis. Lord knows this blog doesn’t meet that criteria; I’m just guest-posting here because they’ve touched this subject before.

The problem lies in a set of blogs that don’t go away, they just become stale. This was the point of the piece done by Meehan and J-Dub, but this problem has developed  its own sub-species in the sports blog world.  In order to avoid this pitfall, I’m going to give you sports bloggers a gift, one that you may find brutally honest, but it’s for your own good. In other words, here’s some tips from Santa to remember to keep your sports blog off my “sucks” list.

1) Write For the Right Reasons

Want to know a dirty little secret?  Blogging in and of itself will not get you a job at ESPN or anywhere else. Blogging in the hopes that it will make you the next Dan Patrick is like making a grilled cheese sandwich in the hopes of becoming a French chef.  This means if you want your blog not to suck, write about what you love, not what you think will get you a job.

There are far too many bloggers who keep putting “job at ESPN” on their wish lists to me. It ain’t gonna happen. If you want to work in main stream media, then do something that will get you a job; get an internship, be ready to work in various media (not just print), and be ready to deal with the competition. Having a blog may help your pursuit, but it won’t define it. Write because you love to write, not because you think it will get you anywhere.

2) Find Your Niche

Decide what you want to be, then be it.  If you want to be all about the New York Jets, then be all about the New York Jets. If you want to be about humor, then be about humor. Make it clear what your blog is about, then stick to it. Don’t tell the world you are a New York Jets blog, then start posting articles about rebuilding your classic car. Readers search out blogs expecting a certain type of content, and if you don’t deliver what they expect, they won’t be back.

3) Have A Voice

There’s no other way to say this…to get noticed, you must stand out. The quickest way to be lost in the crowd is to be doing the same thing as everybody else. In my RSS yesterday, there were 14 bloggers writing previews of the upcoming weekend of NFL action, and on Tuesday, those same fourteen will all be writing NFL Power Rankings or some other crap I can get from half a million other sources.

See, the most amazing thing about blogs is they allow the average guy an outlet for his voice which he wouldn’t have had a decade ago. If you must do the same as everybody else, then be the best; better yet, find your own way of doing it. Squandering your own voice by doing the same thing as everybody else is the ultimate in pointlessness.

4) Don’t Be Afraid To Bust Some Chops, But Be Smart About It

Now here’s the real reason I’m guest-posting this piece here. When I proposed this article to J-Dub, he knew that this piece might piss off a lot of people, but he agreed with it.

If there’s one thing you as a blogger should take away from this, it is to make the price of silencing your opinions high.  In other words, say whatever you want within the bounds of what won’t get you sued. If you are going to censor yourself, make sure there’s value to your silence.

ESPN gets criticized often for “being soft” on stories in sports which it has contracts to broadcast. For example, some people believe ESPN is not as critical of the bungling leadership of the NCAA as it should be because ESPN has a major broadcast deal with them.  Honestly, I don’t know why anybody is shocked by that; if you were in a partnership worth billions of dollars, you likely wouldn’t let your dog crap on your partner’s lawn. To be even more honest, that’s simply an example of what I’m telling you, just on a large scale.

In other words, while you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you, you also can’t be afraid to bite somebody who deserves it.  Don’t get suckered by any “journalistic integrity” argument; that archaic concept died the day we started creating these colossal media conglomerates in this country.  It is more important to keep your fellow bloggers in mind. Say what you believe, but be able to back up what you say. Everytime a blogger gets discredited, the collective voice of the blogosphere suffers.

Understand, I’m not telling you this to say “your blog broke this rule, therefore your blogs sucks.” In fact, many blogs I read follow all of these guidelines.  But to be fair, some others have some room for growth.  We are doing ourselves a disservice by not fully capitalizing on the power of  blogging.  Blogs are such a tremendous tool that making bloggers better and therefore their products more viable is a gift for all of us.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

15 comments on “Guest Column: Santa Claus Has A Brutally Honest Gift For Sports Bloggers

  1. brief22
    December 23, 2011

    Great job funny post! The 1st one is so true.

    Like

    • brief22
      December 24, 2011

      I think for some people, the point of sports blogging is to share their feelings and talk about the things they love. For others (like me), it’s a stepping stone to becoming a sportscaster/journalist, and while blogging is one aspect of it, I also am doing (and will do) many other things to fulfill my dreams. Good Job!

      Like

  2. Mike Patton
    December 23, 2011

    Good post man!

    Like

  3. Jeanita
    December 23, 2011

    Great post

    Like

  4. chappy81
    December 23, 2011

    I always wondered what the point of this whole blogging thing was. I never thought it was for money or to get a job, but did think it might lead to something. I guess in the end it’s just me and a few friends getting something off our chest that bugs us about the world of sports in our little bay area bubble. Whether a lot of people read it or not isn’t the point in the end. As long as a few friends give you good feedback here and there when they see or talk to you, I guess it was all worth it….

    Like

    • JW
      December 23, 2011

      Let me tell you what the genesis of Dubsism was. My wife is a sports fan as well, but she also has a perfectly understandable limit for listening to my bullshit. Hence, I started blogging so I had an outlet that didn’t involve straining my marriage before it ever started. If you’ve been a read of Dubsism for any amount of time, you know I’m prone to the rant.

      If you go back in the archives and look at the very first post on this blog, and remember that in August of 2009 I lived in Minnesota, the reasons for the start of this need for a ranting outlet become very obvious in a Favre-ian sort of way…

      Like

      • chappy81
        December 27, 2011

        Very commendable reason for starting a blog! It maybe my outlet one day when I’m married as well. My girlfriend of three years seems to like that I have the blog to “rant” on.

        Ours actually started from our email chains, and while only two of us really post regularly, the email chains full of arguments still rage on between all five of us. I guess we thought the topics we discussed in the emails were worthy of a blog in itself, but it seems like not all of us think it’s fun to post stuff….

        Like

  5. Bobby Charts
    December 23, 2011

    Absolutely perfect J-Dub. All points are spot on!

    We all want the dream job in sports but blogging is not going to cut it as you said, if we were a interm and got our foot in the door and rubbed elbows with some big wigs at these soprts outlets and THEN showed them our blog, then our blog would help.

    Funny thing is I wanted to do a post like this after hearing Dan Patrick talk baout this about a month ago on his radio show about all the peopl that think getting into radio is easy and anyone can do it and how people think there is only 100 people in the world that want his job (Dan Patrick).

    great work my man!

    Like

    • JW
      December 23, 2011

      Here’s why Santa and I agree:

      First, read my response to Chappy’s comment immediately prior to yours. I never intended to reach an audience. I simply needed a harmless outlet.

      This leads to point number two. I couldn’t care less about getting a job in sports media. In fact, I’ve turned down offers because I am not interested in being told when and what to write. This is all a hobby to me.

      I am not like most of the other Sports Blog Movement members – I am in my 40’s, I am educated as an engineer, I’ve been in management for close to 20 years, and now I am in a partnership owning a small business.

      A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with another member of the Sports Blog Movement at which time I explained why I was interested in being a member of that group. I told him I would love to pass on things I’ve learned which could be very valuable lessons for my SBM opposites; the ones who are young, studied journalism and/or have interests in a like career path.

      To that end, I would love to be able to help somebody get that sports job they are after.

      Like

  6. ChrisHumpherys (@SportsChump)
    December 24, 2011

    After two plus years, SportsChump.net is still going strong.

    And thank you, sir, for always setting the bar high.

    Happy Channukah, bro.

    Like

  7. sportsglutton
    December 25, 2011

    Wise words from the Jolly Old Man of Christmas.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to everyone at dubism.

    Like

  8. christiandelosreyes
    December 26, 2011

    Hey there J.

    This is Christian from Blog Surface. First and foremost, thank you for stopping by our sports site. Secondly, I had to comment on your valid points. I couldn’t agree more on your first point “1) Write For the Right Reasons.”

    Some bloggers blog about certain things, but not for the right reasons. Just like me and you, we love sports so it’s not painful when we write for hours because we love doing it. Some people do it for money (which is never the right intention) and some do it to get to a better platform. A definite No!

    Great points and we hope to see you back on the site in the near future. Thanks again.

    http://www.blogsurface.com

    Like

  9. sportsattitudes
    December 29, 2011

    Good points all. Most always there is room for improvement no matter what the task at hand is in life…blogging or otherwise. To you, yours and all the other Dubsism readers have a great, great New Year!

    Like

  10. J-Dub
    December 24, 2012

    Reblogged this on Sports Blog Movement and commented:

    This was originally published on Dubsism last Christmas, but it still holds true today. Merry Christmas, everybody!

    Like

  11. Ryan Meehan
    December 27, 2012

    Dubs:

    To be honest with you, I’m not even sure when I started blogging. As silly as it may seem, I literally went to bed one night and the next morning I was super fucking into this. My Hotmail inbox became the biggest thing in my life, and compared to everyone else I went to school with the word “Hotmail” was not interchangable with “Facebook” so I was good to go.

    The most important point in the piece that we wrote is the last point: That there is no reason that you should trust us over any other news source. At the same time, that’s a fucking great reason to follow what people like Jonathan and I do.

    As I sit here, tired and hammered as if the end of the world is eight days late, I think about why we do this and what reasons we have for doing so. And I am very grateful.

    A break is in order for me, which is not like what I claim to be. But you’d bet your ass that Sports Blog Movement is going to be full of content January 1st on…This MF works on New Years because he gets time and a half so I’ll be up that morning throwing it down.

    As for tonight, well…

    Meehan

    Like

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