Is Blogging A Waste Of Time?

by lizard

Against my better judgement, I’m going to direct readers to a trolling declaration by Rob Kailey that blogging is worthless as he laments the lack of viable “new blood” in the Montana blogosphere:

A rather serious question: Is it possible to foster new blood in the Montana blog’o’sphere?

My initial response is “No”. Given the appeal of Facilebook and the Twahters, there isn’t much reason for people to blog anymore. The larger political bases are covered, the sentimental self-indulgence has moved to Facebook, and the need to be needed has fostered Twitter. So, from a purely user-need orientation, there is no point to blogging, for any of us.

From a reader-need perspective, there is little to be offered. There is no safe place. Every website is rife with trolls. Concern trolls like Craig Moore, and Belief beggars like Tokarski. Every website seems in intellectual competition with others. The holy writ of 4 & 20 cannot be denied by anyone, and Intelligent Discontent is just pablum for the masses. Dog forbid anybody should read Left in The West. It isn’t fashionable. Montana Cowgirl is beneath notice, except maybe to EVERYONE, and Montana Streetfighter can’t be bothered to actually engage with any other blog with a link (or check their moderation queue, apparently.) Then there are the flood control experts, mostly interested in releasing the Damn/Dam, commenters like Larry Kralj. There is little point to actually reading blogs anymore. And from a personal perspective, there’s damn little point in writing them.

Rob appears sad that the glory days of the Montana blogosphere are over. People who contributed to those days have long since gone. Matt Singer, for example, abandoned his stewardship of Left in the West, and the blog went downhill quick. Some would say the same of my time at 4&20 Blackbirds.

After Jay Stevens started this blog, lots of contributors have come and gone. jhwygirl, JC, and Pete Talbot still contribute, but according to the guy who ran Left in the West into the ground, it’s my presence at 4&20 that’s the big cause for concern:

4 & 20: Jay, you started this website and it was one of the best. Turning it over to egos like Lizard? Bad move. No matter how many precious kudos this site gets from the Missoula community, it is still just a an inbred horrorshow. Lizard doesn’t seem to care at all about Montana or Montanans. JC doesn’t seem to care about anyone but himself. Jhwygirl has fled, mores the pity. Pete is still engaged, and that’s the only reason this website deserves a C.

I enjoy contributing to this blog, and I plan on continuing to do so. Being able to synthesize various media sources reacting to the events of the day, in addition to my own speculation, makes this medium still worth the investment of time and energy. Being able to share poetry is another big draw for me.

The Montana blogosphere is not as dynamic as it used to be, and I doubt much “new blood” will be forthcoming. While some want to spend their time lamenting the loss of past glory, I’m going to just keep plugging away.

To those who continue to read this dead medium: THANK YOU!


  1. Eric

    To answer your question – “Yes”. Blogging is a waste of time.
    But so is watching re-runs of Magnum PI, or lots of other habits.

    It’s unusual hearing me defend Rob, but he really didn’t run LITW into the ground, it died, like the rest of the blogosphere, Jay left, Matt left, and Rob just kept the lights on – sort of.

    There are no powerhouse blogs anymore, nothing like City Lights, David Crisp’s blogs, or LITW in the day, and there probably will never be again. Mt Cowgirl, with it’s direct info from four Dem staffers (Cowgirls) should have done a lot better than it has, but it’s still 90% shill comments, and LK, and will likely never see real success. Real people post there sometimes, but they are few, nothing like the 300 comments Matt Singer might have gotten on a blog post in 2005.

    I think your posts are a little long-winded Liz, and that you are wrong on a lot of issues, but you’re interesting enough to read and I’m glad you’re still plugging away.

    And unless there’s a check in it, I won’t be running any blogs either – ever since the Obama economy hit, I work harder, to make less money, and blogging is a distraction from that.

    • lizard19

      I miss goof’s commentary.

  2. Keep up the good work Liz, someone needs to poke Rob in the eye every now and again.

    I might not post or comment anymore, but I make a point to read everything here on a weekly basis. Personally, I found that spending my time getting angry enough to write something and then being consumed with arguments and counter points all the time hazardous to my health. It was a fund ride but I think I’m much happier to spend an afternoon enjoying crazy Montana weather than typing out insults aimed at trolls.

    • lizard19

      thank you, CFS.

  3. Steve W

    Keep up the good work, Liz. I appreciate it and so do a lot of other folks. Same goes to JC, Pete, and jhwygirl. Heck, same goes to Pogie and Mark T as well. All of you are good writers and all of you have something interesting to say much of the time. That’s why all those blogs get read and participated on.

    Rob isn’t a very good writer and usually hasn’t anything interesting to say. Eric would call that worthy of reading; I guess he like’s watching reruns of Magnum PI, also. I don’t. I thought Magnum PI had piss poor writing compared to The Rockford Files, for example, which had surprisingly strong writing.

    Eric, if you did run a blog no one would read it just the same that no one read Rob at either Left in the West or at his other blog. Is he still an ambassador for the Dems? Or did he resign that too? Did the Repos make you an ambassador too?

    Real writers write for the love of writing, Eric, That’s why they are writers. That’s why you won’t be running a blog, and it’s why no one would pay you to run a blog. You’re not a writer, you are an ideologue. I know you didn’t realize that there is a difference, but trust me, there is. Now you and Rob go back and watch your reruns and leave the quality blogging to the talented and the motivated!

    • Eric

      I always liked Rockford too – but he’s not on Netflix – LOL

  4. I don’t live in Montana but have had an abiding interest in the state’s politics for many years. I’ve found 4&20 helpful as well as Cowgirl and formerly Left.

    I find some blogs informational. Even the right wingers are interesting, when I have the time to aggravate them, as you know where the focus of the “panties in a bunch” crowd lay at any particular time.

  5. petetalbot

    Rob asks a legitimate question. One I’ve asked myself on occasion. But I write for myself as much as for an audience. So there. (Although I have a bad habit of frequently checking the site stats once I’ve posted).

    Liz, I appreciate your work here. You’ve kept this site going. I don’t always agree with your posts, but I haven’t always agreed with JC’s, jhwygirl’s, problembear’s, carfree’s, etc. – even Jay’s. That’s one of the things that keeps this site interesting. And while the rest of us haven’t been exactly reliable in the posting department, you keep cranking out well-written, well-linked posts.

    This site, like blogging itself, ebbs and flows. We’ve had highs (jhwygirl’s recent post on Big Sky Brewing got something like 10,000 visits) while there’ve been some weeks during the summer when we’ve dropped to around 100 visits a day. Wait until a juicy election cycle comes up again and watch the numbers climb.

    So, no, blogs aren’t a waste of time — at least most of the sites mentioned in this and Rob’s post, and many others.

    Do I wish there was some new blood in the ‘sphere? Yes. But Facebook and Twitter don’t cut it for me, and to quote Twain: “The reports of (the blogs) death is greatly exaggerated.”

    • lizard19

      yes, it would be great to have some new voices. I still consider myself a newbie to this scene, and I have to say, when I first started writing here I had to learn quick, because it was an often hostile environment with people like Rob acting like it was hazing time during pledge week.

      even with his latest post, which really is just bait, Rob exemplifies the uglier side of blogging. I’ve lived in Montana for 13 uninterrupted years, I finished school here, started a family here, and am very involved in the community, which anyone who knows me can attest to. for Rob to say it appears like I don’t care about this state and what happens to those of us who live here is clearly just a sad attempt to get a rise from me, which is why I hesitated to acknowledge it at all.

      I decided to respond because he does ask an important question, a question his antagonistic behavior partly answers. bullying and hurling personal attacks makes it less likely to attract new energy, which is sorely needed with recent departures and step-backs.

      anyways, it’s always nice to hear that folks appreciate the effort. I’d write in some form anyway, but I really enjoy piecing together quotes from articles and sharing poems with an actual audience.

  6. Sounds to me like his real gripe is that no one reads him.

    And given that’s what it sounds like, he’s pretty luck at least you do, Liz!

    i’ve cut back on my writing because Missoula County Democrats have felt free to attempt to harm me personally. And those on city council don’t take well to those that disagree.

    4&20 thrives because it is for the most part independent in thought and not any one party’s talking points.

    And none of us get paid.

    Eliminate the paid “bloggers’ and the list is shorter than the paid bloggers is longer. In the same sense that people delegitimize anonymous opinions and reporting (like mine,) I direct a degree of delegitimization of paid anonymous bloggers.

    Because that isn’t blogging – it’s PR work.

    You also won’t find me talking about our stats. I find it distasteful to obsess on who when and how many are reading who and what. Because if that’s what you’re doing it for, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

    • Wait, there are paid bloggers? I feel like I’ve made a terrible mistake. :)

      • I know. I wonder where I went wrong.

        • When you accused me of something I never did might be a start …

          • what did I accuse you of?

  7. Turner

    I greatly appreciate Montana’s lefty bloggers. They’re a needed counterbalance to our right-leaning press. These bloggers have strong personalities and sometimes seem to love controversy for its own sake. Sometimes they’re a little too much like Hotspur, who said of himself: “I’ll cavil on the ninth part of a hair.”

    But they perform a necessary public service.

    • Right leaning press? WHAT??!?? Please cite.

      • lizard19

        maybe it would help if you understood that right-leaning means conservative-leaning, and because conservatives successfully sell their brand as more friendly to business—and because the press, which is a type of business, needs to keep the lights on and the presses printing—that is often how editorial boards lean, to the right.

        I hope that wasn’t too long-winded.

  8. JC

    “Being able to synthesize various media sources reacting to the events of the day, in addition to my own speculation, makes this medium still worth the investment of time and energy.”

    All the reason in the world to keep spending time writing. Keep it up!

    Oh, and I don’t know why anybody gives a rat’s ass about what Kailey thinks anymore. He jumped the shark years ago.

  9. Pogo Possum

    Lizard, If you are lookiing for a current topic of interest to write about that actually impacts Montanan’s, check the news. Brian Schweitzer and three of his other Eastern Hedge Fund Clinton Group cronies were just elected to the Board of the Stillwater Mine. http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/shareholders-elect-schweitzer-to-stillwater-mining-co-board/article_9a6ad5ac-b372-11e2-a41d-001a4bcf887a.html

    • Pogo Possum

      I will even help start the conversation with this little ditty a friend just emailed me:

      “Paradise”
      When I was a child my family made money
      in the Beartooth Mountains working the Stillwater mine
      They were prosperous days that are fondly remembered
      Wonderful memories not forgotten in time.

      And daddy, won’t you take me back to Stillwater County
      Down by the Boulder River where Paradise lay?
      Well, I’m sorry, my son, but you’re too late in asking
      Brian Schweitzer’s Eastern Hedge Fund hauled the jobs all away.

      Sung to the tune of “Paradise” by John Prine

      • Well – the unions did oppose the Schweitzer/Clinton Group attempt…and certainly they are always about jobs so that message was pretty clear.

        Tenuous times for that mine. It’ll be interesting to see how shareholders react tomorrow.

    • lizard19

      that is interesting news for sure.

    • lizard19

      Lizard, If you are looking for a current topic of interest to write about that actually impacts Montanan’s…

      I do write a lot about national stuff and foreign policy stuff Pogo, but I would argue what goes on in the world DOES impact Montanan’s.

  10. Please continue writing. I find your writing takes in the big picture rather than the more narrow realm of electoral politics and that is why I visit this site, Naked Capitalism and where I post, Correntewire. Although I don’t post as much anymore. The reasons are varied. Have to work harder, but there has been a slow sea change. In 2004 people like me came out of some sort of hibernation and starting engaging in party politics since their were new voices that seemed to be bucking the system like Kucinich, Dean, Edwards. Schweitzer had a renegade quality to him that kept things interesting. But all that faded fast as the party machines kept the status quo firmly in place. That, of course, led to a huge financial disaster that became worse and led to no dramatic reforms. Just more bad pro business legislation like the Affordable Care Act instead of Single Payer and the Dodd/Frank Bill instead of nationalizing the monetary system and putting the banksters in jail.
    And finally the Tea Party on the right and the Occupy movement on the left gave voice to much that is wrong about keeping the current system in place.
    Many political bloggers (those who are paid and those who want positions in government or lobbying firms) are trying to maintain the status quo because they are part of the kayfabe, but the times they are a changing. I would say a good majority of people conservative and liberal know this and know that the national government is broken. That’s why coming up with alternative ways of thinking are important and why I spend time on the Archdruid Report and Dimitry Orlov and Ian Welsh. No time for petty politics or petty arguing. We’ve got some hard times ahead.

    • lizard19

      thank you, fcof.

  1. 1 Daddy Duganz Births New Blog! | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] I asked Is Blogging a Waste of Time? the hint I think the answer is no is the fact I wrote a post about it. On a […]




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