Doesn’t Share Well

Times Union Lifestyle BlogsI was mentioned as one of the “Men Who are Former TU Lifestyle Bloggers” in a Times Union blog post this week. It was sort of suggested that as men we were out of our element. Michael Huber, the paper’s “Interactive Audience Manager,” wrote:

By its definition, the Lifestyle category calls for bloggers to riff on whatever they wish, and, no news here, I think it’s easier for women to have that sort of freeform discussion with readers than it is for most men. When you think about it, a ‘lifestyle’ blog is essentially about sharing, and not just sharing news topics or opinions, but thoughts and feelings.

Wow, now I feel like an idiot.

Hey, I’m really sorry if I haven’t shared enough with you people. In the future I swear that I will bare my soul to you, all of my friends and family, and write of my deepest thoughts and feelings, not just about news topics and my opinions.

That is my promise.

20 Responses to Doesn’t Share Well

  1. I thought your writings about dog poop and losers who only run half-marathons were the essence of your soul.

    • I agree, that’s what I thought, too!

      And I hope the Men/Lifestyles recruitment effort is a rip roaring success. They could certainly use some improvement in that neighborhood.

  2. write of my deepest thoughts and feelings, not just about news topics and my opinions.

    PLEASE no….

    • The job description doesn’t make it sound very attractive, does it?

      I realize that it must be hard to fill that “community blogger” space the TU has created. Frankly — and I’m trying to be as objective as possible here — a lot of it isn’t very good, but I’m sure all the blogs have their audience, even if they are just small audiences. There are a couple of TU blogs I read, but generally I don’t spend much time there.

      Why is it so hard to find good people to write? No idea — but every day I stumble across blogs that are brilliant, and most of them are not affiliated with the establishment media.

  3. I would comment on this post, except for the fact that I’m incapable of crafting meaningful emotional discourse here because my brain is filled to overloading with sports statistics and opinions . . . . . . . uhhhhhhh . . . . . how ’bout ‘dem Jints?

  4. I think the Religion section on the Times Union blog page is pretty good, even if I’m not particularly religious. Many of the other niche blogs on the site are quite well written, like the home restoration blog, Brad Shear’s blog, and a couple of the arts blogs. Generally, the ones with a focused topic are best.

    Personally, I find the two remaining male “Lifestyles” blogs to be unreadable. That Joe Quijano guy was horrible, as well.

    Mr. Huber is right and wrong. He’s right about it being hard to compose good blog posts like the ones in that section; it’s like being a columnist, and that’s not easy. He’s wrong about it being a she thing. The idea that men can’t fill the role well is silly and a bit sexist.

    • He may have been horrible, but he lasted longer than I did. That’s sayin’ something.

      • Joe Quijano lasted longer than you? If so, that’s only because he kept writing. I think I read his blog about five times, and each time, it gave me a headache. It was the worst blog I have ever read.

        • I was there for barely nine months, from late October 2009 to July 2010, so I find it really wierd that I’m even mentioned in that blog post. Didn’t realize I was so important.

          And I didn’t want to get into this, but my leaving had nothing to do with being a man or having little to write about. They know why I left — and why J. Eric Smith left. I’m not certain about the others, but to suggest we left because we couldn’t share enough is disingenuous.

          I will say this: like a lot of people, I bought their BS about having a big audience.

          • I did it from February 2007 to September 2010. It’s about the only thing from my 19 years of living in Albany that I actively regret.

            In re big audience . . . I never knew how many readers I had there. I did know, though, that when I embedded links to my own sites on the page, they got very few clickthroughs, whereas when I embedded the same links on my owns sites, the received a lot more traffic.

            My personal website/blog was pulling about 60,000 hits per month when I went into the T.U. (Don’t know how many unique views, but it was not a graphic-intensive site, so each hit pretty closely approximated to a page viewed). Around that same time, the Upstate Wasted Board, in which I was an active contributor, actually peaked out at over 250,000 hits per month. A big part of the appeal there? Unfettered and honest insider criticism of the local media scene (see also Albany Eye) . . . .

            Within six weeks of leaving the T.U., Indie Albany had a Freshly Pressed designation from WordPress that I know scored me more traffic than I ever earned on their blog portal. And after one year in a brand new market, Indie Moines is already trucking along nicely, too, and has even received some “Best Of” nods from local print media outlets.

            Nobody with a strong voice and something interesting to say needs to bury their message under a pile of uninteresting and poorly-written blogs for the sake of “exposure. It’s amazing how different the blog environment out here in Des Moines is as a result of not having a particularly obnoxious 800-pound gorilla stomping around and telling all of the other monkeys that they aren’t worthy . . .

  5. I have always enjoyed reading your blog, more so since you have had the freedom of speech and opinion you didn’t necessarily have over at the TU. It seems that many of the local blogs are clogged up with people bitching about taxes, which I guess might constitute a ‘lifestyle’, but is not interesting after a while.

    I’m just pleased someone shares my love and respect for chipmunks enough to build them a home.

    • Thank you, I appreciate it — but that’s a sticky wicket.

      If anything, I thing I did a lot of self-editing on the Times Union blog. Because of the number of people reading I may have been a bit more conservative in my writing. My handler was always egging me on to be more controversial and he seemed to love it when I pissed people off, including when I raised the ire of his co-workers or other community (unpaid) bloggers. Why? Traffic. A hot blog post gets a lot of action.

      I never did anything to be purposely provacative — and I regret the handful of times I stumbled into it by accident. You’d have to be “a whackadoodle” to go looking for that sort of trouble.

  6. Tim in Waterford

    Oh boo hoo. Rob, both you and Eric know darn well that Huber didn’t write that passage to explain why you left. It was his attempt at figuring out why not many men do what you do. It does appear to be true — and the gender distribution numbers in the blogosphere in general and the TU blog portal specifically seem to bear this out — that more men prefer to focus their writings in specific areas rather than going for a general “lifestyle” angle. It wasn’t meant to be an insult toward you, and if you and Eric see otherwise, that says more about you than it does about Huber.

    But hey, any excuse to bash the Times Union, right? For someone who was only there for nine months and left over two years ago, you sure sound bitter…

    • Thank you for writing, Tim.

      I’m not insulted at all — and I see no bitterness in mocking that blog post or the way they do business in the blog section. I’m better able to write about it than most people, even if I was only there for nine months.

      As for bashing the Times Union, I’d suggest what this town needs is a little bit more of that — but look how they treat someone who dares to criticize them, like New York Citizen One’s Theresa Grafflin.

      The paper’s recent stories about Grafflin’s coverage of the Albany County DA primary were brimming with invective. Why? Because she had made fun of a Times Union reporter — the very same Times Union reporter who wrote the story. How is that objective?

      Newspapers love to claim the moral high ground, but the truth is that they can be just as tyrannical as the most corrupt public official. We should be wary of any institution with that much power — and for those who think news outlets should not be scrutinized or “bashed” I have two words for you: Fox News.

      Finally, do I have a bad taste in my mouth after my dealings with the Times Union over my blog? Sure. I should never have gone there, but at the end of the day that’s nobody’s fault but my own. Oh boo hoo.

  7. “Tim in Waterford ” reeks of someone who works at the Times Useless.

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