Friday, June 6, 2008

kavips not only beats me, but shows me the way. . . .

Ironically, I was going to write this particular post even before kavips decided to see if s/he could turn out more posts in one day than the usual fare at Delaware Libertarian. (By the way, as I pointed out in comments over there, it was no contest. kavips by sheer serendipity picked a day when my family and I had gone to the beach without computers. Ah well.)

But this is the comment that kavips made somewhat earlier in an edition of Outside the Perimeter that got me to thinking:

Delaware Libertarian, has been preoccupied with the Libertarian National Convention, coming up with this visual aid to assist those wondering if Libertarians may make a mark this year…

That word preoccupied got to me, because it matches something I have been contemplating of late.

I know I wrote a lot about the Libertarian convention, and I'll probably continue to write a lot about Libertarian candidates like Barr and Munger into general election season. Obviously politics interests me, or I wouldn't have this blog; obviously Libertarian politics is my passion or I would not have so named it.


There is a double-edged sword in all this. Like jason, dv, geek, pandora, and cassandra over at Delawareliberal (at least this is my inference), I see myself with three different missions:

1) To stir up the faithful (however the blog publisher defines them) to continued action

2) To recruit some new faithful

3) To be entertaining enough that even people who don't agree with you want to read you on a regular basis

I hardly ever read the Daily Kos or Atrios because I'm not a Democrat, and if there is anything really interesting in them, I trust DELib to digest it down and send it my way. Likewise, I don't expect to find jason spending every morning with Last Free Voice, Kn@ppster, or any other Libertarian blogs. Not his thing.

Those blogs cater to people who already share the belief system of their owners, and who come there to get their fix of cheering on the home team and finding the inside skinny on the internal party politics. But they aren't going to convert anybody, because only the converts read them. So while there is an important role for them to play, there is a certain sterility about them, almost an intellectual masturbation among friends.

Recruiting the new faithful means finding a way to get people in the door who don't already care about the more wonkish aspects of your party or movement. That's why I generally write a lot of pieces about international affairs, or science, or science fiction--or whatever. Because there has to be other stuff besides politics to tease people across the threshold.

The most difficult balancing act of all, is to have enough grognard material to keep your party insiders happy, along with enough different, entertaining stuff to keep the others interested (while still maintaining something of a local flavor).

In this state, without doubt, Delawareliberal does the best job at that, and it's funny: when--in the course of a week--they pump out too much insider stuff I can feel my attention waning. Six "when will Hillary get out and how much damage has she done to our party" posts in a week are a bit much to wade through if you're not a Democrat (just as too much "Bob Barr flip-flops on DOMA is too much if you're not a Libertarian).

So I think kavips was right to use the term preoccupied for my own coverage of the Libertarian convention. It brought me new readers without doubt: I now have about 100 fairly committed Libertarian friends from around the country who stop by every day or so (some just to label me an idiot, but that's par for the course, I guess). But I think it also tried the patience of some of my Delaware friends and other non-big L-Libertarian readers who might have found it all . . . a bit much.

I'm going to be working on better balance for awhile. You'll let me know how I'm doing.

And as usual, thanks to kavips for making me think.

(But, you know, it's also possible to get a little too much wind power as well. Hint, hint.)


Pandora said...

Too true, Steve. We all have our interests. I don't know much about the Libertarian Party, but I'm learning more every time I pop over here.

cassandra m said...

I always thought that the point of blogging was to indulge one's interests. The trick,of course, is finding others who are interested in sharing your interests (or at least your perspective on them). Your writing about the latest news and thinking from the Libertarian Party as you see it is really useful, since there isn't much reporting in the traditional media on your party.

Brian Shields said...

I liked the Barr info, since I really didn't read anything else about it from any other source.

I would personally like to see how libertarianism would affect state issues, which are, it seems a separate league from national politics.

kavips said...

If I ever dis "serendipity" in my future writing, can someone kick me?

Nice answer.... I was wondering whether you would bite on the prefix "pre"..... I actually spent a few minutes debating "pre" or no prefix....

I see something good came out of it after all......

Overall, a key post about blogging in well as telling us a little about yourself and your cause.

Well done.

(Maybe one day I too, will find a cause...) :)

Steve Newton said...

At least my picking up on the "pre" let's you know that sometimes people read as carefully as you try to write.