Friday, November 2, 2007

Getting Traffic

In a meeting earlier this week, there was a discussion on how to drive traffic to your blog. The advice was to be topical and to take a stance--especially if it could be a slightly controversial stance.

While the discussion wasn't referring to this blog, I did think about that philosophy in the context of this blog. I also realized that I became immediately uncomfortable about the idea. It would be easy to do and probably would increase traffic. There are all sorts of juicy bits of gossip flying around the theater community and many of them would be a lot of fun to write about.

So why, for the most part, don't I?

I suppose for two reasons. One, I have always made it my policy to not write anything on the Internet/Web that I wouldn't also say if I were face-to-face with my audience (and on the Web, I don't get to choose who my audience is). If I can't say what I have to say politely and with at least some degree of kindness, then I need to question whether I'm hiding behind the anonymity of the printed word in a cowardly fashion.

Two, I have enough of a journalistic training to remember that there is more than one side to any story. Bloggers are not bound by the strictures of journalism (which is why there is still overall a far greater credibility to what appears in the newspaper than what appears on blogs--but that's another discussion and one in which I fall firmly in the middle rather than on either side), but I do not easily shed those strictures. I still find myself applying the tests of libel to what I write here. I ask myself whether I could feel comfortable proving what I have to say if I'm offering more than an opinion. I also feel uncomfortable blogging about anything that isn't said to me "on the record" even though that's rarely a test applied to the world of blogging. I still want my sources to be able to trust me when I talk to them for my column, so I don't want to break that trust here--which means not repeating casual conversations or those bits of gossip that I pick up as I chat with people in the community.

So, yes, that does make this blog more dull than it might otherwise be. But I hope that it also gives it a certain amount of credibility and trustworthiness. Of course, I've been known to fool myself before. :)

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