blog Every once in awhile I take stock of what I’ve written recently, and ask myself what I should write next. I’m often tempted to write shorter, snappier articles, which tend to be read by more people and give me much-needed practice in brevity and clever turn of phrase. The problem is that such short pieces also tend to be unsubstantial.

When I post the results of original research or surveys, my hit rates jump significantly. These are, alas, hard to do well.

I’m a ‘thinker’ not a ‘linker’, though I have enormous admiration for those like Mark Woods , Caterina and Natasha who read immense volumes of news and commentary, report only the best and most important in their blogs, and say just the right amount to provide the context needed to allow each reader to determine whether or not to read the entire article in question. Reading a dozen such blogs per day almost eliminates, for me, the need to read newspapers.

If my goal was strictly popularity of my blog, I’d write about business, the nuances of blogging, and informative and educational articles on politics and economics (they receive an average of 10 comments per post). I’d write less poetry, fewer short stories and memoirs, less on society and culture (my posts on depression , procrastination , regret and compromise ), and fewer persuasive articles and essays on politics and philosophy.

Here’s what I’m thinking of writing about over the next couple of weeks. Dear patient reader, I would welcome your guidance, preferences, and additional ideas (but please e-mail me rather than commenting, to avoid biasing others’ responses).

  1. Stories: Businesses that put people above profit
  2. Five simple ways to make weblog software better
  3. Things that don’t make sense
  4. Pollard’s best-of-breed blog list
  5. A specification for a Social Networking Enablement system for business
  6. Why is there no good porn?
  7. Short story: The girl in the rain
  8. Bush’s dream: If there was no government
  9. A proposal: The Salon bloggers’ book exchange
  10. The blogosphere fitness challenge
  11. Small is beautiful: The case for decentralization of big business
  12. A contest: Where in the world was that taken?
  13. The new communication media: When to use blogs, wikis, e-mail, IM, forums, chat, groupware and the telephone
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8 Responses to AND THEN HE SAID…

  1. Mark says:

    Any and all of them look interesting. I’ve put you on my regular read list!

  2. Art Jacobson says:

    Dave… About Bush’s dream I suspect Hobbes was right. Without government our lives would be’Nasty, mean, swinish, brutish, and short. Still, I’d like to hear what you say.Incidentally, if well done longer is better than shorter.Art Jacobson

  3. mrG says:

    If you ever do go mono-topical, maybe its a bid for readership, but y’know, it wouldn’t be for my readership — give me a live human being who breathes, thinks, ponders and dreams over any self-aggrandized narrowcast pundit any day!

  4. Adrian says:

    Yes, I think if you hired a manager to come in and “maximize” this blog’s popularity potential, sort of the way Clear Channel’s got the radio biz down, you’d end up cutting a lot of what makes “How to Save the World” memorable and unique. I’ve been impressed by the way you alternate between topics with mass appeal and more difficult ones which require a deeper level of readerly engagement. Yesterday’s “Closure”, for example. Maybe it didn’t get so many comments, comparatively speaking. But it’s not a post that necessarily lends itself to off-the-cuff replies, either.A number of my fave bloggers do write brief posts that are also substantial, while others require a larger canvas. Dickinson vs. Whitman, Tolstoy vs. Issa, expansiveness vs. compression…both can be done well, or not so well.

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Mark, Art, Gary, Adrian:Wow. I’ve gotta stop and ask questions like this more often. In these brief comments you’ve taught me more about my readership than all the stats and bloglinks since I started blogging. I’m delighted that my schizophrenic subjects and eclectic interests don’t cause you any cognitive dissonance, and that the fact even my categories are kind of uncategorizable doesn’t turn you off. Gentlemen, I’m very grateful and humble for your comments and hope that I can live up to them. -/- Dave

  6. Michael says:

    Dave,I’ve had a similar discovery about my blog. I almost feel guilty when I post about something ‘off-topic’. But my posts that get the most comments are those ‘off-topic’ posts. So now I feel much better about posting on whatever I want. I figure that people can just use the category filter to ignore whatever they want.

  7. Marc Pierson says:

    Dave, I would like to hear your thoughs on #13, when to use which media for communication. I am interested in communities of learning/innovation and believe that we will use weblogs, WebCrossing, and Groove. Your thoughs will be much appreciated.

  8. Dave Pollard says:

    Marc: Been out of town blogging from hotel rooms, and this item requires some serious research time. I will get around to it eventually, and appreciate your comment.

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