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Wall Street Journal had an interesting article in yesterday’s business section on the growing numbers of Americans who make money by blogging.  This includes people who blog on their spare time and professional bloggers for corporations (assuming it is now safe to call blogging a standardized profession?).


Mark Penn (the article’s author) has a rosy outlook on blogging, suggesting that it could be a product of the Information Age with the most profound effect on American culture.  As exciting as that is, I’m not sure I want American society being shaped by some of the top-rated blogs: Perez Hilton (#26), I Can Haz Cheezburger (#21), or TMZ (#13).


Well actually, that’s manipulation of statistics. The top ten blogs (as rated by Technorati) cater far less to prurient interests.  But, unlike much of the information cranked by the Fourth Estate, they are more opinion-driven than fact-driven.  So it seems to me that blogs are affecting our opinions more than anything. Because now I can type my opinions out and blast them to most regions of the earth, without earning journalism credentials, or even changing out of my pajamas.  And you know what they say about opinions… Everyone has them. 


So… as much as I love the blogosphere, I hope it doesn’t impact American culture, so much as it impacts the state of American opinion. You know, making it researched, fully-fleshed and well-rounded.  (This is by no means a critique of Americans or our opinions, I just think we can always stand to be better informed, you know?)


Here’s a quick run-down of some of the more interesting parts of the article:

·         One out of three young people reports blogging, but bloggers who do it for a living successfully are 2% of bloggers overall

·         It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year

·         In Washington alone, there are now 79% fewer DC-based employees of major newspapers than there were just few years ago (At the same time, Washington is easily the most blogged-about city in America, if not the world)

·         For sites at the top, the returns can be substantial. At some point the value of the Huffington Post will no doubt pass the value of the Washington Post 



Click here to read the article: America’s Newest Profession: Bloggers for Hire


Today, Bobby Pens got a dose of:

Tyra Banks with Mike Huckabee

And my blog may become better because of it.

In trying to achieve a more professional tone on Bobby Pens than on previous blogs, I was almost willing to forgo all discussion of one of my favorite topics in the whole, entire world: The Tyra Banks Show. You may laugh, but I can’t be dissuaded. Tyra Banks sets the agenda for young girls, tweens, teens, and young women in this country. Watching the entertainers, authors, politicians, businesspeople and companies that come knocking on her door to promote their products and services on her show is always fascinating to me.

But even more fascinating is watching how just about everyone that goes on that show falls into Banks’ world. You might be turned off by the glaring cognitive dissonance created when, say, Mike Huckabee makes an appearance on The Tyra Banks Show. But that is what makes PR so interesting to observe… How are you going to re-package the same item you just sold at the RNC, for a room full of Tyra Banks Show audience members? I think whoever coordinated this appearance on Huckabee’s presidential campaign team was hedging on the right idea of how to do just this:

See clips of the show, here. In particular, the second one.

Huckabee was likable, Banks was poised. It was a strange and beautiful convergence of two opposing worlds that completely geeked me out… And in light of this, I may need to reevaluate my goals in creating this blog. There are so many exciting topics to discuss that don’t traditionally fall under the category of “professional.” But I’d feel so stifled if I didn’t digress every now and again. The more time I spend on Twitter, the more I see how PR professionals have come crashing the social media party with claims that they have all the “secrets” about how to further your business through social media. What secrets are there? There’s something for everyone in social media, so anyone can do it.

Social media is supposed to be about SOCIALIZING. Not selling! Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that companies can connect with customers and communicate using various social media platforms. But it’s also obvious (to me, anyway) that social media is like any other huge social function. If you don’t want to end up lining the walls, you have to be saying—or doing—something worth paying attention to. And if all you can say while at this function is, “Buy my book!” “Check out my webinar!” “Look how much money I’ve made doing X online!” …Well, you might get a few dance partners but at least I know I’m going to be doing my best to avoid you. And so will most other reasonable people. How tacky!

I think surely that has to be some balance in using social media to further your business. Some of us still want to be human in the age of technology.

After a short break, I’m returning to the (legitimate) blogosphere. I needed some time to reclaim my life as a college student. I don’t know that my grades will be any indication of this, but… I think I’ve managed to re-establish school as a top priority over my job and television (my two greatest loves).

“Bobby Pens” is a pet project I’ve wanted to get started for a short while and I’m excited to finally be giving it a go. It’s going to take me a while to get into the groove of things, but such is blogging. You feel awkward because at first you are speaking to no one and yet, you are potentially speaking to anyone and everyone with an internet connection. And you really hope they pay attention… It feels a little like reliving your first junior high school dance all over again. “Will those people like me? What if I say something stupid?”

But like I’ve said before, LiveJournal has fully prepared me for that. If LiveJournal doesn’t epitomize every aspect of the massive and evolving blog dominion… well then nothing does.

Anyway, I’ve gotten some useful feedback on Bobby Pens from my PR professor, but I’m hoping to get feedback from anyone who passes by, too. So feel free to comment with whatever’s on your mind, especially if you feel like I could be explaining something better.

I’ve added some more links to the Bobby Pens Sidebar in light of social media Websites I’ve been using for years, but initially overlooked when I started this blog. These include: Yelp (I love this site) and LinkedIn (my mom loves this site). You should definitely be familiar with these Web sites, too. The sites I categorized as social media may not be “classic” social media networking sites, but they are social media nonetheless. They unify people with a common interest and provide multiple forums for them to share information and opinions. In Yelp’s case, the commone interest is food and dining. In LinkedIn’s case, the common interest is Human Resources and  networking across every job industry imaginable.

I just think we should start re-working our opinion of what defines a social media Website, since humans (even bloggers in their pajamas in the middle of the afternoon) are sociable creatures and will find a way to create strong social bonds in any situation.

Websites originally intended to provide a basic service of question answering now have elaborate systems in place for visitors to establish relationships with other users. I love that. It’s exciting to watch social media sneak into traditional, “Web 1.0” models of Website construction and completely change the way information is shared online.

This Month in Bobby’s Penning

July 2018
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