the circular runner

using blogging to let out the inner-party clown OR Ryan Holiday, you sad, sad man!

In criticism, media, Uncategorized on August 4, 2012 at 6:00 am

i’m not ryan seacrest, nor am i ryan anything!!!

As I mentioned in a previous post, this week I’m reading Ryan Holiday‘s book about manipulating social media for personal gain. I’m still not sure why I’m reading this. I’m too riddled by Catholic guilt or a strange sense of integrity to think I would actually implement some of what the author has done.  I’m just not a gamer of systems.  I make money teaching, for God’s sake, so you know I’m not that savvy.  But I guess I want to better understand this system that any of us creatives have to play (at least a little) in order to get our stuff out into the world.

That said, I think Mr. Holiday might have gamed me.  In interviews, I’ve heard him say he gives away his secrets in the book, but apart from a few general examples, he doesn’t give many details.  He does repeat himself over and over again about how bad the blog-centric world of social media is and how easy it is to manipulate it.  After 250 pages, I can say that my biggest lesson from Ryan Holiday is that he is a sad man and makes his living doing sad things that even he feels bad (and sad) about.  He feels badly, he tells us, though not bad enough that he’s going to stop doing said sad things.  BTW, if you know nothing about Ryan Holiday, he’s the guy responsible for those American Apparel ad campaigns that verge on kiddy-porn.  You know the ones.  Middle-aged men tend to congregate around them at bus stops–maybe that will give you some context as to who this guy is.

So, now, 250 pages later, $9.99 poorer, I’m still wondering about blogging.  Specifically, why I’m doing it.  What secret hopes do I have for what I write, if any.  I enjoy posting.  Let me get that out of the way.  I have some really great bloggers reading me, and whenever I get onto this pragmatic talk about utility, they always remind me that blogging should be for fun and done for the sake of fun.  I agree. I certainly don’t think blogging is my way to fame as a writer. But still, I can’t deny that I’d like to express myself to more readers. But I want the writing to be honest and I want my concerns when writing to reflect writerly craft, not the need for page views. Ryan Holiday would say that’s a fool’s errand.  Well, whatev, Ryan.  I didn’t ask you.

I did, however, ask bloggers why they wrote, and Friday Jones, a reader of my last post and a blogger in her own right, left an amazing comment.  I will quote it here:

I have been wondering the same thing, but I think you as a blogger need to understand the purpose of your blog. For instance my blog is literally about me airing all of the dirty laundry of my life out as I tread the road of self discovery. It is an all over the place blog with a central focus. However what if you are like the the Ryan Seacrest of the boggersphere? Your topics would be broad and vast. If you as a blogger have the ability to let your personality shine through, then you are selling you as a brand versus a you as an expert on a limited subject. But if your personality get’s lost, then being “all over” will not serve you in the long run.

Friday Jones, you are a genius.  I’m no Ryan Seacrest, nor am I a Ryan Holiday.  (I don’t even really like the name Ryan unless it’s for a girl or a last name–just another issue of mine.)  But I think I let my personality show through.  And maybe that’s part of why I want to blog.  I’m like that shy guy in the corner at a party who wants to join in but is too shy.  Blogging lets me let my inner-party clown out.

What about you?  What does blogging do for you?  And do you all care about getting readers?  And if so, what would you be willing to do to get those eyeballs?

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