Today William Jacobson, creator of the acclaimed conservative blog Legal Insurrection, visited my Independent Media class and provided us with a wealth of information. Although he and I have different commentary on most political and social issues, we both value the blogosphere itself. He was generous in answering our questions and open about how he got to where he is today. Here are just three lessons that I learned from his presentation.
1. You don’t need to be Internet-savvy to be a blogger.
In 2008, a friendsuggested to Jacobson that he should write a blog. At the time, Jacobson had never even heard of a blog. But he, like many others with something to say, set up a Google blogspot site and began posting daily content. Personally,I’m less attuned to technology than the average millennial, so sometimes I worry about journalism’s reliance on online media. With this story, Jacobson reminded me that it’s what you have to say that counts, and that the Internet is the perfect space for self-teaching if you don’t know how to do something online.
2. It pays to pay for what you want.
This certainly isn’t a tip I can always actualize, but I think it’s important to consider. Clearly, Jacobson’s blogspot became insufficient, and after a few years he decided that self-hosting his blog through a company would allow for more privacy and freedom. Throughout the years, he has had different expensive site features designed, including the soon-debuting mobile version of the site.
3. Make connections with other bloggers.
Jacobson said that readers love his Post of the Day, Blog of the Day and Video of the Day (in image above) sidebar on his site, which links them to other blogs, often ones with which Jacobson already has a relationship. In turn, those blogs will often link back to Jacobson’s content. There’s a symbiotic relationship that arises when two outlets of similar ideology commend each other; it creates a culture of support. Jacobson recommended going to blog conferences in the “real world,” something that he was initially averse to but has since begun to value. As he said, no matter how smart you are, no one will be reading unless you promote with your peers. And until people start reading, well, “you’re just shouting in the darkness.” Networking is a practical way to crawl out of that darkness and set yourself apart from the thousands of others in the blogosphere.