In a world of constant information-sharing and communication, the number of blogs out on the internet is incredible and exponentially growing by the second. There are countless blogs that generate millions of shares and views each day, allowing the blogger to convey his/her opinions to an open audience and kickstart conversation about topics the author feels are important. However, there are a limited number of blogs that actually achieve this type of public exposure. Indeed, there are reasons why these blogs are so successful, and I will do my best to articulate what I think makes a “good blog”.
For me, the most important element of a successful blog is it’s ability to create a sense of community amongst it’s readers. Brian Carroll’s “Blogito, Ergo Sum” outlines the necessity of community building in blogs perfectly: “community-building is an essential element of successful blogging… Bloggers should actively think of ways to engage readers, to begin and continue conversation, and to create and sustain loyal audiences” (Carroll, pg. 154).
When I think of successful blogs with active and loyal readers, I immediately think of Barstool Sports. While the comments sections consist of bored 20-40 year old men at work (or “Stoolies”, followers of the blog), bloggers for the site do a great job cultivating a sense of community by posting content, although raunchy and overtly offensive to some, that readers can relate to and enjoy discussing. With the tagline “by the common man, for the common man”, Barstool appeals to college-to-middle-age men looking for their opinions to be heard on topics ranging from sports to popular web content.
Barstool also excels by publishing what the bloggers believes to be the truth and doing it vindictively, key elements to Blood’s and the SPJ’s codes of ethics (Carroll, ppg. 158-60). Bloggers on the site share the same method of conveying their opinions (crude humor, blunt and offensive statements) and stand up for what they believe to be true.
During the NFL’s recent “deflategate”debacle involving the New England Patriots, Barstool bloggers posted constantly to voice their dissent regarding the NFL’s decision to suspend Tom Brady, and even went to court hearings to try and uncover the truth. As Sarah Murray states in her article, “millennials’ trust in traditional institutions and leaders is declining… Instead, they put more faith in the wisdom of the crowd, accessed via social media” (Murray, pg. 12). The blog denounced the NFL’s commissioner, and by vindictively voicing it’s opinion to readers, cultivated great support for their cause.
While the content of Barstool Sports may not represent the views held by the majority of internet users, it is a great example of how to run a successful blog. The framework for retaining and cultivating viewership (the essential aspect of successful blogging), as well as vindictively voicing “truth” are what I hope to be key elements of the blog I will be writing for this class.