Saturday, June 5, 2021

Advice to a Failed Blogger

 The biggest news story of the week, obviously, is the Former Guy's blog shutting down.


The absolute spate of news outlets covering the demise of the "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump" feature of TFG's website are equivalent to BuzzFeed's never-ending series of listicles about "Celebrities You Forgot Were Couples Back in the Day." My initial reaction - "Why yes, I had forgotten that Keifer Sutherland and Julia Roberts once were engaged and had the same hairstyle" - almost immediately gives way to "Why am I reading this when I could be doing something I care about, like sleeping or trimming my cloven pinkie toenails?"

Like apparently the vast majority of humanity, I didn't actually visit Trump's blog myself. I'd read screenshots of his brief, badly written "posts" on Twitter, along with the comment threads imploring the screenshotters not to "give him air." This was a trifling and dull portion of my daily social media consumption, and now that it's come to an end after 29 days, I neither mourn it nor miss it.

On the other hand, why pass up an opportunity
to use this absolute classic of a photo?

Apparently "From the Desk of..." was getting fewer than 15,000 interactions a day, which isn't surprising, since it was a static series of short, bloviating proclamations rather than a true platform that allowed engagement with supporters, detractors, trolls, bots, or any of Dan Scavino's 600 shadow accounts.

I don't think this has the force of law behind it, but without
a retweet from Kayleigh McEnany, HOW DO WE KNOW?

Nonetheless, 15,000 eyeballs, while a paltry number compared to, say, almost any other public figure on the planet, are still considerably more than I get here in my little corner of the internet. Yet unlike the twice-impeached former occupant of the White House bathroom, I've been here for more than 10 years and I'm not letting a little thing like being roundly ignored by vast numbers of people bruise my ego to the point of giving up. 

Still, would it kill you to tell your friends?

That combination of longevity and self-delusion, I think, makes me qualified to advise any number of former POTUSes on running a blog that, if not successful, at least continues to exist. Granted, this is after the fact. But if we're to believe spokesman Jason Miller, aka the violent, cheating drugger of women who looks disconcertingly like a Tootsie Pop with some schmutz on it, the 86ing of "From the Desk of..." is merely clearing the way for a new, bigger, bolder, and totally not imaginary future Trump platform.  

With that in mind, I hereby appoint myself Definitely Official Blogospherical Advisor to the One-Term Guy. And here, based on an in-depth analysis of his previous online activity that lasted, like, at least a half a cup of coffee, is my critique and advice for running a blog when you're a rando that nobody cares about:

1. Use more GIFs. TFG's blog posts haven't disappeared; they've just been absorbed into the "News" section of his website, such that "news" to actual factual content is now what "non-dairy topping" is to actual whipped cream. That means I've been able to review his past posts, and honestly, they're pretty lacking in visual interest. Where are the memes? The amusing photoshopped images? For corn's sake, where are the GIFs? Whether you say "giff" or "jiff" (or, as I suspect, "fig"), you need to use more of them. Here's one of my favorites:

2. Play up the humor. While sarcasm and satire are worthy literary devices, there's such a thing as being too subtle. You need more laff-out-loud lines like this to keep readers coming back.

That's gold, I tell you. And now let's combine it with #1 above to create a truly memorable moment:

3. Titles are important. Put some thought into how you name their posts. A catchy title can mean the difference between boffo engagements and utter apathy. I mean, look at this series of posts:

Bo-ring. A good title is punchy and memorable and most important, reflects the content of the post itself. For instance, I would give a post like this... eyeball-grabbing headline like "I Made Soup Out of Some Words!" or "This One Simple Trick to Dupe the Lowest Common Denominator of Your Base" or "You Should Stop Right Now and Read This Desperate Cry for Relevance from a Deluded Old Man." See how much better that works?

4. More guest posts. I know that the glamor and prestige of blogging can make it seem that you're the center of the universe. But it pays to sometimes share the spotlight, to provide novelty and a fresh perspective to your readers. Guest posts do just that, and they also expose you to fans of your guest. Win-win! I suggest featuring the comedy stylings of this guy, who does hilarious videos from the clubhouse of a local apartment complex while pretending to be on mountains of cocaine:

Fair warning: This guy will charge you five hundred smackers for his funny content. But a billionaire blogger can easily afford that, right?

5. Don't get discouraged. There will be many times when you'll want to give up on the blogging game. You'll look at your underwhelming numbers and wonder why you bother. You'll be convinced that no one cares what you say, or that people who used to say they were your staunch supporters actually consider you a laughing stock and wish you would go away. Don't you give in to your discouragement. Keep on believing in yourself, even if you're literally the only person who does. Remember that you're capable of creating masterpieces like this:

Some writers have to wait years for their talent to be recognized. Don't forget that Vincent Van Gogh was dead before anyone realized that he was an artistic genius. I'm not saying that's a route you should try. But remember that the internet is forever, and if that's how long it takes for people to give you your due, then so be it. Keep cranking out that content, even if it's criticized, derided, or more likely ignored, and let posterity render the judgment you deserve. Because it will.

You're welcome. And to conclude, here's a picture of the 1990s throwing up on Keifer and Julia.

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