If At First You Do Not Succeed, Try Try Again

“I do understand both of their frustration with empty trackback pages and currently do not have an answer as to why those appear higher in rankings (or at all for that matter). At the same time, I am unsure what either one of them means by ?mindless links? that does not help bloggers (like myself) improve their writing.” —If At First You Do Not Succeed, Try Try Again (ProBlogs)

Tim Swanson offers a response to Orlowski’s latest anti-blogging column, which calls blogs “the lint of the Internet” (a wonderful quote, which he attributes to an anonymous “reader”). In an earlier column, Orlowski snickered over a BlogTalk paper that reported that the majority of Polish bloggers are teenage girls — though the oversimplified headline reads “Most bloggers ‘are teenage girls’“. Orlowski, or whoever writes his headlines, ought to know better than to skew facts like that. It may be of some social significance that men are writing publicly about their feelings, mixing their personal and professional lives, on a large scale. This is probably a side-effect of the feminist movement, which, by claiming some of the public ground that had previously been dominated by men, has provided men with a different ways of being masculine. Lucky for those teenage Polish girls that so many male bloggers are preparing an online world that will welcome, rather than ridicule, their cultural values.

He seems on the one hand to be poking fun at the small numbers of readers blogs attract, while at the same time criticizing certain A-list bloggers for jetting from one blogging conference to another. If blogging were really as solipsistic and pointless as Orlowski suggests, nobody would be interested in the conferences — we’d all just be blogging.

It would be too easy for me to sniff and say “Orlowski doesn’t get blogging,” because the fact is, I don’t get fashion shows or monster truck rallies or lots of other subculture events. And blogging is still a subculture, and some bloggers do act like pouty 14-year-olds, and the A-list is dominated by men.

I do think that every social phenomenon ought to have its critics, especially during the giddy phase when it is expanding but before it becomes mainstream; but Orlowski’s essays border on trolling — he taunts bloggers by noting that a recent article he wrote topped off the metablogging lists for a few days, but wasn’t the most-read article on his paper’s website. (He’s not asking for link love — he says, “Bring on the link-hate!”)