I've been ruminating lately about bloggers (and some publishers) who don't understand the first thing about how and why readers read opinions.
We do not, primarily, read opinions, be they by bloggers or columnists, for some flash of insight we hope to get. We read them to get to know them. Once we get to know them, they can help us find our bearings. They're a fixed point, a reliable true north that helps us sort things out when the flotsam and jetsam hits the fan.
This morning I got an e-mail of disappointment from a regular reader (okay, it was my co-blogger, Kristen Ridley) who said she "zipped over to your blog this morning hoping you would have posted some comment on the speech." Well, the Obama speech just didn't inspire me to make a comment. I think I have an antipathy to these state-of-the-union-monsters in general. I couldn't stand to listen to them from Clinton or Bush, either. Without the benefit of my sage take, Ridley used Facebook to post her own smart note on the speech, which I told her "was what I wouldda said if I coulda laid tongue to it."
But the point is, I usually weigh in on major communication events, and my readers can usually rely on me to do so. So much so that I suppose I make some kind of statement when I don't post on a given matter.
All of this is my reply to the otherwise super-smart communication consultant who sent a note to all his contacts proudly announcing the second or third or fourth relaunch of his blog.
"Greetings from the Heart, Soul and Capital of Europe," he began cheerfully, breaking six months of silence. "After a long break spent working, relaxing and taking in what life in Europe's Capital has to offer … along comes another edition of [my blog] … Wishing you the best–and looking forward to your thoughts and comments."
Hey everybody, guess who's back? I am!!!
Opinions are like assholes: Everybody has one.
But reliable sparkers of ongoing conversations among a community organized around a common interest—well, this is why newspaper columnists write more than once a week, and why bloggers pay a heavy price for taking six months off.