My pal - we'll call him Mark - emailed to discuss my post on gambling and press access. He was a bit surprised that I'd had as much problem with MLB as I'd had. Now, it's not that I can't get a press pass in most situations, it's that I have to jump through hoops not forced on the lowest newspaper.
We talked some about that and strategies to get around or through the problem, then got talking about the blog and how it synergizes with BP. I've always thought that the blog, despite not discussing my main focus, serves as something of an access point.
"That's your best quality - accessibility," Mark typed. "It's also why people get jealous. They can't email Peter Gammons. They can't email the guy on SportsCenter. With you, you're something different and that makes some wonder why you get to do what you love and they don't."
Fair enough, but I mentioned that my gambling/access post had a grand total of one reply. "Do you do it for the comments?" he asked.
"No. I don't want the so-called community around some blogs. More problem than it's worth," I said.
"Exactly. Doesn't fit your model."
"I have a model?" I said incredulously.
"Nothing like a supermodel. There's a bunch of blog models right now. Ads, subscriptions, and even free sites are some sort of model. Most are aiming at some sort of defined community. Cubs fans, Rangers fans, whatever - and trying to grab a subset of that community. Good strategy. The superset is certainly big enough to support multiple subsets.
"Where it gets interesting is when the community reaches a certain size or, better, when readership and mindshare reach a certain size, they have to define themselves. Do the readers become the center or the writer? Is it one to many communication - broadcasting - or one to one - narrowcasting? What do you think you are?"
I paused. "I guess all of the above. I broadcast UTK, broadcast the blog, and narrowcast with email."
"Exactly!!!!" Mark uses too many exclamation points at times. His typing speed, even on a crackberry, is insane. "Why choose? You end up being a donut, with all sorts of communication circling the center."
"Mark, there's no center in a donut."
"That's the best part!!! What genius invented the donut hole, something people assumed was there but never really was? But you don't have to be at the center of this. It circles you and you can step in and out. It's a perpetual buzz machine. Think - who's the biggest name on the web?"
"That's a heck of a donut, Will. Krispy Kreme. Quit worrying about hits or comments internally. There's nothing in the donut hole. The rest of the world is noticing and the right people are reading. So quit worrying about things and figure out how to get one of those cards you want around your neck."