Friday, February 17, 2012

Battling blogging depression on a cold Friday morning

Nothing is worse than working on a hour on a new post for TNM and then hitting the delete button when you decide that it might not be a good idea to post the story.

Today's story that you won't read is on my opinion on the games the tech giants are playing with the media. Both Google and Apple are blowing it, I wrote, and playing a very dangerous game.

You won't read that story, though, because the premise was pretty thin and, frankly, who the hell cares what I have to say on the manner. Neither company gives me the time of day now, they certainly won't after letting them know exactly how I feel about their media relations strategies.

And so I hit the delete button. Bye bye post.

So what to write about this morning? There is lots of news out there: the Congress is going to extend the payroll tax cut (doesn't effect someone like me that isn't on a payroll); Rupert Murdoch is in London saying his reporters are innocent until proved guilty and that he will launch a Sunday edition of The Sun (as well as a new bail bond company, lots of demand); and then there is the new poll in Massachusetts showing Scott Brown beating Elizabeth Warren (chalk up another one for Wall Street).

Usually in such situations I then say "screw it all" and go and check my traffic numbers.

The funny thing is that that exercise can be pretty depressing, as well. The problem is that one gets no perspective when taking a quick look at Google Analytics.

You open up the report and the first thing you see is an overall up or down percentage. This morning it looked good, up over 50 percent! Then you click and you see the chart. Up, down, up down. Where is it today? God, it's down. Yikes, what did I write yesterday? Did I not post enough?

Then you remember that you've made a decision to cut back on the posts to work on the new site. Oh yeah, that explains it.

But perspective gets lost. How does this compare with last year? In TNM's case, uniques are up 59 percent, page views up 35 percent. Those are pretty damn good trends, no? Plus, it doesn't take into account the iPhone app, which didn't exist last year at this time, nor any increase in subscribers to the RSS feed. But TNM had a morning newsletter a year ago, maybe I should restart that?

The fact is that following the media business can get you down pretty fast. It is probably a miracle that I've maintained this site for as long as I have. I sometimes wonder how Jim Romenesko keeps going, though I'm sure the fact that he has such a large following helps. It also helps that he writes about journalism and journalists. Journalists, you see, read – and they like to read about themselves. Media executives don't like to read about themselves, unless it is when they have a new position. Otherwise they think it will be bad news (they are probably right about that).

On the bright side, I got my one reader from Bolivia – thank you, whoever you are. Now go find that reader from Peru because now I'm still down one South American country.