Thursday, December 29, 2011

Are flame wars good for business? (Blog Advice)

My superpower is pissing people off. Seriously.
One of the things that you see quite a few new bloggers do is to attempt to please everyone. There is a problem with this approach---you tend to end up with a vanilla blog that no one reads (not even your own mother). Awhile back, I started to read blogs written by pro-bloggers (bloggers who were making a living by blogging). And all the pro-bloggers seem to think that you cannot have a successful money-making blog without upsetting the occasional reader.

This opinion made me reconsider the recent policy by some to shut up anyone whose opinion upsets someone else. What if avoiding the flames is actually harmful to business?

(By "business," I mean getting eyeballs to your blog.)

Looking around at the various Golden Dawn blogs that I am aware of, I was stuck by the pageviews of the blogs that shouted flame war the most, allowing the most trollish comments through---the more irate the comments, the more views they exhibited.

Now, I will admit I was not scientific in my approach; I was using the numbers from the widgets that bloggers willingly displayed. I am not sure if the numbers can be gamed or not. What I do know is that if the numbers are even half-right, these people who are fanning the flames and allowing trolls to post are getting a lot more pageviews than I am.

And over the last few years, I have watched two Orders basically run campaigns where they claimed that others were attacking them. It reminded me of the tactics that various bad governments used to control the minds of their population. I don't foresee either group changing their tactic any time in the near future. Obviously, instilling the fear of others into their membership is good for their business.

Now, I am still not completely sure that flame wars are good for business, nor am I sure if they are bad for business. But I do know one thing for sure. Trying to avoid a flame war is bad for my business. Let me explain.

Over the last year, there have been several times that I had a really good blog idea...then I would realize that it would upset someone, and I would not write the post. That is right: the fear of causing flame war prevented good blog posts from being written. It is the French method of losing wars---surrender before the fighting begins. (Leave your rage about my bad attempts at humor in the comment section.) Basically by allowing the internet fire department to control my writing, I went silent which just gives the victory away to anyone who is willing to buck the trend.

Look around the Golden Dawn blogosphere. What do you see? A lot of silent blogs. I suspect that it is because no one wants to post for fear of causing a flame war. I am not sure that it is good for business. I know that it is hurting my own business. Is it hurting yours?


Peregrin said...

Ah Morgan,

I am finally able to get some Net access here on my hols in the country. How sad I have missed your wonderful posts recently :)

This here is an excellent post, and I will admit to not having the imagination to see the ever so touchy cries of "Flame War" as useful for a blog or Order. I have always thought it was simply the sign of a disordered mind. I mean, really, some parties have now a shopping list of people and parties AGAINST THEM and wanting to ERASE them and ATTACK them.

But you may be right - a good business ploy and a disorded mind. :)

I too have not blogged for reasons identical as you. However, apart from the reasons you list I also simply feel ill at the venom and sniggering wickedness that gets thrown around, and would rather not have to engage in it. I have made various vows in several traditions to, in good Star Trek fashion, become more than who I am, and do not wish to engage in petty muck. I am too easily affected. Maybe I need to grow a thicker hide?

Please, please keep blogging Morgan... you are a delight :)

Unknown said...

I have not been blogging lately because I have been finishing off King over the Water.
The currently policy in some GD groups appears to be to insist that people unilaterally believe whatever rubbish you say and then claim you are being flamed if anyone says "hang on a minute." Over the last decade some really good writers on esoteric subjects have disappeared from the web because of this and we have lost some access to some very good information. In the early days alt,magick was actually a good source of information and debate with some interesting names turning up. Now it is a wasteland populated by ufo cults, lizard people and those with terminal spelling disorders.
Flame wars have the advantage that it identifies the group as being persecuted. If it is persecuted it must be important. If it is important than people need to band together to fight off the oppressor. Once they are banded together they must fall in behind the leader. It is exactly the same method as those used by the Fascists and the Communists in the 1930s. There the enemy were either the Jews or the communists (or in the case of the communists the Imperialists). This is why I disagree with your about a gulf forming between groups... the fact is that we do talk together. It is handy to those who spout about attacks to create an image that we are at each others throats because it emphases their persecution.