Go co-op, or remain a lone gunman?

Back on this post, remy enlarged upon the subject of participation on the blog with this perfectly good suggestion:

Perhaps you should broaden your blog to include entries from others (eg. some of your former colleagues…those who are employed, but would like having a forum without the hassle of creating their own blog (the blogsphere is already splintered enough) and those who are still looking for gainful employment).
It might expand the dialog, and perhaps bring even more readers (who will comment). More readers may lead to an interest from advertisers…

And then I answered him at such length that I decided to make it a separate post:

I’ve thought about it (having co-authors), but I always run into several objections, aside from my own inertia…

– First, my whole orientation toward blogging is toward the personal blog, both as a writer and as a reader. Those co-op blogs out there don’t do much for me. I like a consistent voice, a particular person whom I can picture (at least, in an abstract sort of way, not like actually picturing a face or something) when I read their thoughts. Otherwise, I have that sense of dislocation I’ve gotten in reading an op-ed proof when the person doing page design absent-mindedly put the wrong sig on the column, and I read three-fourths of it, the whole time thinking “this is really a departure for Thomas Friedman,” and sure enough it turns out to be George Will, and finally things fall into place — but I feel almost like I have to read it over again with that in mind.
– (This is actually a continuation of the first bullet, but I felt it was time for a bullet) Also, when I started the blog, it was sort of an alternative form of expression to the cooperative, consensus-based process of publishing an editorial page. Even in my columns, I was very aware of being the editorial page editor and needing to be somewhat consistent with what we said in editorials (not entirely, but somewhat), and part of blogging was to be liberated from that.
– It would be a lot of work, it seems like. Coordinating something with other people is always more complex and energy-consuming than just doing something yourself as the mood strikes you. And as it stands, I always feel like I don’t devote enough to the blog to make it as good as it should be (what with job-hunting, which really IS kind of like having a job, as the cliche has it, in terms of time and energy; and family obligations and such).
– Then there’s the problem of what do I do if I really don’t like what someone has written, at my request, to contribute. No, it’s not as bad as asking someone to write an op-ed and it’s substandard when it comes in, because you’re not dealing with finite space, but still, things are going to come in that I’d prefer not to have. Say, a conventional take on an issue from either a “liberal” or “conservative” viewpoint, when I’d prefer a little outside-the-spectrum detachment, since fostering that is sort of an aim of the blog. It’s not that I have a definite idea of what should go on the blog, but I think I’d react to something from someone else that I DIDN’T want on the blog, because it didn’t have the right feel, and then what do I do? Hurt the feelings of this person who was trying to help? Or let the blog gradually become something else…
– To varying degrees, the other out-of-work journalists who want to publish online are doing so. Robert Ariail’s got his site, and so does Jeffrey Day, to name two such friends. If I started trying to line them up to join MY blog (and I’ve thought of it for the very reason you cite, that it would make it a product more attractive to advertising), I’d feel sort of like the Dan Akroyd character in “Grosse Pointe Blank” — you know, the hit man who wanted to organize all the other hit men — when I’d rather be the John Cusack character (”Loner; lone gunman — get it? That’s the whole point. I like the lifestyle, the image. Look at the way I dress.”).

Now, all of that said, I still might try to do it, but not yet — I hope to have an idea what sort of job I’ll be doing in the future pretty soon, and what I’ll be doing will have an impact on whether I blog at all, or if I do, what sort of blog it is in the future. So why get a lot of people started on something I would just have to drop?

I just listed those bullets to explain why I haven’t done it already…

… and still probably won’t. But the thought is worth airing.

6 thoughts on “Go co-op, or remain a lone gunman?

  1. remy

    It is a fair response, and a well-articulated one. Thanks. There is, however, one point I must nit-pick: you assume Remy is a man’s name, when in this instance it is not. I don’t usually comment on blogs. This was an exception; you do good work. Keep the faith.

  2. Claudia

    I’d love to see an occasional Arail illustration here, even if he does have his own site. From your posts on the old blog I know you two did good work together.

  3. kbfenner

    Dude–you’re the King, like I said. I am wondering if, instead of soliciting, and coordinating solicitations, you could invite your colleagues, and I believe all journalists are still your colleagues, to submit for publication, understanding it might not make the cut.If you like it, you post it. If not, well those are the breaks.
    I do hope you will stop the ad hominem habit of judging the thought by the thinker. Just because George Will says it, doesn’t mean it *HAS* to be pompous half-cooked pablum.

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