Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

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My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

Poker Sites

Cardschat Poker Forum
Barstool Sports
Card Player
Internet Texas Hold-Em
Poker Pages


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    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    What Makes a Good Blog? Or a Blog Good?

    Not only is PokerStars hosting this massive tournament for us on Sunday, and not only are they throwing in $25K worth of goodies, now they're sponsoring writing contests. The question posed is a deceptively simple one, but I look forward to reading all the answers. "What Makes a Good Blog?"

    That's a subject worthy of a book (I know I have a book by Rebecca Blood on my bookshelves about this very subject). But rather than write 3,000 words about it, I'm going to break out of character and try to keep this short and sweet.

    Anyone can become a publisher these days. It's cheap (like, free) and easy (in two minutes you can be blogging away). Keeping a blog going, however, takes countless hours of hard and usually thankless work. "Why am I doing this?" is a question we've all asked in our dark hours. Is anybody reading this? Does anybody care? These are difficult questions to answer when you're in the middle of a monster post about a subject you care about passionately.

    And these questions illustrate what can be so frustrating about writing (and especially about blogging). Most of us write because we like to. We write about subjects that interest us. But that isn't enough. We write in order to be read. These words we're putting on the page, either paper or digital--these are our thoughts, our ideas, sometimes our hopes and dreams. And we're writing them down to share them. If no one else reads them, then the act of writing them is so much wasted effort.

    Blogs give people who otherwise couldn't find an audience a way to introduce their writing (and pictures and podcasts and, by next year, probably high-def holograms) to the world. There are no barriers to entry, and all you have to do to find an audience is write stuff that people want to read.

    Which is easier said than done, of course. If I have any advice to bloggers or those-who-would-be-bloggers, it's this--you should write about what you want, and not give a damn what anyone else thinks. But--and here's the tricky part--you still have to think about your readers. Not that you should become a hack and write what you THINK will lure readers to your site, but the people fool enough to read your nonsense should always get the very BEST nonsense you can muster. Some days your best might not be very good, but when you sit down at the keyboard you should keep in mind those people who are going to invest their time and read it. The quickest way to condemn your blog to the depths is to fill the screen with self-indulgent nonsense that no other human being could possibly find interesting. Share something worth sharing.

    I think that's why we poker bloggers have developed into such a thriving community. Everyone has SOMETHING interesting to say. And about so many different facets of the game. There are bloggers who are world-class players; there are bloggers who candidly admit they're total fish. Some play in the World Series and the World Poker Tour, some play in freebie bar tournaments. Some have considerable writing experience, some probably never even thought about writing until they read other blogs and decided to sign up.

    One thing we poker bloggers have done very well is find a niche and then work within those parameters to give something unique to the community. Everyone talks from time to time about the same subjects--the gutsy calls, the brutal bad beats--but just about every blog adds something to the conversation that you couldn't find anywhere else. Not than anyone feels pressure not to go off the reservation, as it were--in fact, some of the best posts I've read had nothing to do with poker. I don't think there are many folks out there who feel uncomfortable writing outside their normal boundries. And they shouldn't be.

    Well, this was supposed to be short and sweet, and it's not. I don't even know if it's on topic. I think that's MY niche--I bloviate for thousands of words like a goddam filibuster (and I use words like "bloviate" merely because I like typing them...yeahhh..."b-l-o-v-i-a-t-e"...feels so GOOD). I'll admit, there have been times the past 21 months when I've seriously thought about shutting this blog down. But I know I never will (and, no, I don't mean that as a threat). I like to write. I like to read. Blogs give us access to a wider and richer vein of thoughts, opinions, and ideas than has ever been possible in history. We should all do our part and pitch in some of our own. get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

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