Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Try Being Instapundit

I have to laugh when I read posts like this over at Ann Althouse's blog where she links to a blogger (don't know him or her) who says it's easy to be Instapundit. Like myself, Ann disagrees with this analysis, emphasizing that this blogging style is harder than it looks and that brevity is not always easy.

The blogger gives a few tips on how to blog in Glenn's style--citing laziness, lack of intellectualism, and easy brief links as the key to Instapundit's success. I have read over the years bloggers who talk about my husband's blogging style (usually those who disagree with him) and make fun of it. To those bloggers who feel this way, I have a challenge for you. Try being Instapundit for a while and see if you can achieve the following:

1) Keep up the sheer volume of posting daily to the tune of over 25 posts a day, perhaps more--basically blogging several times an hour. The New York Times suggests that some bloggers have heart attacks and feel stressed doing a lot less blogging than this (not that I believe this).

2) Keep up a daily average of 250,000 page views or more to your site all by yourself. That is, no daily diarists, no co-bloggers, nobody, just you. The one exception is a few times a year, you can get a few terrific guest bloggers like Professor Althouse and others to fill in for a week or so.

3) Keep up this level of interest without comments which increase page views because people keep checking back to see what others have said back to them and finally;

4) Keep this up year after year without complaining, getting upset or bothered, yelling at people, and simultaneously staying happy and doing a million other things that make the world a better place.

If you can do this, then I will eat my words and proclaim you blogger of the century. Otherwise, your criticisms are just hollow words.

Update: Katie Allison Granju agrees--it's not easy being Glenn.



Blogger Ed said...

Heh. Indeed.

11:15 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Thom said...

You forgot to mention:

5) Do all this while holding down a day job and having meaningful interaction with your family.

11:36 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Jeff Y said...

Don't you hate it when people assume simple things are easy to do? Simple isn't necessarily easy. Instapundit.com is the first and last page I check every day because the Instapundit has an excellent eye for news, an eye that accords with my own. I admit it: I'm a free rider on the Instapundit Gremlin. It's cramped on the back seat, too.

12:17 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger lovemelikeareptile said...

Wow-- A Tammy Wynette woman

12:53 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Kim du Toit said...

Actually, I kinda miss the old days, when Instapundit used to give a little more commentary with his links than he does now. In an Intarwebz filled with morons, it's nice to see an actual, you know, intellect at work.

What I want to know is how he manages to read the entire Internet every day.

2:13 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger wahsatchmo said...

Add to that the fact that Glenn actually reads his email, and occasionally responds when it tickles his fancy. I emailed a throwaway joke/comment to him once, and he took the time to joke back.

I have to compliment Dr. Helen here, as well - she's great about checking her email and responding back.

Even the sometimes crotchety Instapunk, who has been known to do a little Glenn-bashing, called him "a first-class mind". Glenn is quick and incisive. A modicum of words is all he needs to make his point, and make it well.

2:34 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

The amount of time Glenn must put in reading to find material to post plus the posting must be a lot, plus his other writings, family activities (I hope), professorship, etc. And, he claims to work out.

With apologies to you, Helen, Glenn's blog is my first check everyday. That's how I found yours.

3:29 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Henry Cate said...

After two and a half years my blog has gotten up to about 400 hits a day. I'm so amazed that Glen is pulling in 250,000 hits a day.

For the most part it is best to ignore the critics. There is a say "Those who can't do, teach." In this situation it would be "Those who can't do, complain."

Helen, keep up the good work. And tell Glenn he is doing a great job.

3:37 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

To all,

Thanks for all the nice compliments. It's good to hear some postitive feedback once a while as well as criticism!

4:08 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger PunditJoe said...

I have always been amazed with Instapundit.com - Glenn has a full time job, family, tons of interests, etc… and he still has time to review massive amounts of data throughout the day and make witty and insightful comments.

I don’t have near the responsibilities that Glenn has and I find it difficult to make posts on a regular basis let alone a whole mess of them in one day!

I just assumed he was some sort of blogging cyborg from the future - stronger, faster, better! (insert Six Million Dollar Man sound effect: Nananananana!)

4:20 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger SayUncle said...

Still trying to figure out he managed to continue to blog when I know full well he was at the range with me! I mean, that can't be easy.


4:47 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Larry Thompson said...

If it was easy, we'd all be as famous as Instapundit. It was the first blog I started reading and still read it first. It is just a sign of fame that he now has detractors.

And, we like Dr. Helen, too.

5:48 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger David Damore said...

Dear Dr. Helen,
Google Reader has these stats as my trends for Instapundit. Hope these line up when posted.

46 posts/items a day
Have read 99% of them.

Subscription Items/Day % Read
Instapundit.com (v.2) Go to homepage 46.1 99%

It is super hard to have interesting articles and to have thoughtful analysis of articles blogged about. When I do simple posts they always seem to take about 15 minutes each. The fruits of this labor is a blog that gets 10 or fewer hits per day. There are times when my posts get in the top 5 results on Google [usually a very specific search at that].

Volume, quality and success are very hard to achieve. Glenn has done a marvelous job.

Gonna make some room for comments from other folks. Mine are running long.

5:59 PM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing "wrong" with the Instapundit site is the fact Glenn is remarkable at what he is able to accomplish. I couldn't drink enough protein shakes or carry around enough bottles of oxygen to even attempt to keep up. When one is very good at what (all) they do, they make it look easy.

6:27 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

David Damore,

Wow, 46 posts a day, I guess I underestimated. Thanks for pointing that out.

6:47 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Bob Sorensen said...

I put pressure on myself to do three times a week. For my small audience, that's plenty.

6:55 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Will said...

To be honest I don't see how Glenn does what he does on his blog (despite his critics it is quality work, and he does indeed post often) and yet continues to have a life. I have a lot of respect for him--and you as well.

7:44 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I'd been a blog commenter for 7 years before I decided to start one, and honestly, commenting is far easier than blogging. I still don't blog very well, but I've been reading Insty for forever.

It's his succinct style that I like because I don't have to wade thru tedious words and explanations and story background. He expects his audience to either know it or find it out if they're curious enough.

He's the Teaser King; says just enough to make me wanna click.

9:20 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger vanderleun said...

Couldn't agree more. I've worked with 100s of writers and the biggest problem all around is getting them to say less.

To do what Glenn does is far, far, far from easy, and not at all that simple.

Simple minds like to think so, but they that's why they are simple minds.

10:33 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger vanderleun said...

Oh, yeah, and the quantity thing over time... over a long time.... with quality consistent is the key.

I sometimes try it but I am much too verbose and get tired of it by about ten posts in.

Besides, why try to be Glenn when there already is Glenn?

10:35 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Sebastian said...

It's easy to say it's easy when you don't have to do it. I generally find it easier to just spew whatever random thought triggers my synapses, rather than find interesting things to link to.

1:20 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

And he's got a pretty, intelligent, reasonable wife. Although, she's probably just oppressed by the patriarchy (sarcasm, just in case it was tough to tell in written form).

Three blogs I check every day: Instapundit, MarginalRevolution, and MeganMcardle. Dr. Helen would be every day if web sense didn't block it. Here's to both of you keeping up the good work

3:24 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Joan wrote: "commenting is far easier than blogging." Sound statement! It is much easier responding to a topic or a post than it is to create one.

Glenn and Helen are part of my morning and lunch routine, a very sane and helpful part. So thanks, the both of you!


9:28 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... basking in the warm glow of vicarious achievement.

10:37 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... a true Pia Zadora of second-hand worthiness.

10:38 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

. . . sulking in the shade of anonymity

10:48 AM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... luxuriating in the bosom of hypocrisy, not publishing your full name and address

10:54 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Come on, we all know you are "Mary"--our resident troll. It's pretty easy to figure out. Please stop the petty games.

10:59 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Serket said...

David Damore: I can relate. My blog is about movies and trivia so I spend a lot of time with it. I have to watch the movie, and then seek out trivia about it and then write my views. I tend to post in clumps, because I am not able to get online everyday, but I average about .8 to .9 posts per day. I have been doing this for about 18 months and still get less than 10 visitors per day! I have also thought before that Glenn sure manages to do a lot of stuff. I don't think anyone mentioned the podcasts that he and Helen do together also and he is also involved with Pajamas Media and Pork Busters.

2:03 PM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger vanderleun said...

Just for the record, I wrote this telling lyric and sent it off to Glen:

"Bloggin under a small sign.
Been small since I began to scrawl.
If it wasn't for Insty hits,
Wouldn't have no hits at all!"

8:16 PM, May 01, 2008  
Blogger observer said...

It IS a LOT harder to do brief posts that actually mean something than longer ones! I have several blogs...and brevity is NOT my strong suit. Too difficult for me to just state my piece and shut up in 250 words or less. :)

In other words, anyone who disses Glenn for having mastered the art of the short blog post--and still have the readership he does--deserves an award.


12:23 PM, May 02, 2008  
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