What type of blogger/self-publisher are you?

Some questions to ask to help you determine one blog from the next. This is a short quiz to spare you from having to read the 5,000-word essay on Presenting Blogger Archetypes that I wrote in March 2005. This essay replaces one poorly titled The Four Questions— as there are now five questions for five categories.

1. Do you generally write for the public interest?

If no, you’re a singer. Just like Walt Whitman or Isaac Bashevis or Paul Simon and his collaborator Art what’s-his-name. Or the majority of bloggers, singing their stories. Otherwise, if you try to write for a public interest, continue…

2. Are you already well known outside your online personality?

If yes, you’re a ringer. You’re slumming it online, and we don’t care any more about you now. That means you, BlogMaverick, you overexposed “loudmouth-entrepreneur.” And you, Becker-Posner, you ponderous Nobel Laureate and Federal Judge! So, for the rest us wee ones who strive for credibility and attention…

3. Do you focus on a narrow set of subjects, or do you comment on any news of the day (often multiple times)?

If the former, you’re a stringer. I like you. You tell me something new that you care about, and you make me want to care about, too. If you want to call yourself a Stand-Alone Journalist, like Chris Nolan does. Chris is a professional journalist, too, and to her credit she doesn’t slum it by writing on just any random subject. Which brings us too…

4. Which is more important, providing the larger context for a story, or advocating a political viewpoint?

The former are the fingers. The latter are wingers. Some days it’s tough to tell the difference. The fingers are more reliable on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes you have to visit the wingers to see what rumors the upstanding fingers won’t touch yet.

5. Does it even matter what you write?

Maybe you’ve gone and created a blog specifically for niche marketing (see weblogsinc); readers will come to you for the ads. Or maybe you’ve grown popular enough, that people come to you just because they don’t want to know what other people are writing. Either way, it doesn’t matter what you in fact write, so you can fling up whatever you feel like. You’re a flinger.


That’s all there is. They’re just archetypes. You may find yourself to be a mix of them currently. I just suspect that being aware of these may help you be able to meet your readers’ expectations better.

What do I see myself as? A stringer, obviously. My beat is constructing informative viewpoints, the study of how ideas are structured, promoted, and agreed upon. Oh, I could say, “politics and the media,” but doesn’t everybody do that? Well, I would, but I don’t have time at all for every two-bit political/media story that zips over cyberspace. That’s for other people to do. I don’t even have time to write about me personally, though I do write many first-person accounts, if they meet my themes.

Matthis Gutfeldt Wollensack of Bern, Switzerland noted the noted the similarity to the Mike Reed’s wickedly funny Flame Warriors, illustrations of many classic Internet types from online forums. There’s now eighty-nine of them! Wow. (I see myself sometimes as the archivist or the big cat.) I’ve been thinking about engaging Mike to draw these five, but the Civilities cash flow is non-existent. But you never know.