When it’s working, there’s a useful interaction between my blog posts, my longer work, and Twitter. I use Twitter and the blog to promote longer work and to figure out what the broader themes are. I’ll sometimes plug away at the blog and realize I have five different examples that can be woven together into a longer story or see an idea knocked down or reshaped by the people who are reading. If I have an embryonic story, I can put it out there and see whether it survives the scrutiny, use both the blog and Twitter to test things out. And I’ll push blog posts or longer pieces out onto Twitter, to make sure the people who I’d like to read it are reading it.
I have this comments section, which I loathe, on my blog. This guy, Sam Graham-Felsen, a former Obama campaign blogger, recently described it as the worst comments section on the entire Internet, which I would totally go with. I’ve been asking Politico for two years to switch it off. It’s just depressing. I initially fought really hard to have comments open. Because in New York politics, commenters were informed, real people who wanted to have a conversation that was informed by actual knowledge of people and places and things. But national politics is chimerical. People have opinions totally unmoored in reality and scream at each other all day. A good comment section is a reason to refresh and see what the conversation’s doing. Mine, it’s such a sewer. It’s graffiti. But we have finally switched to a comments system that links users to their Facebook profiles, and I hope that’ll improve it.
I ♥ Pols
I like having official sources and good relationships with the press offices, but also I don’t care that much because I have this outlet that’s pretty much mine. Ultimately if I screw something up, it’s my fault. It’s an institutional problem, but it’s much more my fault. I have freedom, enough rope to hang myself. It’s harder to call an editor and scream about what I did. It’s like, look, he hanged himself, yell at him. At times I am a massive irritant to campaigns, which is fine. I’m of the view it’s better to be feared than loved. I like, I love, politicians and political operatives. They are people I enjoy talking to. There’s a class of political reporter who, I think, hates politicians and thinks they’re all criminals and thinks it’s a reporter’s job to expose them, and there’s another class who thinks they’re all heroes. The job used to be to construct these hero narratives. I really like politicians and politics and think it’s an honorable calling. But not that honorable.