Wow. I must say I impressed myself with that Run D.M.C. "Down with the King" paraphrase. Maybe I have a future as a songwriter.
In all honesty, that was the only pop culture reference to "two years ago" that I could think of. I didn't want to start with the cliched "Four score minus 78 years ago". But I digress ...
Anyway, The Serious Tip is officially two years old today. And, as many people who peruse the Internet know, two years is a long time for a blog. So instead of sharing what would be a completely biased The Serious Tip's Best of Year Two, I wanted to talk a little bit about how I started blogging. Think of this as one of those sitcom flashback episodes.
A long time ago (I think it was sometime near August 2006), in a land not so far away (depending on where you live), I was listening to ESPN Radio. Now I'm not an avid sports radio listener, but I was driving and needed some variety. So I tuned in to the local ESPN Radio channel. On the air at the time was a show featuring Doug Gottlieb and some other guy, not sure who, but it's not important (maybe an avid ESPN Radio listener can fill in the details there). After discussing the news of the day, Gottlieb began to describe his daily routine, how he learned his news and how he figured out what was going to drive his topics of the day. During his description, he mentioned Deadspin.com. Always curious about new websites, I scribbled "Deadspin.com" on a receipt I had crumpled in a cup holder. Little did I know I was about to totally change my sports-viewing experience.
Like seemingly thousands of other sports fans, I found Deadspin.com in late 2006. Also like thousands upon thousands of other sports fans, I read some of the blogs Deadspin.com linked to and thought, "That looks fun. I wonder if I can do that?". Then one day Deadspin.com linked to Jenn Sterger's blog. No offense to Jenn (who I have met a few times and who seems nice, even if I maybe the only blogger who has wanted to but haven't had the chance to interview her), but after reading her blog, I knew I could blog. Not that I thought I was a better writer than Jenn, but all her blog was was her thoughts on sports. Well, I had thoughts on sports too, so I figured I should be able to pull off this blogging thing. And so it began.
My first post: Day One: Growin' All Up In The Ghetto
Way back when I first started, I had no idea where I wanted to go with The Serious Tip. With a name like The Serious Tip, I knew I could go anywhere. Should I write only about sports? What about some of my other interests, like music or politics? And if I was going to write about sports, should I keep it team-centric and just write about the Mets, Noles, Knicks, or the (then Devil) Rays? I was lost. So I did what I think most bloggers do: write other bloggers.
The best advice I received about blogging came not from Will Leitch or The Big Lead or any other the other major sports blog writers, but from Chip Wesley of Thunder Matt's Saloon. In a response to my email query, Chip gave me a few great pointers:
- Blaze your own trail: "Instead of rehashing the same stuff the other sites are doing (and doing a better job at it as well), we try to blaze our own trail. And if we lose some people with a salute to Freddie Mercury, so be it."
- Provide original content: "So many people start up a blog where 75% of their content becomes nothing but quotes from other people's sites or movie clips from YouTube."
- Keep the site fresh: "So many blogs will post content regularly for a few months and then just stop for weeks at a time without posting anything."
So that's about what I have tried to do. Of course, when I first started I forwarded quite a bit to Deadspin.com and The Big Lead.com to try and get a link and maybe even reel in a few re-occuring readers. But I quickly learned unless I geared my site for their readers, asking for a link was only at best good for a temporary spike in the numbers. Loyal readers to a small independent blog that talks about everything could only come through reaching out.
From reaching out via comments and emails, I like to think I've developed quite a few "Friends of The Serious Tip". For them I'd like to say "thanks". Their constant feedback, encouragement, and ideas have kept me going. And of course as I've gone on, several bloggers have even asked me to contribute on their blog, either through cameo or regular appearance. To me, that is the ultimate compliment and many thanks goes to these bloggers as well.
Sadly, as I mentioned before, blogs don't last forever. During two-year life of The Serious Tip, I've seen several great bloggers quit or go on indefinite hiatus (The Cav, Jack Cobra, among others). It is the sad reality of blogging. Like life, it moves on, and leaves dust of us all.
However, as many of you might know (at least those who read loyally, or at least on occasion), I've been recently working with a few sites of whom I have been long-time friends with: the aforementioned Thunder Matt's Saloon and The Afro-Squad (by the way, go vote for me for Afro-Squad Pimp of the Year). And be on the look-out for collaborations with several other bloggers in the upcoming weeks and months.
So even though The Serious Tip isn't the most successful blog in the world (yet), I'm still enjoying this. Blogging has given me an outlet to say what I want and write how I want. In conclusion, I'd like to paraphrase Joe Dirt in a quick interview with myself:
Me: So was the last two years a complete waste?
Myself and I: No one's really put it like that, but I don't think so. I've had good times, met cool people, cruised around, cranked some tunes. And blogged the best I could.
Hope you've enjoyed it.
Here's to loyal readers.