Not to jump the gun, but Uncommon Sense, three weeks after it was launched, should receive its 1,000th page view today. I don't have anything to base it on, but my guess is that in the blogosphere, 50 page views a day is not that much — especially when about a quarter of them come from me checking to make sure everything, like the picture of Charlize Theron, looks like it suppose to.
Nonetheless, I am pleased with how Uncommon Sense has turned out so far. My interest level remains high. There is always something to write about. The minimal feedback I have received has been positive. Most importantly, I am having fun.
Before launching Uncommon Sense, I had considered for several months what my blog would be about, to the point that thinking about it was delaying the launch. Even though my vision was unsettled, I made the plunge, figuring the best way to figure out what Uncommon Sense would be about is to just start writing.
I still don't know what Uncommon Sense is all about, but I keeping working on it. I'm making it up as a I go along. The freedom of it all is exhilarating.
A strength of the site, I think, is the varied topics I have addressed, from the death penalty to oppression in Cuba to this year's best movies. I want Uncommon Sense to be driven, at least in part, by events of the day. No common thread ties together what I write about, except that they are topics that interest me. Hopefully, that interest will result in the occasional insightful commentary on my part, and the occasional feedback from anyone who mistakenly or otherwise finds their way here. As the sole writer and editor for Uncommon Sense, the decision on what I post is mine alone. I enjoy the freedom that gives me, but I also feel a sense of responsibilty that will hopefully make this a site you keep visiting.
I have had some surprises, one being my interest in the plight of imprisoned journalists in Cuba. I was previously aware of how Fidel Castro cracked down on a fledging democracy by jailing independent journalists and other dissidents. What I was not aware of was how it easy it is , with this blog, to disseminate information about the situation and hopefully raise awareness. It is a topic I have become passionate about, which I hope comes through with my postings. I have plans for many more on this subject and the overall situation in Cuba.
Like a good newspaper, not everything is serious on Uncommon Sense. I am always looking to comment on or just provide a link to items that appeal to my sense of humor. Lately, Bill O'Reilly and the other "defenders of Christmas" have been useful for that.
Mine is not a "liberal" or "conservative" blog, although I'm sure you might think so if you disagree with me on a topic. I am not beholden to any viewpoint but my own. I am against the death penalty, but I am just as likely to support President Bush on the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. Maybe on occasion I will surprise you, and myself.
A complaint of some in the "mainstream media," in which I have made a decent living for the past 16 years, is that blogs don't meet the same "journalistic standards" so crucial to maintaing credibility with their audience. Generally, I think that is an over-generalization. And specificially, as it relates to Uncommon Sense, it's not true. I know no other way to practice journalism — which is what running a blog for me is — but to adhere to same standards like accuracy, fairness, etc.
One standard I currently have no plans to meet is making money off this blog.
(I digress, but if declining circulation and viewership numbers are any indication, maybe the MSM, which itself is slowing creeping into the blogosphere, is having trouble meeting those standards, too.)
For now, I plan to keep doing what I have been doing. Sure, I would like to improve my numbers, and I'm following tips I have read about how to build blog readership. But while I do love an audience for my work, that is not why I am doing this. Why I do this is to take advantage of an outlet for my views and opinions on topics that interest me and, more importantly, to have fun. My own self-satisfaction, not any "ratings," will always be my primary motivator.
Just like public television.
Like I said, the limited feedback I have received has been positive, and much appreciated. Especially gratifying have been the comments from friends who had encouraged me to start a blog and others who used to read my opinions in print. Uncommon Sense is as much a result of their encouragement as it is any "vision" I might have for this site.
However many page views I receive in the future, I promise to stay true their vision, and mine — whatever that turns out to be.