Blogger Andrew Sullivan has announced yet again that he’s quitting blogging.
I’m not convinced he’s really gone–Michelle Malkin has already pointed out how he has done this before–but let’s assume it’s true.
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) January 28, 2015
I first noticed Andrew Sullivan during his two visits to my college while I was a student at Claremont McKenna.
I think it’s fair to say that I really started thinking seriously about blogging after I saw his speeches. (I criticized the Athenaeum for repeatedly bringing him to campus but it was pretty awesome when he talked about my Elizabeth O’Bagy story.)
Here’s what I learned from watching him over the years.
1. Don’t gate your content. By gating content Sullivan deprive himself of the kind of spontaneity that comes from an engaged readership. He surrounded himself with sycophants and became less interesting as a result. He traded on his television interviews to stay relevant but it didn’t really work.
2. Pick principled fights. Sullivan was willing to defend ideas that he knew were unpopular among his tribe — the liberals — and they hated him for it but people took note of his intellectual courage and appreciated him for it.
3. Don’t be afraid to buck the trend. Sure, Andrew Sullivan believed some crazy things — I believe his HIV/AIDS status or or his love of pot or his Britishness or just being weird — but so what? Sometimes crazy people can be right, too.
4. Put your audience first and yes, love them. By putting his audience first Sullivan brought in over $1 million annually, according to this report. He understood that once news can be produced around the clock it should be produced around the clock. Sullivan also knew that you should hang out and enjoy your time with your audience.
5. Bet on your trend or fall victim to it. Sullivan was one of the first bloggers. He worked alone from 2000-2006 before other sites or newspapers started taking him seriously. The world beat a path to his door and offered him jobs at dying publications.