Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Interview with blogger East Village Idiot (Part 1 of many)

I got a chance to interview the coolest blogger this side of 14th street and 3rd Ave. His name is Chris, of the blog East Village Idiot. And some surprising things popped up during this interview!

Believe it or not there will be a Part Two. (My recording device stopped mid-interview--yeah, super professional of me, right? There was too much to talk about.) Our story begins in a land called "The East Village" at a pizzeria shop near 14th street:

Quest: So you originally grew up where?

Chris: In the smallest state with the longest name, Rhode Island; the official state name is the "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."

Quest: In your "About" section, on your blog, you state your point of the blog is, "To ramble incoherently about the world around us. And occasionally, make people laugh in the process." So right off the bat, you have an immediate connection to comedy. Care to elaborate?

Chris: I always thought of myself as less of a comedian and more of humorist. I think there's a distinct difference between being a comedian and being a humorist. A humorist is funny on paper. A lot of my friends say, 'You're horribly unfunny in person. You're really funny on your blog. Why can't you be that funny in person?' I think my tone comes across better in writing than it does verbally. People can interpret [my writing] in different ways. I think I'm very sarcastic. I don't know if that necessarily comes across. The ambiguity actually works to my advantage.

I remember I wrote a piece when the "Don Imus thing" happened. It was titled "Five quotes from other radio personalities." [These quotes were] some really offensive things that famous radio personalities like Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Neal Boortz had said. These guys are all whack-o far right radio talk-show hosts. They're carried on ten times more stations than Don Imus is and they're still employed. I just put the quotes up. I put no commentary behind it all. Probably about 100,000 people visited my blog just for that post. It was on Digg.com and several other social bookmarking sites. Plus, there were about 70-80 people who actually commented on the blog.

The responses varied from:

"Oh yeah, I totally agree with you. These people should be fired."

to

"Oh, yeah I totally agree with you. Don Imus shouldn't have been fired."

I didn't make a judgment one way or the other. It wasn't meant to be funny, but it served to vent my frustrations at the time. That happens on occasion: I'll have a post that's not meant to be funny at all, but instead though-provoking. It doesn't happen too often, but when it does sometimes [as a blogger] you get more attention.

[To see the quotes that Chris refers to, see this [link to A.B.W's blog]

I always ask myself. Why are people keep coming back and reading? I must be doing something right. It's really strange, too. I received an IM the other day from a reader. She started with, 'My friends and I were debating something on your blog.' Now I'm thinking about how odd this situation is. Let's put this in perspective: This total stranger is talking with her other friends, who are also total strangers, about something that I wrote. Two years of blogging and it still hasn't processed in my mind that people do [add my blog posts into their daily conversation.] People actually consider what I say. I never meant for it to get to the point that it has. I am very appreciative of the fact that it has gotten to this point. It was just meant to be tongue-in-cheek stuff for my friends to read. And then all of a sudden it blew up!

Quest: What was the date your blog 'blew up'? What's the timeline from 'beginning blogger' to 'blogger phenom'? Explain how it worked for you.

Chris: The first six months you have no audience. If you keep up your consistency, if you keep being funny, and you keep putting effort into it, it'll pay off.

The post that got me off the ground (and I always credit my friend for this) came out of the blue. My friend who lives in Washington D.C. called me drunk at midnight on a weeknight. She says to me, "My friend is driving and we're lost." I say, "Okay where are you?" She communicated where they were. So I told her, 'No, you're going the wrong way. You need to turn around.' After this whole conversation took place, I mapped it out on a map to emphasize the fact that they double-backed twice and then drove halfway the other way across town. And the website, Wonkette picked it up.

Quest: Wonkette?

Chris: It's a political blog/website owned by Gawker media. It was started by Ana Marie Cox, who works for Time Magazine right now. All of the sudden out of nowhere one day that post got linked. Every now and then I check to see how many people are reading the blog. All of a sudden I go from having 30 of my closest friends reading it once a day to 2,000 people. I remember asking myself, 'Why have 2,000 people visited today? Who are these people?'

Quest: How do you manage to multiple posts in one day? How many ideas? I notice you don't do long drawn out post. At most 200-500 words. You use a lot of pictures/images. What is your M.O. when it comes to your posts?

Chris: Literally, an idea will pop into my head or I'll see something on the street, and I'll say, "I have to blog that!" or "I'm taking a picture! It's going in the blog." My camera phone kinda need an upgrade. The pictures are kinda grainy. But for now, it does the job. Next investment: New camera.

With regards to posts, what I try to do is if I have ideas that aren't timely, I'll store them for a slow day. I post during the day, but I usually don't write during the day. (I'm working during the day, obviously I'm not writing.) Unless, it's something brief that I really want to profile and it's very timely and specific to that day--then during lunchtime I'll throw it up.

Other than that, on Saturdays or Sundays, you'll find me either at my couch at home or at Starbux sitting down for an hour or two pumping out a few ideas.


[ Part 2 is continued in this next post. ]

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7 comments:

Jayne said...

Fantastic interview! It's great to hear what other bloggers get up to, and to hear stories of success. It inspires those of us who are still hoping to get that break that starts to snowball traffic our way.

Love the blog, by the way. :)

Ha Ha Sound said...

Nice interview. Mr. EV Idiot is handling his success well. =+)

Martha said...

It took me a while to get here, but I'm glad I did. Interesting reading, and quite an interview. I'll definitely be back for more!

drips of paint said...

just drop in to say hi.....

will follow up with part 2

god speed!

Cidersweet said...

Yes, will def. be back for more. I subscribed (to read your posts via yahoo! alerts) @ last, Lucy!

paddy said...

I'll have to check it out. Thanks
Y;-) Paddy

Sidhusaaheb said...

Ah...I suppose I am a bit of a humorist though, or so I would like to imagine! Possibly, though, I am not funny on paper either.

:D