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Blogging for FUN and profit

Posted on 2009.01.28 at 21:22
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Take It To The Limit - The Eagles
It’s no accident the word “FUN” is capitalized while the word “profit” is not, but more on that in a bit. The big news is that I have a new job as a blogger. I herewith offer a link to my site and alternate identity as the one and only Chicago Skepticism Examiner!

If you cruise around the examiner.com web site, you’ll see that a great many bloggers call it home. Examiner runs blog networks in various major cities, including Chicago. The topics covered run the gamut from sports to politics to philosophy to you-name-it. Heck, they even have a dedicated Star Wars blogger!

When I first looked around the site, I saw that there were various topic openings that they were looking for people to apply for. None of them struck me as a good fit for me. But then I noticed that they were amenable to people suggesting new topics, so I put in for what I described as “Skepticism/Science.” They approved me and left the “Science” part out of my title. My blog comes under the heading of Religion and Spirituality, since that seemed to be the most appropriate choice, but in actuality, I expect my writings on religion to be a tiny percentage of what I will write about. Skepticism is a very broad concept, more descriptive of a way of thinking about things rather than specific subject matter. For example, some skeptical writers are focused on charlatans of spiritualism and mind reading tricks, while others are more concerned with pseudo-sciences and medical quackery. In actuality, pretty much any topic is fair game for skeptical analysis. Such an approach to thinking is a laudable goal for anyone of any philosophical orientation.

The folks at Examiner.com repeatedly remind all applicants that this job does NOT pay a living wage; that it will, at best, give you a bit of pocket money. One’s pay is directly linked to site traffic…


…It would please me no end if you would make my blog a regular stop in your web surfing regimen. They ask that examiners (as they refer to us) post at least 3 times a week, so there should be plenty to read in the weeks to come.

So why am I doing this? Isn’t that a lot of work for very little money? I’m doing it because it’s an entirely different sort of writing from what I do here on LiveJournal. First of all, I have to assume that my Examiner blogging is being read by complete strangers, so it needs to be composed in a very different voice from what you might read in this space. Also, I haven’t yet figured out how to work in photos of my cats, so there’s another difference. Most of all, though, I look at this as an opportunity to work on the discipline of writing on spec. There is a whole set of rules by which I need to tailor my entries over there – my entries need to be consistent with my title as a writer of skepticism. They need to follow the writing guidelines set down in their rule book. They need to appeal to an audience of strangers. And I need to crank out at least 3 entries a week. My feeling is that if I can become fluid and comfortable with that routine, I will have learned some things of value as my writing goes forward. I hope you enjoy it!


(Deleted comment)
charlesofcamden at 2009-01-29 03:35 (UTC) (Link)
You have posed one of the great, oft-asked, imponderable questions of our age, and I can offer no answer.
...and thank you!
(Anonymous) at 2009-01-29 08:54 (UTC) (Link)

New Kid In Town

Consider re-posting past blogs from LJ on Religion and Spirituality. Of course, some careful editing would be in order, but as I recall, there's a wealth of material there.
I'm sure you could find ways to be skeptical about cats.
-- ggreen
charlesofcamden at 2009-01-29 19:36 (UTC) (Link)

Re: New Kid In Town

Yeah, I plan on looking back through old posts to see whether there's anything usable there. One nice thing about this site is that I retain the copyright on any material I post, and I can re-use anything I've posted elsewhere, so long as there are no copyright issues.
moonlitrose9 at 2009-01-29 10:23 (UTC) (Link)
I shall be more than happy to read your blog.

If I were to log on to it several times a week would each be counted separately or all as one? If they are counted separately I shall log on to it frequently.

Good luck.

ps Just make sure that you post lots of pics of your cats on here!
charlesofcamden at 2009-01-29 19:41 (UTC) (Link)
To the best of my knowledge, each time you go to it counts as a separate hit. And as soon I can come up with a good skeptical topic for cats, you will see pix of my cats there!
Thank you!
(Anonymous) at 2009-01-30 04:29 (UTC) (Link)

Three Cool Cats

Suggested skeptical topics for cats:
1) Do cats go to heaven?
2) Do cats have a soul?
3) Is there a White House cat?
4) Does Rod Blagojevich have a cat?
5) Do cats speak with regional accents?
-- ggreen
(Anonymous) at 2009-02-01 03:45 (UTC) (Link)

Cat Mysticism

As you no doubt are aware, cats have long been considered to be mystical creatures.


Or if you want to hit 'em with both barrels (mysticism AND science), I suggest a treatise on Schrodinger's Cat.

charlesofcamden at 2009-02-01 06:37 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Cat Mysticism

I'm liking the notion of employing the tale of Schrodinger's poor, theoretical cat. Thank you!
(Anonymous) at 2009-02-01 15:00 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Cat Mysticism

--Interesting that Lewis Carroll understood the implications decades before Schrodinger.
--Perhaps it helps explain the whereabouts (and unwhereabouts) of Bunbutt's tail, eh?
--[segue]Now that you're a columnist (to use the anachronism) I suggest an occasional entry of Random Acts of Skepticism. Along the lines of the old Monday Moanin', or Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things. This sort of potpourri can find touchstones for your readership and create fodder for new columns.

charlesofcamden at 2009-02-01 18:42 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Cat Mysticism

This is all good stuff!
I had a thought that you might even want to blog for examiner.com yourself. I looked around at their roster of baseball bloggers and I see that there is already someone with the designation of "Detroit Baseball Examiner," and the have a blogger for Fantasy Baseball, but I don't believe they have a specifically stats-oriented blogger. Of course, you'd have to be willing to write at least 3 entries a week, but it strikes me as a possiblity for you.
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