July 28, 2006

Interviews With Bloggers Part 17: KaneCitizen of "News on the March"

The Bella Rossa Interview With KaneCitizen of "News on the March."

KaneCitizen enjoys the dubious distinction of being the first blogger ever to place me on his blogroll, and recalls that he found me on the Chicago Bloggers webring. He writes about "
politics, movies, books, articles, celebrity inconsequentialities, what I had/want to have for dinner, etc." His book and movie mentions were compelling enough to prompt me to add a few things to my Amazon wish list.

Film_reelBELLA: What current books, music, tv, movies, hobbies, sports, etc., are currently holding your interest?

KANECITIZEN: Let’s see. Right now I’m partway through Darknet: Hollywood’s War Against the Digital Generation by J.D. Lasica, which I really like a lot. After that I’m going to read The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, and then hopefully I’ll get back to The Metaphysical Club, which I started about six(?) months ago but from which I keep getting distracted. Before that, I really enjoyed Everything Bad Is Good for You by Steven Johnson.

TV is kind of slow due to the summer months, but I always love C-Span.

As far as movies go, I have fallen head over heels for Netflix in the
past nine months or so. I love the searchability and list features. We
(my girlfriend and I) have been going through some TV series (like
Canada’s The Newsroom), and I have more lined up. We’ve seen some real good documentaries – Microcosmos, for instance, about the world of bugs, and Sin Cities, about the naughtiness in Berlin and Paris between the wars. Can’t wait for Battlestar Galactica Season 2.5!

always been kind of sketchy on just what constitutes a hobby, but we’ve
been doing a ton of fix-up around the house and yard. Does that count?
Or are hobbies what you do when you want to do something other than

I don’t get sports.

BELLA: How would you describe your blog?

KANECITIZEN: I like to think that it is pretty eclectic. I
don’t feel the need to follow a single theme, nor would I be interested
in following a single theme. And too, I like pointing people towards
interesting ideas or pieces of information or things that they might
appreciate, rather than writing a big essay or
sharing my feelings or something every time I post. I like doing that
with my friends in real life (pre-Web, I used to cut out or copy
newspaper or magazine articles and send them to people whom I thought
might like them) and I guess my blog is an extension of that.

Writing_journal_3BELLA: Why
do you blog? What was your original goal or intention when you started,
and has that changed with time? Is your blog a means to an end (finding
work, developing creative ideas, making money, meeting people), or does
it exist for its own sake?

KANECITIZEN: A friend of mine told me she was starting a blog,
and a few weeks later I was like “Why not?” and off I went. As I said
above, I think the blog is an extension of my enjoyment of pointing
people towards facts or ideas or works of art or whatever that they
might not have been exposed to otherwise.

BELLA: Before
the advent of blogging, was there any similar activity that you
enjoyed, that served a similar purpose (keeping a written journal,
participating in newsgroups, e
tc.)? If so, how is blogging different from/better than that previous activity?

KANECITIZEN: I never really did any of that stuff, except
for (as noted above) sending everybody copies of magazine articles
(once in a while whole Xeroxed chapters of books) that I thought they’d

BELLA: Is there one particular post that you think exemplifies your work, or represents your best writing?

KANECITIZEN: Hmmm… Try this one out.

How often do you Google yourself, check yourself on Technorati, see how
many people link to or bookmark you, and/or pore over your referral
logs and visitor statistics?

KANE CITIZEN: Google – Rarely; Technorati – Monthly(?); Referral log - Daily.

Is there one particular post that garnered you an atypically large
reader response or number of referrals from search engines? If so, why
do you think that is?

Yes! It was my post about Trutech DVD/VHS players and how much they suck!
(And Trutech does suck, by the way. Bastards.) That one probably
generated hundreds of hits, and they still come in from time to time.

Have you ever noticed funny, unlikely referral links from a search
engines that, while a logical word-for-word match with stuff you have
on your blog, are puzzling?

Question_markKANECITIZEN: I
get hits once in a while from countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria,
Yemen, etc. for guys searching for porn, and combinations of innocuous
words (“girl,” “mom,” “job,” etc.) seem to get high search engine hits
over there. My theory is that the non-freedom-oriented governments in
countries such as those automatically filter out the horrible filthy smut and I’m what’s left.

BELLA: What are some of your favorite, "must-read" blogs? What keeps you going back again and again?

KANECITIZEN: I like Boing Boing, for its all-over-the-place nature; Two Blowhards,
because they discuss all sorts of things having to do with history,
politics, art, film, etc. that I enjoy (even though I don’t agree at
all with their views on immigration to the U.S.); Kottke always seems to find cool stuff to which to link; and AmbivaBlog, whom I like because she sees multiple sides of complicated issues and also just because I like her.

Have you ever totally lost interest in a blog that you once really enjoyed, and if so, why?

KANECITIZEN: Oh, maybe, but it usually goes the other way,
that I find something in passing that takes a while to capture my
interest, but once I’m on board I’m on board.

Many bloggers say that the best thing that's come of their blogging
experience is the connections they've made with people - meeting new
people and sometimes reconnecting with old friends. Has this been your

KANECITIZEN: Like I said, I like the concept of sharing
ideas and information with the self-selected interested. But as for
(e-)meeting people just for the sake of sociability… not my thing. I’m
an ISTJ.

Hand_writingBELLA: What kind of person is the likeliest reader of your blog? What would you hope they get out of reading you?

KANECITIZEN: Good question… Don’t know. How would you
classify yourself? I’d say people who have at least an intelligent
layman’s interest in some of the same things I am interested in
(history, news, tech and its impact on society, movies, music, books,
and other geekery) and who aren’t going to get their undies in a bunch
over seeing the muppets sing NWA or seeing an occasional
double-entendre about girls with big boobs.

Are there people in your life who don't "get the whole blog thing?" How
do you explain it to them without feeling as nerdy and defensive as I
usually do?

KANECITIZEN: I don’t share it with a ton of people – you
could count them on your fingers - and most are established netizens. I
would be just as nerdy and defensive as you, I just don’t put myself
into the position. My girlfriend sometimes doesn’t GTWBT but I love her
and she loves me, and she likes that I have things that I enjoy doing.

BELLA: What's your relationship with your readers? How much interaction do you encourage?

KANECITIZEN: Comments and linking are much-appreciated, and
after you asked for this interview I set up a new Yahoo addy –
NewsontheMarch *at* yahoo *dot* com.

BELLA: How much do you self-censor, knowing that your friends and family might be reading?

KANECITIZEN: I do a little bit, because I don’t want
anything to be taken the wrong way. Plus, I really don’t like being
mean, even to people I don’t know. I’d hate to have my blog be a
vehicle for making anyone feel bad. Except those guys at Trutech… They
can go f*ck themselves.

Have you ever heard yourself say something like "If you really cared
about me/were really interested in me, you'd look at my blog"? Is this
a fair thing to throw at, say, your sister, during an argument over who
gets the nicest drumstick at Thanksgiving?

KANECITIZEN: Don’t have a sister, don’t like turkey, can’t envision the situation where such a conversation would ever arise.

BELLA: Do you video blog? Would or will you? Are there any video blogs that you look at? What would you video blog about, if you did?

KANECITIZEN: Haven’t yet, but not out of the question.

Have you ever blogged something that later you regretted and/or deleted from your blog?

KANECITIZEN: Sometimes I fix typos, awkward grammar, and bad
links, but I can’t think of anything I intentionally posted and then
pulled down.

What are your thoughts on the phenomenon of "doocing," wherein someone
loses their job because of things they posted on a personal blog? Are
you careful to maintain a clear line between your online self and your
real world self?

KANECITIZEN: Quite careful. I have a fantastic job, I truly enjoy going into work each day, and I wouldn’t mix the two.

BELLA: Are you conscious of creating an online persona? How is that persona different from the real world you?

KANECITIZEN: Difficult to answer. Not that much different, I don’t think… Let me get some outside opinions on that and get back to you.

How long have you been online, and what kinds of things have you done online (chat rooms, message boards, games, aimless surfing, etc.)? How has this changed your life, for the better or worse?

KANECITIZEN: I’ve been online since around 1996 or so. I
used to play some trivia games, and I posted some things to some of the
AOL boards in the late 90s about globalization. (Pro-globalization,
that is. I wrote a real good post while watching the Seattle WTO riots
on TV about how Sam Adams & Co. at the much mis-analogized Boston
Tea Party would have been totally opposed to the goals of the protests,
and that all the protesters were doing was borrowing their tactics. I
got some good responses, and maybe that was my first taste of
proto-blogging.) Love to surf. Changed my life? Can’t say.

Do you think blogging is a viable way for people to make money? Have
you ever been able to earn any dough from your blog? If so, will you
give me some?

KANECITIZEN: I can’t think of how I would cash in on the
$$$, nor do I really care to, but I know there have been some book
deals that have arisen from the blogosphere. (Like a book deal is going
to keep them from being back at the unemployment office in 18 months.)
(Oops – Did I just say that? I only said I wanted to make sure I was
nice on my blog.)


BELLA: How long do you think you will continue to blog? What are the circumstances under which you can imagine yourself quitting?

KANECITIZEN: Only if it ever interfered significantly with things that were more important, which I don’t think it would.

BELLA: What's the coolest thing that's come out of your blogging experience?

KANECITIZEN: The opportunity to have a thought or learn a
fact and share it with whomever is interested to read it, whether
they’re some guy in Nebraska or Egypt or Manhattan, or a best-selling
author, or whatever. That, and this interview.

No comments: