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If you’re not familiar with Dooce View definition in a new window’s new(ish) assistant, Tyrant, and his Verizon-sponsored Flickr feed, Uploads from TyrantCam, it’s time to subscribe. Here’s why: after all of these years, TyrantCam is the closest we have ever gotten, and probably the closest we will ever get, to an unvarnished, third-party look inside the Blurbodoocery.

Dooce and Jon put together a slick video about the remodeling of their office that Verizon is sponsoring for them. It’s professionally done, and there are some interesting things about it; for example, they didn’t embed it with a third party video hosting site — it is hosted directly from a site for which they are paying. I assume this has to do with the commercial aspects of the video and its relationship with Verizon, though I think they do a good job of making it not feel like one, in part by making the relationship so explicit (via graphics, etc.) that you cannot take issue with it without feeling like a douchebag. Also, there are impressive technical things about it, e.g. they use graphics, text, and a dooce logo on the bottom right corner of the screen, and that makes me think that they had to buy new software to make the video.

But way more interesting for me than the actual video made for Verizon is the TyrantCam behind the scenes look at it (video posted below) because:

  1. What the FUCK camera is Jon using? Did they BUY that thing? Is Verizon paying them THAT much for this? Holy HELL are they making a lot of money, in that case, because that is a full on TV rig that dude is using;
  2. Even if they didn’t buy that thing, how much do you think it costs to rent that thing? Plus all the sound equipment? Wow! Man! This must be a big gig! Did Verizon demand this? My mind is racing! All the questions! Because maybe Verizon did not request it but Heather and Jon thought they should make this a really professional looking product because they wanted to get more gigs in the future;
  3. Yeah, that might be it, more gigs in the future, more TV gigs in the future! They want more TV gigs in the future! But wait, my secret tip that I got was that the reason she’s not doing Momversation videos anymore was because even though she told me, twice now, that she was going to have a TV show with HGTV at some point, she’s not actually going to have a show with them, but was only hired to drive web traffic, but still has an exclusive deal, and cannot appear on other TV stuff. So wait, if that’s true, who is she trying to convince that she should be on TV? Maybe she’s trying to convince HGTV? IS THAT IT? OMG!

Do you see?

Now don’t get me wrong: there’s no such thing as unmediated discourse that comes out of the Blurbodoocery. But the more meta View definition in a new window-content that is produced looking at Il Duce View definition in a new window from the outside, the more difficult it is going to be to run it through the Gaussian Blur, and the more we can find out about what is really going on. Now, maybe that’s not what they want, but that IS what their fans want, so I think that TyrantCam might end up with more exposure than their interested in, but it will also end up in more loyalty from their fanbase.

What say you?

vintage dooce

A few weeks ago we were talking about Heather Armstrong View definition in a new window and how her blog has changed over time.

Some changes happen over the course of a career, particularly as over the course of a career of a blogger, because people change as they age and the way they see the world changes. Also, when you write every day, your writing changes. It’s inevitable.

But usually those kinds of things are positive changes and are not likely to have a negative effect on your readership. What we were discussing a few weeks back was how to retain your readership in the face of major life changes that might land you in totally different circumstances from the ones in which you found yourself when you originally charmed your readership. And if your readers can no longer relate to you, how are you going to keep them?

Success for Heather Armstrong is kind of a trap in this way. Her fans say they want her to succeed but in a way they don’t, because the more that she does, the less they can relate to her. The more that she shows them the trappings of her success, the more they begin to resent her and the less they feel she can relate to her. But the thing is, why shouldn’t she share with them how she has been able to turn her blogging into a successful venture? And also, if her business is to make her life into a blog, then how is she going to possibly continue without showing what her life looks like now, new houses, Twitter parties, HGTV sponsored events and all?

I suggested a few weeks ago that what I thought she needed to do was to start posting the things that she didn’t think she should put on the internet on the internet. Like she did in the old days, before she was famous. Maybe those things don’t have to do with postpartum depression anymore, or maybe she cannot say them about her family anymore, but maybe there are still some things that she can say or do that are vintage Dooce View definition in a new window that still have that vintage Dooce flavor, that remind us why she became who she is. And I wanted to post this today, because she’s done just that a few times lately and it’s really made me feel like there is a way out, or to transform, even once you reach that level. That even if you feel like you’ve painted yourself into a corner, if you are still willing to take chances, you can still do things that are new, if you want, and I think that Dooce is thinking about doing just that, based on a few things she’s done lately, and that I’m hoping she’ll expand into her blog as well. For example, this tweet, which infuriated several of her followers, but was also retweeted by 67 people:

vintage dooce

Why am I applauding this? Particularly when it led to an inevitable unfollow threat and subsequent pile-on by Dooce fans of the unfollow-threatener? Because 1) it’s funny, and 2) it’s vintage Dooce. It’s not safe funny. It’s not all-caps, hyperbole funny. And it’s not a crazy threat against a corporation or throwing Twitter weight around. It’s just Dooce making a politically incorrect joke. It’s a side of her she has not let us see for a while, and I think it would be nice for us to get reacquainted.

Another example, from the recent flare up of the sparklecorn View definition in a new window controversy, Dooce made an appearance on behalf of Mike Monteiro (from his Flickr Photostream:

This is Dooce having fun and being funny. Not worrying about corporations, or being Dooce the brand. Just being funny.

I like it. And I think it’s good for her brand, too.

What do you guys think?

Glossary terms: unfollow threat View definition in a new window

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dooce moving

Well, the three-part update on Dooce View definition in a new window’s housing situation is now complete, and it looks like the Armstrongs will indeed be moving, just as we suspected, even if HGTV is not (immediately) involved. I say immediately here because, at the end of the fourth post, Dooce made a reference to the “opportunities” that are offered by this new house, and that makes me wonder about things . . . even if the pictures she posted make it look like a lot of renovation has already been done on this particular house and I’m not sure how much HGTV is necessarily going to need to come in and do. First of all, congratulations to the Armstrongs on their home purchase because, schadenfreude aside, the process of a home purchase is a bitch and I don’t care who you are, it sucks. It’s nice to have it over with — we can all set aside our jealousy over the beautiful home for a moment and allow that it probably was a stressful time for the whole family, given that home buying under the best of circumstances always is. And at the very least, this explains why she was acting like getting bumped from CBS This Morning was such a big deal, because if I flew to New York in the middle of my house being closed and was relying on a hotel fax machine, and then found out that I was bumped, you bet your ass I would have made it seem like a big deal. Of course, I also would have said — you know, I know it seems like a stupid thing to complain about, but we are in the middle of buying a house, so that people would know why I was acting like a diva.

Anyway. Some thoughts.

A three part dénouement seems to have ruffled some feathers. I (yes, me! WTF?!) received some complaints via email about how Dooce set up last Thursday (July 1) as the day she would finally be able to reveal the big news she hadn’t been able to talk about for so long, and then she waited until late in the day to post. When she finally did post, it was only one part in the series. Then, she posted a second post in the series, before a holiday weekend. Finally, the last in the series was yesterday, where she revealed that they did get the house, albeit with some accompanying drama and all-cap letters, and this news was greeted with the lackluster reception of 163 comments. Personally, I’ve never had 163 comments on a post, but for Dooce, that’s nothing — her comments have been far fewer in number since she opened her Community site, since a lot of the conversation that used to take place in her comment section now takes place over there, but still 163 comments for such big news is not a huge reception. And people emailing ME, of all people, to complain about what they think are pageview tactics, is an odd twist, I have to say, because . . . uh, I don’t know. It just is.

Regarding pageview tactics. Listen, we all do it. My new glossary — I hope, I think! it’s good content, but I’d be lying if it’s not a pageview tactic. Even if my income is not based on pageviews anymore, it helps me to get more pageviews. It helps my site look more successful to advertisers. If you click on those glossary pages, it helps me. So, you try to balance out the pageview tactic with what is in it for the reader. Maybe this wasn’t worth 3 parts is what you’re saying . . . because the news was that they got the house, and that’s what you wanted to know, SPILL IT, ARMSTRONG. Point taken. But it does sound like a lot of stress, so maybe it wasn’t so much a pageview tactic as it was a desire to be able to have blogged everything that happened as it had happened, but it sounded forced because it was after the fact. This is the problem with blogging once you become BIG. Once you become BIG, and you cannot blog the same way you are used to doing things, things get tougher, and I’m thinking this might be one of her problems — because, yes, maybe it was a pageview tactic, but I am thinking it was more like she was wanting so badly to bitch to her audience about what happened during the time that it happened, and when she finally could bitch to them, it came out like she was just trying to get them to run up pageviews because it was three posts all in a row.

Which brings me to my next point . . . can you move on up without losing touch?

This is what I hear about Heather Armstrong View definition in a new window and The Armstrongs lately: they are out of touch, they have lost touch with reality and/or her readership. They don’t know what regular people are like anymore. While I think it’s possible she has lost touch with her readership, I find it hard to believe that she’s lost touch with regular people. She still lives in a regular world, with regular people. They may have more money than they used to have, but they are not so famous outside of the internet that they cannot function like normal people. The problem is that she built a readership of people identifying with her when she was unemployed and living in her parents basement, and now she’s running an empire, and some of those people are still living in their parents’ basements. And now they resent her, because in their minds, they put her where she is.

So now what? Because she cannot really just leave them behind, right? Because they did, in a way, put her there. But on the other hand, why should she have to limit herself or feel beholden to that? Why shouldn’t she be able to enjoy what she has built? I don’t have any answers here. I am trying to figure out what I would do if I were in her place.

Glossary terms: Penelope Trunk View definition in a new window, Dooce

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