What Is The Role Of A Blogger?

GeoThumbnail
One week from tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of when I started Oilpressure.com. I began this site at the urging of friends, because in their eyes – I knew more about IndyCar racing than anyone. I knew that certainly wasn’t true and I was very reluctant to do it. I began looking at the other IndyCar blog sites and my fears were confirmed. There were millions that knew way more than I did, and expressed it far more succinctly than I could. I quickly dismissed the idea of a blog, since I had no desire to make a complete fool of myself. A couple of weeks later, my brother suggested I start an IndyCar blog – without any knowledge that it had been suggested before. I then allowed one of my best friends, Bruce Yarbro, to talk me into it. With the promised help of Bruce and longtime friend Susan Scruggs; I decided to do it and launched it May 1.

I didn’t really know what to do, starting out. I saw no need to become a “news” site. There were plenty of those already that were doing a great job. Nor did I wish to do anything outlandish. I never really considered myself to be a polarizing figure and saw no need to start now. Instead, I decided to pick a single topic each day and just start typing about it. I started out mainly with the idea to educate my friends that were not IndyCar fans, but might want to learn about it.

Surprisingly – other people stumbled across it, apparently liked what they read and continued to come back. As I’ve mentioned before; I’ll always owe a huge debt of gratitude to Pressdog and My Name Is IRL for devoting unsolicited write-ups for the site. Things really took off after that. I’ll also give a sincere thanks to Roy Hobbson. He and I spar with each other, but most can tell it is all in fun. He gave a lot of early shout-outs to me, long before I even knew who he was or what The Silent Pagoda was all about. Come to think of it – I’m still not quite sure what The Silent Pagoda is about, but he has become a good friend nonetheless.

My posts tend to be a little longer than most – OK, a lot longer – but what I have found is that most readers seem to appreciate the way that I present my opinions. They don’t always agree with my opinions, but they realize that I try to back up my opinions with facts – unless of course, it’s something like me not liking lima beans. It’s just a preference – my preference. That’s what bloggers do. They write their opinions.

Such was the case with Wednesday’s article. It was an opinion – my opinion. The response generated more of a buzz than I anticipated – and that’s not necessarily a good thing. The tone in the comments section quickly shifted from whether or not Milka Duno should be parked, to why a lowly blogger would ever dare to comment on such things. I’m pretty thick-skinned and I certainly don’t mind when opposing viewpoints are presented to me in a civil manner. What caught me by surprise were the comments directed at the entire blogging community. One comment in response to the anti-blogger sentiment, summed up what I was wondering already – why do people that have such disdain for bloggers read the blogs?

I don’t care for the NBA, but I don’t spend my time carousing through all of the NBA sites just to tell everyone there how I hate the NBA. I just choose not to follow it. I love football and baseball, so I put up with the NBA highlights while watching SportsCenter. My biggest sign of protest is to get up and go to the kitchen while they’re on.

One result of the comments (and some very nasty e-mails) was that they forced me to examine the role of the blogger. I’ve glanced at a few blogs outside of the IndyCar realm. Like most IndyCar blogs; some are well written, while others are not. Some try to be outrageously shocking, some provocative, and some funny. Some reach their objective, some don’t. Some simply portray the writer’s passion, observations and opinions about whatever the subject at hand. That is what I have tried to do with this site.

Looking back over Wednesday’s article, I saw no “flame throwing” or “hack job” on my part. The most outrageous statement I made was my first sentence where I said, “it’s time for Milka to be parked…permanently”. I was not trying to be shocking. That was my opinion and it still is today. I feel that I backed up that statement with facts and logic. There was no hate involved. Based upon the very unscientific pole and the various comments, I would say that the vast majority agreed with my sentiment.

In fact, there were only four individuals (one had two names) that disagreed with me, but their multiple comments accounted for almost half of the comments posted. However, not a single one of those had any facts behind them to back up their rants. Instead, they claimed that I was in the “ol’ boys club”, I was flirting with a defamation lawsuit or that bloggers were essentially the root and cause of everything that is wrong and evil on the planet.

I started asking myself if I had indeed crossed the line. I don’t have near the following of some of the IndyCar blog sites, but those that have been coming to this site for a while, are very regular and loyal. They know that I don’t go for shock-value or say outrageous things. Those longtime readers will also tell you how frequently I say that I am NOT a journalist, nor do I pretend to be one. I am a blogger and that means I am a fan – and a very passionate fan, at that.

As you’ve probably guessed – my answer to my question was; No, I did not cross the line. Different people have different ideas of what a blogger is. Some perceive bloggers as 16 year-old kids typing away in a dark basement. Others see them as frustrated, wannabee journalists simply acting out their fantasies. There are those that consider bloggers as political extremists, hiding behind the anonymity of a keyboard. I have well-defined political views – most can probably guess which way I lean – but I don’t believe they have any business being injected into any IndyCar blog. Few however, actually see us for what most of us are – regular adults with real jobs, who are extremely passionate about IndyCar racing.

We probably enjoy it for different reasons. I grew up watching and following the sport long before the days of the internet. To make matters worse, I was in the south where racing meant NASCAR. I was always starved for news. The information I got was through magazines and it was always days or even weeks old before I read it. Now that we have this way of exchanging information and ideas; I enjoy sharing my take on drivers, issues or events and reading what others have to say, preferably when presented in a civilized manner.

Which leads me to my last point. Although I don’t care for all of the venom that was being spewed here over the last two days, not a whole lot really bothered me – except one lone post. It was by someone that claimed to be a professional journalist. He then went on his tirade by spouting:

“In today’s “Instant Karma” world of mass electronic communication where anyone can aquire (sic) a domain name and become the “journalistic expert” that the (real) media community somehow missed out on recognizing his or hers talants (sic), “bloggers” have also become a driver’s hazard. But, I guess the view from the judgement (sic) seat has always been better from an “ivory tower”, one’s sofa or peering through the “other side” of a fence at a racetrack.”

Without going into much detail, this “professional journalist” works a nine to five job here in Nashville, just like the rest of us. His motorsports journalistic portfolio consists of two IndyCar articles published in a local periodical. Now that’s two more than I’ve had published, but I don’t think his credentials qualify him to be looking down his nose and blaming bloggers for swine flu, the Icelandic volcano or any other ills of the world. Based on his spelling ability, I’m not sure he should be feeling superior to anyone regarding his literary skills. Is it tacky on my part to rat the guy out? Probably, but bear in mind that I am essentially a very shallow person.

But unlike his claims, I don’t do this to satisfy some unfulfilled journalistic fantasy. I have no aspirations to be a journalist and I don’t know of any IndyCar bloggers that have illusions of being journalists, either. I love this sport and nothing makes me happier than talking about it. There aren’t many people here locally that I can discuss the points and issues of the IZOD IndyCar Series – so I do the next best thing, I write about the things that interest me and then read the feedback from others. Usually, the readers here are extremely polite and knowledgeable, yet they are extremely passionate. And yes, you can be passionate about something without being a total jerk.

So to those that have been here for quite a while, as well as those that have just recently found this site – I offer my sincere thanks and hope you’ll continue to visit Oilpressure.com. This past year has been extremely enjoyable, and the site has exceeded all of my expectations – although they weren’t that high to begin with. To those that find joy in their misery, especially at the expense of the enjoyment of others – I might suggest you go elsewhere. Life is too short and precious to waste it on those who are angry and frustrated with their world – the legions of the miserable.

George Phillips

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44 Responses to “What Is The Role Of A Blogger?”

  1. Good stuff George,
    Keep up the good work and more importantly, enjoy it.

  2. George –

    Happy anniversary. As a fellow IndyCar blogger, I had no idea you had only been writing on OilPressure.com for a year (I just celebrated my first year of blogging, too).

    Your writing is well thought out and intelligent – it’s one of the first places I head to for perspective on the IndyCar Series and the history of Indycar racing.

    As always, keep up the good work.

    – BP

  3. George Ive been coming to this site since august but never made a comment til now. I like oilpressure because it wasnt like other sites where everyone shouts thru their computer. The bad apples that took over threatened to drive me away. Like most of your writing your Milka Duno post was fair. Anyone who had a problem with it does not know racing or ignores facts.

    Keep writing em long and fair. I’ll keep reading. And don’t let the bums get to you.

    • Oil pressure fan Says:

      I totally agree that George should keep on keepin’ on; writing long, even-handed pieces and that yesterday’s flame war in comments was off-putting.

  4. I wish Instant Karma Pseudo-Professional Journalist Guy would come to my site & do an interview. I find it utterly FASCINATING that he would sarcastically suggest that the media community somehow missed out on the bloggers’ literary talents … as he misspells “talents.” That’s the kind of hardcore irony that just kicks you in the groin … and then steals your wallet while you’re keeled over on the floor. That’s some REAL irony right there, and I do love it so. He’s almost my hero.

    Oh — and Happy (Almost) Birthday, old man. I said my piece on this subject in the last post. No need to get all sappy again. Keep on keeping on.

  5. To whom it may concern,

    Let’s get some FACTS straight. For the record…I haven’t been “nine to five” since 2002 (my choice). I’ve been doing freelance (try that for a while) motorsports coverage since ’03. To date, I’ve had over TWENTY (but who’s counting) articles published (probably just as many turned down but I put the SAME EFFORT into them) from local & national racing publications to a “lifestyle” magazine on subjects ranging from IndyCar to NHRA to Hydrosport Boat racing. My media credentials stretch from Indy to Sao Paulo (didn’t discuss that matter) because I’ve WORKED IT and EARNED IT. I’ve been privilged to be apart of events and in situations that make for a lifetime of memories and have produced lasting friendships. All due to my efforts and the trust and respect that I’ve gained by the powers that be (and matter). I don’t have to name or situation drop, my travals are WELL DOCUMENTED.

    Motor Sports Race Week was the racing PUBLICATION that I started up on my resourses and ran for two years. Try taking on that endeavor because of your love for all things racing. I didn’t have to be talked into anything. If and when I decide to rekindle that project, it will forever be Motor Sports Race Week.

    Do your bloogs, have your fun; opinions are just that and I stand by my mine on Milka. Maybe I feel too close to the subject as she’s been nothing but great to me. As for me, I was “solicited” to this site and again; if I’m going to be “called out”, get the facts straight. I’ve worked my ass off and taken my (also) share of lumps to get to this point in my chosen part-time career.

    No regrets.

    • No one is concerned and no one cares. Thanks for visiting the “bloog”

    • BentWickerbill Says:

      RND…. Me thinks thou doth protest too much….
      Kind of makes the rational person wonder aloud, why a guy with this sort of journalistic pedigree would even stooopeth to a blooooooogers level or the level of one who would comment on a blooooooog for that matter.
      Makes one chuckle to ones self.

    • jerrycruz Says:

      Man, grow up!…we love George and his Oilpressure website. Really, rant elsewhere!!!

    • indygrrl Says:

      Too bad there’s no spell check on here, journalist. I am priv·i·leged to read this blog…add another lump.
      Your periodical must have been before the internet since I can’t find anything about it on any internet search engine. I am an expert researcher, part of my job….

      TRAVAL ON!

      • Bent Wickerbill Says:

        Actually, if you “start your own periodical” I suppose one could publish, or say one had published as many “articles” as one wished (lol)….

    • In 2 posts, RND has managed the following(what he meant in parentheses):

      sever(e) possess(es) tala(e)nt
      privil(i)ged blo()ogs

      We are obviously dealing with a professional journalist! And how do you have any “friendships” if you choose to get on new people that you meet’s website and jump their butt? Get some class and a life.

    • You had more than twenty articles published in periodicals in eight years — and you owned one of the publications. Wow. Yoo wright the Eglish real, good.

  6. George,
    You know where I stand on this issue, to the exact millimeter. Great, great column today. Keep up the great work.

  7. Bickelmom Says:

    You know I’m a fan, George. To be honest, I usually scan the comments sections for the names of folks I know to be honest, respectful, and those who have sound opinions. I ignore the rest. It usually only takes a glance at the name or the first line of comment to see if they fall into my “read” or “ignore” category. I’m often tempted to read and respond to the bullies, but I know they will only be prompted to write more childish filth in response to me.

    So, I’ll keep reading you and the folks who want to really share their opinions in a respectful and adult manner (and Roy – ha! Pagoda-slam!). Keep up the wonderful work!!

  8. Keep up the good work, George! Your writing is some of the best stuff around!

  9. billytheskink Says:

    I have a good friend who is a sportswriter who has on more than one occasion expressed his disgust at sports-related blogging in general.
    “Any idiot can make one”, he’d say. That’s certainly true, and quite often evidenced by weblogs and BleacherReport posts across the web.

    As true as that often is, we also agreed that sports blogs can be worth reading when they are insightful, well-written, funny, and don’t pretend to be something more than they are. I have found that if a blog has a following (as this one does) then the author is probably meeting the above criteria (also the case here).

    This is a good blog, George. I appreciate reading your insights as a fan, and that you offer those insights and opinions as a fan and not as someone who knows more than the next guy (though you often do) and I enjoy the long, article-like posts. At the risk of offending any of the folks on your blogroll, I check Oilpressure first, usually before speedtv.com too.

  10. Congrats George on 1 year! It’s nice having a distraction during the day to come and read some insightful opinions. Every once in a while you get a day like yesterday and so on. Gotta take the good with the bad I guess.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  11. It’s the return of The Legions of the Miserables. No matter what you do, what you say, someone will be pissed off. Keep on keepin on!!!

  12. George,

    Thanks for your time and effort. For what it’s worth, the articles you publish here are generally better written then most of the professional articles I see. Good luck and here’s to a 2nd anniversary (and more).

    Best regards,

    Justin

  13. I think some people tend to get stuck in old habits and have a hard time seeing that things are ever-evolving. The internet has changed the way we get our information and people who are slow to evolve tend to be those who cry the loudest about it.

    As a woman living in Iowa, if it wasn’t for the IndyCar blogging community, where would I get my information? Except in May or June my local news community doesn’t seem to acknowledge IndyCar racing exists.

    Thanks to the various bloggers I follow, I get a mix of information, opinion and tear-inducing hilarity! All which help me stay informed, and then form my own opinion. For that I thank all of the IndyCar Blogging
    community! Keep doing what you are doing!

  14. CaddyRich Says:

    Blogs and bloggers seem to serve several purposes. Some inform the news, some are strictly opinion (last time I checked, that wacky First Amendment free-speech thing was still legal), and some attempt to make the news. As much as we have the ability to speak, we also have the ability to click someone off. George, you have a great blog. For all the “professionals” out there, all I can say is that going to school doesn’t necessarily make you any smarter or more entitled – this isn’t rocket science after all.

  15. Andy Bernstein Says:

    George:

    It’s pretty hard to tell how much of that was addressed to me, there wasn’t more than vague reference and I don’t steal screen names to hide behind.

    Here’s the way I see it, and the comments are not directed to you specifically but you get the same invitation that I get here: read if you choose, respond if you choose.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/383297-stay-on-track-licensed-to-blog?just_published=1

    • BentWickerbill Says:

      Wow…
      Thank goodness AB is here to keep everyone pointed down the path of the righteous and only true motorsport journalism.
      Geez, when do you find time to recharge your halo? Doesn’t all that incredibly bright vertical light streaking down from the heavens bother your eyes after a while?
      I know the feds have been trying to obtain greater control over what people do and say on the internet, but I never thought it would begin in this manner.
      Fortunately for the moment, we all still have the right to listen to, read up on and opine in whatever manner we see fit.
      Whew!!!!

    • indygrrl Says:

      AB is this your backward way of hooking on to this blog so someone will read yours? I think it is…get your own fans!

  16. Marc Bever Says:

    I’m all for bloggers. With the lack of mainstream media coverage of our sport, it’s the only thing we have going for us. The internet provides a platform for anyone with something to say (no matter how uninformed or misguided their beliefs are). The good thing is that the cream always rises to the top. The fans understand which blogs are worthy of their time. It appears the league is getting a good grasp on which blogs to endorse.

  17. George,

    Of course you didn’t cross any lines with the Duno piece. It is a perfectly reasonable conclusion reasonably argued. Ignore whom you choose to ignore, and keep up the blog for the rest of us!

    Martin

  18. Nice, post, George. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for all that your prospective offers the IndyCar enthusiast. Thank you! I look forward to more posts over however long you continue to write. Your writing style is eloquent and very calm. I use the word “calm” because you communicate your passion for the sport without crossing the line to the fanatical.

    Side note: I’d also like to say that the way you manage your blog gives me inspiration as I attempt (while living my hectic life) to blog about IndyCars as well. Thank you!

  19. jerrycruz Says:

    George, keep up the good work. Remember there will always be people who just live to criticize others. I need my Oilpressure IndyCar information and data fix every other day. Would not miss it…you have fans everywhere that appreciate you candid and thoughtful insights and comments.

    Much success on your 2nd year!

  20. George, your posts are always logical, fact-based and well written. I appreciate your depth of knowledge and candor. The Milka post was hard for me to swallow, simply because I like her as a person. However, nothing you said was wrong or inflammatory. Keep up the good work!

  21. Keep up the fine work George.

    As for Milka, I don’t think it would be difficult at all to like her as person. She seems like a very educated, popular, hard-working, charismatic and over-achieving person–and that’s aside from being easy on the eyes.

    And I don’t think anyone meant to criticize her as a person. It seems the criticism was based on her as a professional driver. And I think that’s as fair as debating the skills of any other professional athlete.

  22. Rick Hunt Says:

    George, yours is the only IndyCar related blog that I always read. I enjoy getting your prespective and I like the way you present it. I feel that the length of your posts are actually a strength.

    As for Milka, I have to agree with your conclusion. It’s past the point of simply being a backmarker. I’m sad to say that she doesn’t have the skills to even maintain a minimum speed at the IndyCar level. That’s what endangers everyone and isn’t acceptable.

    I am a strong supporter of women in non-traditional roles. I don’t ever want my daughters to feel like they are limited because of their gender. That’s what makes the Milka situation even worse. I want her (and Danica, Ana, Simona, Pippa) to do well. Having Marty Roth trail the field didn’t affect anyone’s opinion of other drivers. Having Milka as a chicane does cause lots of people to project her deficit of skill onto other aspiring female drivers. That’s not fair, but it is the way of the world.

    Looking to forward to your continued blogging.

  23. There are some bad Indycar blogs out there. Yours is one of the good ones (heck, it’s one of the BEST of the good ones, along with the ones you mentioned: My Name is IRL, Silent Pagoda, and of course Pressdog). They’re all very different, with yours (and I’m sure you know George) being the one that’s based on being informative and neutral, which is great for younger (20-something) fans like me. And I agree: if you hate blog and racing…then why are you reading and posting on blogs about racing?!?

    btw I think your last post found the only two people that actually want Milka driving. Racing is dangerous enough already, she should be parked.

  24. Mike Silver Says:

    Happy anniversary, George.Is it really only one year? Your blog is the one I make a point to read. I enjoy your insightful, thought-provoking perspectives. I appreciate your historical views as well. Thanks and keep writing.

  25. Happy 1 year, George!

    Your blog is great, and I don’t feel you crossed ANY lines with the Milka thing. People will critisise everything… I mean, you can have an article about NASCAR racing’s issues and it gets taken as an attack how F1 isn’t as good as NASCAR, which I didn’t say…

    Your blog was one of the blogs which I looked to for insperation when I started my blogging career last summer. In a short time, you’ve managed to build a very good following, and it’s a great blog, don’t let the trolls get you down! Good luck with the next 12 months.

  26. Good stuff as always, George. Happy 1 year – thanks.

  27. Happy anniversary!

    I voted for #2 but I’m really in-between. There are some blogs and bloggers I like, and many I do not (on any subject, not just Indycar). Ultimately, I read the ones I enjoy (which is why I’m here) and skip the ones I do not.

    As a reader I’m fairly good at taking the content in context with the source: I know some people are just fans, and some are experts. There are fans who are more knowledgable than others, and experts who are the same. If you’re awake, you learn how to distinguish them, and where people are strong and where they’re weak.

    I also have blogs and websites on my interests, and my attitude toward them is always the same: if you don’t like them, don’t read them.

  28. Randy Holbrook Says:

    I’m new to the blogging world and just happened to find “Oil Pressure” while searching for information on one of my favorite sports – Indy Car racing. I find it a very enjoyable read. Very well written and thought provoking. I love the longer articles too. Keep up the good work George!

  29. Jack in NC Says:

    George, as my Dad was fond of saying: “Num illegitimae carborundum est”, or, “Don’t let the bastards wear you down.”

    Keep it up. Yours is the only blog I read.

    • Bent Wickerbill Says:

      Bottom line, great blog George, timely and coherent article. As usual you have left the so called well storied professional, expert journalists in the IRL dust.
      The only individuals that would react the way that a minority of commentors have, is because they,
      a.) feel threatened by your writing skills and choice of topic.
      b.) Are convinced that they possess the only true knowledge of any particular subject (see: giant ego). c.) Have an agenda or personal axe to grind.

      Thanks for the first year George… We hope to see many more.

  30. Good job George! Best blog in IndyCar!

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