Thursday, April 26, 2007
Blogger Interviews: Unsilent Majority
We're running a segment here at The Big Picture where we'll interview some of the biggest names in the sports blogosphere. What's the point? Well, these guys spend countless, thankless hours writing, so a little recognition from time to time is well warranted. Think of this as the blogger's version of a reach-around or something.
Up today is Unsilent Majority, who is part of the Gay Mafia over at Kissing Suzy Kolber, contributes over at No Mas and used to earn his lunch money at The 'House. UM is also known for commenting on just about every single blog ever created. Here's Unsilent to take it away. Be gentle.
1. The rundown:
Name: Unsilent Majority
Age: 24 next month, send presents c/o Bally's Las Vegas
Occupation: Businessman, raconteur, three-time juror
Favorite team: Redskins/Wizards
Links to your favorite all-time posts you've written. (3-5)
My memory is a bit hazy; here are a few from the current calendar year.
NFL Family Circus
My Super Bowl Rooting Interest
HOYA SAXA: Jesuits Gone Wild
Time per day spent blogging and perusing the blogosphere: Much more than my employer would like.
2. Take us through a typical day of blogging.
It's a delicate balance between my full-time job and my blogging. Fortunately I work at a computer all day so I'm able to peruse the blogosphere at my leisure (when the work isn't piled up). Most of my writing is done from home with all of the creature comforts it affords. I typically write a couple of posts a week for KSK and I try to contribute to other sites (like No Mas) as often as I can. The only thing stopping me from writing more is a lack of time. For that reason I had to resign from my position at NFL Fanhouse, poor Jamie hasn't been the same since.
My first stop in the morning is washingtonpost.com to take a look at DC Sports Bog, Jason LaCanfora's Redskins Insider blog, Ivan Carter/Michael Lee's Wizards Insider blog, and all that print edition stuff. I'm a big fan of my hometown newspaper, but there's no homerism involved when I call it the best sports department in America.
After apprising myself of the local goings-on I start checking in on all of the regulars. I always hit The Big Lead, Deadspin, DC Sports Bog, and Dan Shanoff -- but first is Fanhaus. Skeets, Shoals, Mutoni, MJD, and a host of other great bloggers have made NBA Fanhaus one of the best destinations in the blogosphere. From there I work my way through a lengthy list of bookmarks and assorted links as time permits. Obviously I'm busy with work as well so I'm often just catching up on things late in the afternoon. If the need and opportunity arise I'll occasionally write posts for KSK in the afternoon.
3. Your name is widely known across the sports blogosphere. What got you started reading blogs in the first place and what made you start commenting all over the place?
There's a long and, seemingly random, sequence of events that led me into the heart of the sports blogosphere. It all started back at the World Wide Leader when Dan Shanoff linked to Deadspin in the Quickie. From then on I read Deadspin every day until Will wrote a post about No Mas's Balco shirt. A good friend of mine happened to work for them at the time so I sent Will an email to brief him on the rest of the product line. That email resulted in an invitation to comment on the site.
Commenting at Deadspin opened up the floodgates. I've always had a lot to say on a variety of topics so as I navigated my way through the blogosphere, my name started popping up in the comment sections on other blogs like jeskeets.com and Mr. Irrelevant. Eventually I was recognized for my commenting prowess (very strange) and people started asking where they could find my blog. It struck me that I'd found a large community of similarly minded people/fans.
4. Ufford touched on this a bit, but explain how KSK was formed. Had you guys ever met before the site was formed or were you just like Internet acquaintances? And now, how do you guys organize and communicate about who's touching on what? Long email chains?
Like everything else it started in the comment section of Deadspin. By limiting the commenter invites, Will allowed a truly unique community to develop right under his nose and that's where we all came together. Ufford had just started Karmic Payback and Drew was banging out posts over at Father Knows Shit when the two of them decided they wanted to create a co-operative football blog based solely in comedy. They recruited a few fellow commenters and I was fortunate enough to get the call.
None of us had actually met, but that hardly mattered; all we wanted to do was entertain ourselves. Since then I've had the pleasure of hanging out with most of the crew in person.
All of the blog-related communication goes down in epic Gmail threads whose comedic value easily eclipses that of the site itself. Over time we've become more organized as a group, but basically everybody just writes whatever the fuck they want. We have no obligation (real or imagined) to "cover" the "news" so there's never a need to assign a particular story.
5. Dream job? Go.
Ernie Grunfeld's protégé with Vinnie Cerrato's unprecedented job security.
6. A lot of blogs/writers take a while to find their voice. Hell, we cringe when we re-read some of our early posts. Correct us if we're wrong, but KSK seemed to really hit the ground running and pumped out good material instantly. How'd you and the rest of the team do it? Ample writing experience? An affinity for dick jokes prior to the site?
The blog might have hit the ground running, I certainly did not. KSK was my first experience with blogging and it was the first sports writing I'd done since high school. Some people look back on their old material and cringe but I can’t bring myself to do it, that shit is too painful. Fortunately I was a part of a talented and dedicated group of funny assholes. We all just tried to have fun while we found our stride.
7. There are all sorts of wonderful blogs out there. A few you'd recommend?
Wizznutzz is the single greatest team-specific website in the history of man. I'm proud to serve under Darvin and Jaarko as their honorary intern.
The Nation of Islam Sportsblog, The Dugout, and Yard Work are always funny. I have an admitted hard-on for sports satire. Not surprisingly I'm also a big fan of KSK. I look forward to everything we post just like our regular readers because BDD, Caveman (Ufford), Ape, Flubby, and MMP entertain the hell out of me.
Oh and With Leather! Don't tell Matt I forgot that. He knows eight ways to kill me with his big toe.
8. Most rewarding parts of blogging? Most frustrating?
Well we're not making shit off of the website, so the reward has come in the form of a whole new community of friends. The only frustrating part is keeping up with the likes of Big Daddy Drew. Trying to match his brilliance is usually a futile pursuit.
9. What's the ultimate goal of your site/your writing?
Sure I'd like to make money at this one way or another, but for now I'm just having fun. I have a great career outside of writing so anything that comes my way is just a bonus. I’m always trying to improve myself as humorist and an analytical writer.
10. KSK, from the get-go, seemed to get tons of traffic and comments. A piece of advice to some smaller sites how to get a prolific, interactive readership?
There's such a glut of sports blogs out there right now, the ones that succeed always offer something unique. It doesn't matter if you're providing humor, insight, or analysis; you just have to identify your strengths and your target audience.
10. This might be a loaded question, but, in your opinion, what's the future of sports blogs? Enlighten us.
"If there was hope, it must lie in the proles, because only there, in those swarming disregarded masses, eighty-five percent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated." -1984
The sports blogging community will continue to grow while most of the MSM will remain stagnant. It's all going on as we speak. Independent voices continue to pop up all over the Internet and sports fans are taking notice. Blogs certainly aren't going to take the place of the MSM but the best ones can serve as a highly valued supplement. But you must remember that most proles are proles for a reason.
11. We'll get you outta here on this: There's this NFL Draft thingy happening this weekend. You're a 'Skins guy, so who's Washington gonna take at No. 6? Who should Washington take? And what are you gonna be doing during the Draft? Some day-drinking perhaps? Non-stop posts? Both?
At this point I'm convinced that the Redskins only exist to frustrate me into a rage.
Right now the buzz says they’re either going to trade down to stock up on picks (yeah, and I’m breaking the fast with Joe Gibbs) or draft Laron Landry. I like Landry but he's a hard-hitting safety with questionable deep coverage skills and that’s Sean Taylor’s job. If they're so eager to take another safety they should trade down to the bottom of the first round where they can take Reggie Nelson and add a second rounder (to take a defensive lineman or a left guard).
I've made my feelings perfectly clear; I want Amobi Okoye and if I don't get him I'm liable to throw a hissy-fit. My biggest fears involve them trading into the top two or trading their current pick for a veteran (Lance Briggs). If they pull any of that shit I'm prepared to boycott FedEx Field for the entire season.
Regardless of what happens on Saturday I'm going to be drunk. I'm meeting up with a group of friends and acquaintances at a bar in DC to take in all the action before I head over to my regular seats at Verizon Center for Game 3 of the Wizards/Cavs series.
My dream scenario:
1. Skins draft Amobi
2. Amobi comes to the Wizards game
3. Amobi runs on to the court and gives Queen James the beating of her life.
(Past interviews; also found on right sidebar: Dawizofodds; Matt Ufford; The Mighty MJD; Jamie Mottram; The Big Lead; The Cavalier; Will Leitch; Dan Shanoff; Dan Steinberg; Brooks).