How to Blog Like Andrew Sullivan

Question: What advice do you have for aspiring bloggers?

Andrew Sullivan: I do have a couple of rules which is that if it isn’t updated at least twice a day it’s not a blog, it’s a website.  So don’t fool yourself that you’re blogging when you’re really just putting stuff up online.  And twice a day is sort of, I think, the minimum.  I think a blog to live really has to be probably four or five times a day. 

We post 250 times a week, which is insane. But what I’ve learned is that the readers treat it like crack.  I mean, they will get... they will take as much as you can possibly give them and return infinitely more.  And the interaction is the second thing I say.  Take your readers as part of your community.  This is a dialogue, not a monologue.  With any luck the dialogue then becomes a conversation. 

No single person knows very much, and what he knows he soon forgets.  So the collective consciousness, or collective mind, of the world out there is what... is really what we’re trying to.  And, in our case we are trying to get at the truth.  We really are.  We’re trying to understand what the hell is happening.  And that means that I will have a particular line of inquiry, a sort of an angle of entry into that because I’m going to have certain prejudices and thoughts and feelings and judgments and mindset. But the goal is to provoke other stuff too so that we get... we try and get to the core of it, which we try and actually get to what’s actually happening.  And I think that’s another thing. 

But look, you can blog about your garden and it’s a brilliant blog.  I also think the other critical thing, so more than one time a day; more than once a day, enter a dialogue.  Thirdly, I really think you have to be yourself.  I think this is a medium about personality and voice.  It’s about honesty and openness.  And people can smell inauthenticity a mile away.  And you know, that’s really what Facebook is.  You know, at some point now, with social media, everybody has a blog.  And what I was doing 10 years ago is now ubiquitous. 

At the time, when we first started, no one in the main... none of my peers in journalism could understand why on earth I would stop writing essays for you know, Trans Magazine  to do this.  And my feeling was, why not.  I get to write.  Having been an editor of an online... of an opinion magazine, having been a columnist, having done... having written books and knowing through that process every time you had to go some authority figure, you know editor, proprietor, colleagues, blah, blah, blah, publisher, got help with publicists—all that ghastliness.  Suddenly, wahoo, I can go right to the reader—forget everything.  The only question was whether I can ever make a living at it, and for six years didn’t.  I mean, you know, I did it for the hell of it. 

And I think sometimes this generation that grew up with this don’t remember, they don’t understand how hard it was for great writers of the past to get their stuff out there.  The agents and the publishers and the manuscripts and the desperate attempt to get your reviews published and then they would botch it and cut it in half or rewrite it or wouldn’t publish it for political reasons or... I mean, you have no idea what people went through.  And now we’re fine.

Recorded on October 12, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller

The Daily Dish gets one million readers each month—partly because the blogger treats his readers as part of a community, fostering a dialogue rather than a monologue.

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less