1. Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    a brief early history of the weirdest blog to last ten years 

    the busblog was born at this desk at E! today in 2001 during a government-mandated 15-minute break.

    i was bored, depressed, and hoping that a blog about a single man riding the bus in LA would impress the ladies.

    and lead to fame, fortune, and a wildly successful career in journalism.

    because i hated my job at E!  i didnt care if i got fired, so i blogged about sex drugs politics rock music

    and pretended i worked as an undercover superhero who flew a helicopter around LA for a group called the xbi.

    tall tales were told about dating anna kournikova, mariah carey, and several nba cheerleaders.

    lame right? right! but somehow the busblog became popular within several weeks.

    like really popular.

    popular cam girls at the time (teenage bloggers with great design and little content) had amazon wishlists

    and their readers would buy them gifts off those lists and even send them money via PayPal

    so i told my readers, “we know you give money to these girls who you have no chance with

    who arent nearly as funny and prolific as i am so you may as well flow the busblog too.”

    those days the readers bought me iPods, Amazon wishlist items, anything.

    (eventually they even bought me the car i drove around the country in.)

    and in three weeks one month i ended up with a trip to aruba, all from lots of small donations via the busblog.

    after a while i wanted to give something back to people who donated money. but like the little drummer boy, what did i have to give?

    i had all this busblog content, most of it was disposable, but some of it was evergreen enough for a book. i asked the kids in a blogpost in 2002 what i should name a book made of blog posts, and Jeff Jarvis of the mighty buzzmachine  in the comments said, “Blook“,

    i went to a copy shop and made the first blook (pictured, right).

    A few years later the Oxford Dictionary added it, and named the word “blook” as the runner up for Word of the Year.  yes, seriously.

    the next year a company called Cafe Press, known for letting people make small batches of tshirts and stickers started letting people make their own books online.

    i was still at E! i still hated it. i walked a couple hundred feet to eonline and i told them the truth, which was the busblog was getting more comments and more traffic than anyone on eonline. please let me quit working in my part of e, and let me blog About e from a comfy desk at eonline.

    they said no. but before they said no they asked me for all of my blogging secrets. at first i was gonna tell them where to go.

    but because i was still riding the bus at the time, and because someone offered to drive me home that day, and because that person was running late

    i wrote up a long list of Dos and Don’t to blogging that i knew eonline would never understand and i named that post

    How to Blog.

    and the skies opened up. that post quickly became a hit. within hours it was viral.

    sure not everyone can do all of the tips, not even me, and some of the rules arent apropos for today, but some of the guidelines still ring true

    26. dont be afraid to come across as an asswipe. own your asswipeness.

    the next year at SXSW the “How to Blog” post won a Bloggie award for best blogpost about blogging

    that award inspired me to put together a new blook called How to Blog which is a story all its own.

    that book was selling so fast that Cafe Press wanted me to get permission from Shepard Fairey to use the striking image of Andre the Giant.

    i was all, hey thats a picture of street art. he’d like it if we all had one of those things on every book there was.

    they were all, then fine, get his permission. so i blogged about it, and i got emails from readers saying “heres sheps secret email address.”

    and in 1 day i had my permission, and How to Blog was out there for good.

    suddenly a book agent was emailing me, and i had two book deals, one for a blog book for adults and one for  “young adults”.

    i was all, young adults as you call them are the last people who need a book on blogging. the publisher was like

    their parents and grandparents will see the book in the book store and give it to the kid. trust us. anyways what would you name it if you were gonna take this money as an advance and write a book for young adults?

    and i said “How to Blog Better than your Stupid Friends”

    and they said please let us give you money to write these books.

    and i said, no thank you. i blog.

    on the coolest blog of all times.

    more tales later…