August 31, 2006
At the same time, the guest blogger can’t follow a script or act like a substitute teacher who regurgitates the lesson, says Ms. Gelman. Without some creativity or flavor from the new writer, postings sound stale. “Not all voices are created equal,” notes Aaron Adams, an information technology consultant from Missouri who reads nearly 20 blogs a day. “Some guest bloggers don’t do much more than just keep the light on. They’re not as interesting or as stimulating.”
Michelle Malkin, host and namesake of a political blog, recruited guest writers carefully when she decided to take her first vacation in several years. All four replacements had a “similar vibe” to her own, says Ms. Malkin. Two of the guest bloggers were well-versed in subjects popular in the news at the time and the other two were friends whose work she admired.
A slice of Ms. Malkin’s audience didn’t take to the guest bloggers. She chalked that up to a “fickle” bunch who prefer her work as a syndicated columnist. But overall the guest bloggers held readers’ attentions, says Ms. Malkin. During the week she was gone, hits averaged around 140,000 a day, down from about 200,000 before she went on vacation. Last week, before she eased back into posting, her average daily visitor tally dipped below 120,000. The numbers didn’t faze Ms. Malkin. “For the dog days of August, they did tremendously well,” she says of her fill-ins.