Heather Armstrong and Jason Kottke at SXSW

Heather Armstrong [knows she is on wikipedia but did not create the entry] of Dooce.com and Jason Kottke of kottke.org are presenting at the keynote conversation on Sunday afternoon – they are having a conversation about blogging. According to the SXSW web site, both Armstrong and Kottke fall into the category of "pro bloggers," meaning that they are people who trying make a living via their websites. One of the foremost identity bloggers with a vast following of dedicated readers, Armstrong creates dooce.com. She is indirectly responsible for the verb "dooced," which refers to being fired from your day job because of what you have written on your blog. Kottke creates kottke.org. Today they are talking about the challenges of full-time blogging, as well as the different styles and strategies they bring to their craft.

Armstrong says she does not want a subscription model like Kottke, so she takes advertising on her blog. Kottke calls his readers those who subscribe like a magazine. Then he became preoccupied with the readers, and it was more like a job to do things a certain way – it was not longer just doing what he felt spontaneously. Armstrong started taking more ads and it started to work out instead of having to be beholden to readers who had subscribed. Kottke said he did not get negative feedback from readers, but he says he was not as personal on his web site as he used to be – so going professional made it less personal and less about Kottke. He says the personal is more engaging with a cult of personality factor.

Armstrong says advertising has not changed her content – and no advertisers have said they don’t want to be on the site. Kottke asks Armstrong how she separates herself from her blogging. She says after making mistakes in the past, she has drawn boundaries that she can live with. Some fans say they feel they know her, but she hopes they don’t show up on her doorstep. Kottke says he has learned that people come back for the links that he provides, and the longer post brings a stronger commitment to his blog. Armstrong says that on her blog they are now forcing an identity for comments – since she has had a problem off and on. Kottke like comments feedback, but he does not want a community to develop around his blog.

Bottom line, 400 people sat in this session engrossed in the personal stories of two people with blogs – not to learn how to do anything or take something back home – just to hear the experiences in the lives of two interesting people.