Saturday, February 03, 2007

MY SELF-EVALUATION

In my day job -- you know, the one I'm actually compensated for -- "navel-gazing" is seen as a bad thing, to be avoided at all times. Journalists don't evaluate themselves, and we increasingly seem gun-shy about even defending ourselves against the inevitable cries of "They display an obvious liberal/conservative/pro-war/pacifist bias."

But, in the blogosphere, where writers like myself are faceless, often nameless and even less accountable than those in the MSM, I think taking an occasional break to publicly evaluate/praise/flog yourself is probably a good idea.

I hope to develop and post a Code of Ethics/Publishing Standards/I like slashes tonight, and to evaluate against that in the future. But here's my stab at the first year. After reading it, please feel free to pile on or say what you liked or didn't like, or would like to see.

THINGS I THINK I DID RIGHT:

1. Posting regularly. I was almost-daily, though I missed a day here and there. Since the season, I've probably missed a few more days than average, but I see missing a day during the season (when more people are looking for information) as bigger crime. It was pretty rare for me to miss any major story involving South Carolina -- though I'm sure if I said I never did so, someone would point out the time I didn't discuss Spurrier's being arrested for ripping the head off of a defenseless cat and then eating the ears for dinner. Which, as far as I know, is completely made up. Though he could have been forgiven if he did so after the Florida game.

2. Getting better. At first, I kind of bounced merrily from topic to topic with no real idea of where I was going. I see this as a beginning mistake. I also had the instinct to crack jokes without doing a lot of analysis or thinking. Both got better as the season went along. If you're not improving, you're probably moving backwards. And I felt like I improved throughout the year.


Exhibit A: Leigh Tiffin

3. Good writing. Not great writing. Not superb writing. I'm not the blogosphere's answer to Charles Dickens; I doubt I even reach Joseph Conrad territory. But I'm legible, use grammar goodly, and am honing this whole "writing for humor" aspect.

4. The bowl previews. Voluminous, timely and consistent.


THINGS I COULD DO BETTER:

1. Focus on South Carolina. I don't want this to become a South Carolina-only blog. That's why I dubbed it "South Carolina, SEC and college football." That pretty much covers everything. But, at times, I got away from South Carolina a little too often during the season. I expect to be more consistent with the "5 things" feature next year, and hope to have a post-game anaylsis feature for non-Orange Crush games. All in an effort to make sure I have the Gamecocks completely covered before I veer off into mocking the girth of Charlie Weis and the brainpower of Rich Brooks. (Which, I must admit, seemed a bit out of place this year.)


Not quite this bad, but still.

2. More consistent with all features. The "5 things" criticism pretty much applies to almost every other feature. Predictions for top-25 games were, well, sporadic at best. I flirted with an "Overtime" item for the post-Saturday rubble of every week, but dropped off after a few weeks. About the only things I did from start to finish were The Ranks and the bowl previews. Part of this was getting in a rut. "The Word" worked for a few weeks, and then it got to be kind of old hat. Something better must be found for next year.

3. Having a point. Sometimes I just posted thinking, eh, this is kind of amusing. Which is fine and all, but kind of empty. I should have tried harder in some cases to pull everything together.


MEA CULPAS:

1. Link whoring. I did a little bit of this in the early days, though I tended to call it "self-promotion."


Come on by and look at Brandon's marvelous blog!

I would, in atonement, name and link to the potentially offended now, but that would kind of defeat the whole point. So any of them reading this, I apologize. To be honest, I didn't know at first that this was a faux pas. But now I do.

2. Ray Ray McElrathbey. I've already posted on this screw-up. But I really feel like it was one of my worst miscalculations of the season. I was trying to be contrarian and get a poke in at that school to the west at the same time. I ended up sounding like a callous jackass.

3. The freak-out of December. I was probably a bit too breathless on all the Alabama rumors. That's what you get for going to the Bama message boards, which swirled with the kind of rumor and innuendo of the like message boards have not seen since ... since ... well, since the week before the Spurrier-to-Bama rumors took off. For the record, I now think Alabama made Spurrier say no. I do not believe those who maintain it was a done deal but somehow Mal Moore screwed things up. Was there ever an actual, honest offer on the table? Who knows? But I overreacted.

Final Grade: B-minus to B. I'm grading on a curve here, seeing as how this was my first year. I think I was above average ... but not by too much. Excellent would be a huge overstatement.

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