Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Chevalier on blogging

Chevalier is based in Texas, and he writes about his experiences as a hobbyist in the paid sex industry.

What is the first weblog you came across?

I don't recall for sure, but possibly kausfiles . I don't recall when that was, though. The first "pay for play" blog I read (other than some truly minimalist/boring ones with no personality) was probably Caitie Mae's , largely because I knew her and was a frequent client at the time.

Of course, P4P discussion boards are a not too distant cousin -- sort of a "collective blog," don't you think? Much higher volume, combined with lower average quality of discussions. If those count, ASPD.

Why did you start blogging?

Why does anyone blog? Expressing one's opinions seems a very fundamental urge, doesn't it? "Blogging" may show up in the revised version of Maslow's hierarchy. :-) Particularly for things such as P4P, which we can't discuss in casual conversations with friends or co-workers.

I drifted into blogging. I had participated in discussions on ASPD for several years but became disenchanted for a number of reasons. Around that time, someone commented that escorts often had websites, which clients could use to find out more about them; it might be helpful for escorts if clients had websites as well, so they could find out more about us. Obviously a lot of practical disadvantages to that, but just as a lark, I put one together on geocities. (I didn't tell prospective partners about it though; it was just an experiment, and realistically most escorts don't have time to do a lot of research on clients other than basic screening.) A blog was an available option on geocities -- I'm an opinionated curmudgeon who wanted an outlet to express those opinions -- and the outlet of a blog would help me stay away from the craziness of discussion boards -- so, voila!

Which blogs do you read?

Within the P4P arena, primarily your and Gillette's. Very different but both very interesting. I check both just about every day. I still drop by Caitie Mae's and Compartments occasionally, although they've slowed down considerably. Clandestine Call Girl and Diary of the Call Girl Next Door have gone into hibernation, although MissEmployed in Minneapolis may be coming back. The Petulant Pooner on occasion. Alice, a local Dallas escort, at times -- fascinating content, although she also blogs very irregularly.

Other than P4P:
A couple of political blogs: kausfiles, Andrew Sullivan A couple of chess blogs: Susan Polgar , Daily Dirt, Dallas Cowboys

What appeals to you about the blogs you read?

Well written, informative, and interesting perspectives that might not occur to me. I generally prefer blogs that don't get TOO angry or strident. It's fine if they want to do so, and a lot of people like it (particularly in the political arena), but that's not what I'm looking for. Exposure to some interesting individuals and how they think. Within the P4P arena, insight into the escort perspective.

The chess and Cowboys blogs -- the overwhelming factor is information, rather than quality of writing or the perspective offered.

And CaitieMae's offers some really outstanding erotica at times. OK, perhaps I'm biased since I was a regular client. :-)

Whose writing do you particularly admire?

Of the blogs I read regularly, I would probably pick Gillette and Andrew Sullivan. Very different, but both very effective.

In your reading do you seek out different points of view ?

To some extent. In the non-blog world, definitely. I tend to subscribe to/read news sources that differ from my personal perspective, just to see "the other side." I don't really seek out blogs, though. I happen to stumble across them, and if they're interesting, I keep coming back.

How do you choose items to link?

Things that interest me and about which I want to comment. I don't really think much about whether they will interest readers.

What is your policy on comments?

I'm not sure I have a "policy." :-) My blog is one of the least sophisticated technologically that I've run across. I don't thing "moderation" is even possible. I reserve the right to delete a comment, I guess, but generally would not do so based solely on the viewpoint. Comments are welcome; disagreement is welcome; just keep it relatively civil.

Do you ever receive abusive comments , how do you handle it ?

No, not really. There have been a few instances in which people posted comments that were critical of me as a person (primarily because of participating in P4P while married), as opposed to being critical of my ideas or opinions. Generally, I just shrug those off. If they have a poor opinion of me as a person, well, they're welcome to it and I don't worry about it. I don't consider those "abusive." I wouldn't encourage they post comments like that a LOT, though, because it would get rather tiresome after awhile. :-)

I think I would have much more of a problem with readers posting nasty/abusive comments about OTHER people.

Where do you find interesting links?

Since my blog is focused on P4P (with an emphasis on Dallas), I run across things on P4P blogs I read and local P4P discussions boards, such as ASPD and AHC.

Do you ever write to provoke a reaction, how do you do that ?

I don't think so. I express disapproval or frustration at times, which might provoke a reaction, but at the same time I don't anticipate that the targets of my ire will run across my blog. :-)

How much traffic do you get?

VERY little. I don't really publicize the blog, and only a few people have run across it, primarily through links at your blog, Compartments, Caitie Mae's, the Petulant Pooner, and a mention on Gillette's. I would guess it runs somewhere around 10 - 20/day on average, although occasionally when I looked at stats I see BIG blips in page views -- jumping up to around a hundred or so. I imagine that's people who run across it for the first time, and then flip back through the entries to see if there's anything interesting, rather than just reading it going forward. (I do that occasionally myself; did it with Gillette's blog, although it took me a few days.)

I mostly think of my blog as a place to express my opinions and what is going on . . . but not necessarily to be read. More like a diary or journal than an op-ed column. If people do read and possibly comment, that's great. If not, that's OK too. I get satisfaction just from putting my thoughts down on the page and knowing that they're there, regardless of how many or how few people read them. Or am I rationalizing? :-)

What is your rank on technorati?

I have no idea. I'm "technologically challenged" and not sure how I would even go about checking all that or what it would all mean. But I gather that's primarily a measure of how widely read and/or linked a blog is . . . and I'm quite content being low profile, under the radar. :-)

As a related measure of the same thing, I would guess the ratio of reader comments to my entries is running slightly less than 20%. And since some entries have attracted multiple comments, the percentage of entries to which readers comment may be more like 7 - 10%.

Has your writing changed since you started blogging?

I have a naturally logical, pedantic, and long-winded writing style, which hasn't changed much. The CONTENT may have changed a bit; I think I'm a little bit more likely to talk about personal things than I was at the beginning.

How many hours do you spend online a day?

I'm logged into the Internet throughout the workday and occasionally at home in the evenings, although I'm not always looking at all that stuff. I may spend a half-hour or an hour in the morning or lunch hour, and then beyond that it's primarily just a quick flip through when I'm bored and need a brief diversion.

How much time do you spend on your site a day?

Very little. I may post one or two items a day for a week solid, then not post at all for a couple of weeks. It all depends on whether there's something I feel like posting. At times, particularly the beginning, I may have "forced" it a bit, but not as much anymore. Sometimes I go back and read what I wrote and think "you were just looking for an excuse to post SOMETHING" . . . and then am a bit more careful about it for awhile.

How many blogs do you read?

On a regular basis, about eight (listed above); occasionally check a few others.

How do you find new blogs?

Through references on other blogs, primarily. I don't search them out.

How much reader email do you get?

Virtually none. Email is welcome, but my email address [chevalierdallas-aspd@yahoo.com] isn't posted on the blog and few people take the trouble to track it down.

What do you think makes a successful blog?

"Success" can be defined so many ways. If you' want to build readership and comments, I think it's interesting content, good writing, a viewpoint, and passion about your subject matter. For your American readers: I remember someone commenting about the Siskel & Ebert TV show, reviewing movies. The commentator said the TV show's success wasn't primarily because of the subject matter but because both of them were PASSIONATE about what they discussed. The show would have been successful if they'd been discussing plubming. I think there's something to that.

For my blog, success = I enjoy it enough to continue doing it.

What is your advice for a new blogger?

Decide what you want to accomplish. Don't worry too much about what others will think. And have fun.

How has blogging changed your life?

I don't think it has, other than an opportunity to "virtually meet" some interesting and fun people.

What blogs do you think deserve wider recognition and why?

Can't say. Not sure how much recognition they have now. :-)

Within the P4P world, I've particularly enjoyed yours and Gillette's. As I said before, very different. Yours focuses more on the "news and commentary" paradigm, like an op-ed column; more of an outward focus, with a lot of exceptionally interesting topics you run across in your reading and bring to our attention. Gillette's is more an inner focus, very personal and subjective sharing of her life, and an introspective and insightful examination thereof. Both those are generalities, of course, and both contain both viewpoints. In both cases, a very high percentage of posts which let me get to know someone interesting and make me think or affect my viewpoint . . . and that's what it's all about. If I wanted a cocoon or echo-chamber that would just reinforce my own viewpoint, I'd only read my own blog. :-)

What are your hobbies?

Alas, I have little time for such at this time in my life. At one time I played chess at a semi-serious level, but haven't managed to keep up in recent years. I enjoy reading, primarily non-fiction (law, history, social issues, etc.).

How has your blog changed over the years?

Or in my case, over the 10 months? :-) Well, it's become somewhat more personal (at times) rather than objective. Other than that . . . I'm not sure.

Are you fairly accurate in predicting which of your items will be widely linked?

I don't attempt to predict, but imagine I would not be very accurate. Since it's not publicized much and gets few readers (and has a somewhat provincial flavor, see below), I'm a bit surprised when ANY of the items is linked at all.

Do you have a background in writing?

No particular background. My profession is one in which writing is important -- but, unfortunately, a particularly dry style of writing. I can generally get my points across, though.

When do you blog?

Whenever I have a few spare minutes and something I feel like saying. :-)

With regard to blogging what was your most memorable moment?

When I first started getting comments, and when other blogs have linked to me. I recall someone telling me that Compartments had listed me on her blogroll and thus "You're big time, Babe!"

Would you read your site?

I guess by definition most of us would say "yes." If we wrote it, presumably we found the subject interesting. :-)

However, if I try to step outside my skin and objectively look back at the last several months, I'd actually probably say "no." Let me explain by comparison to another blog (and perhaps piss someone off in the process).

I rarely read The Petulant Pooner; occasionally, but not often. Why? It's well-written; at times has a different viewpoint than mine, but that is generally a plus; on some interesting subjects; a bit angry at times, but usually not over-the-top. What's not to like? Well, mostly that it has a VERY heavy emphasis on the personalities and what's happening in the Seattle P4P community. To many of the people living up there, I'm sure it would be a "must read" -- but I'm in Dallas. I don't know the people he blogs about and don't use the discussion boards or back channel lists that he talks about. We have completely different frames of reference. (Yours and Gillette's, by comparison, don't have as strong a feel of "place" about them.) I'm sure he gets a lot of visitors from outside Seattle as well, but they're probably less likely to come back and visit regularly.

I think my blog is also, at least to some extent, "place-specific." Looking back on it, there are a lot of entries about the personalities down here and the review/discussion boards that are active in Dallas. Between that, the low visibility, and the lack of "hot" topics -- few people in Dallas know about it, and few people outside Dallas would be very interested. Scarface's approaches a "must read" in the Seattle P4P community, which makes it very popular despite the specifics of "place." I'm not at that level in the Dallas P4P community.

One thing my blog does have going for it, though, is that it offers the perspective of the P4P client. Relatively few of us blog, as opposed to the escorts. I suspect the rarity creates some curiosity/interest.

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By the way, when are you going to run an interview of yourself?? I am waiting for it with great anticipation. :-)


LMAO, How do I run an interview of myself :)

Thank you for taking part.
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