Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Donate or Advertise on Ryan's Take

As much as I hate to say this, it's come to the point where I can't afford to blog nearly as often as I do, under current circumstances. I've been fighting to keep it up for so long, coupled with the fact that I'd like to expand what I'm doing, that I need to make some changes one way or the other. Nothing would please me more, for example, than posting youtube clips of state hearings on this site, or interviewing candidates on youtube, or doing any number of things... that would require a digital video camera. That's just not in the bag right now, but it could be, if readers choose to help make my site better by donating to the cause.

Blogging is my passion and I think I'm pretty good at it. I certainly have a solid basis of knowledge on a whole host of issues facing Massachusetts - and the willingness to learn more. My posts and work through this blog have made impacts in this state, both medium and small. I've affected political stories, hosted official forums and helped candidates win races - all of which would have been at least somewhat different, if not for the existence of this blog. I've had the chance to meet many great people, all of whom make my blogs better and continue to make Ryan's Take a great place to read about and discuss Beacon Hill politics. All of these things motivate me to keep doing what I do best - posting across the Massachusetts blogosphere, as well as organizing in the netroots community and others to push for the issues that matter most.

I have no delusions of what putting a "Donate" button will do for me on this site. It's not going to pay for a living. However, I'd be happy enough if it was offsetting my blogging expenses - which which run in the hundreds every year I've done this. I'd be ecstatic if it gave me the resources to expand what I'm already doing. The fact that I'm no longer in college makes matters even worse, since I don't have magic money flowing from mysterious sources that I still don't quite comprehend that pay for my expenses (that, of course, I now have to pay off, making things all the worse at present).

Just as a note - I don't think most people realize the time daily bloggers put into their work. An average post takes around two hours to write - often more. This post took three, plus the time I spent creating a Paypal Account (at least another hour, because it's freaking complicated). I put 20-30 hours a week into my efforts at Ryan's Take, easy. I read and talk to sources every day, often for hours, to stay abreast of the issues and find stories to write about. I have to keep up with all of these organizations, contacts and networks, which means an endless slew of meetings, phone calls and emails - all of which I love and enjoy, don't get me wrong, but they're time consuming and never ever free (at the very least, I have to pay for gas).

I've written posts that have taken me all night to create - doing artwork, editing videos, finding links and more. Often times, those things take twice the amount of work than writing the text, which is why I don't do them as often as I like (something that would change if people donate). None of that includes the time I've spent traveling to get to events, or listening to hours and hours of hearings and forums. It also doesn't count all the behind-the-scenes organizing I do on behalf of the lefty Massachusetts blogosphere - which, by the way, will include a big BlogLeft event this fall (details to be announced later). Did I mention my weekly podcast and all the hours I spend preparing for it?

What Does This All Mean? What Am I Actually Changing? What am I Asking For?

Effectively, I'm changing nothing, except I'm adding a button to my website. All I'm saying is I can see the day in which I'll have to almost completely stop blogging, if I don't make some changes now. There aren't a lot of blogs out there like mine in this state, so I hope others will agree with me when I suggest that a quiet Ryan's Take is a bad thing. So, for those who really enjoy my posts and are in a financial position to do so, I'd appreciate some financial backing to keep my efforts up. If anyone would like to see an expanded Ryan's Take - complete with regular videos - and is willing to help me achieve that, we can make it happen.

Consider it like the Boston Globe: you can get the whole thing online for free, or pay a little extra and buy some dead trees. I don't want anyone to buy dead trees on my behalf, but I realize a donation won't come without some quid pro quos.

What I Can Do For You

While I'll never sacrifice my integrity on this website (for example, money won't ever change my positions or keep me quiet), I'm certainly not opposed to allowing people to 'sponsor' posts. If you want your appreciation recognized publicly, I'd be more than happy to put "this post is brought to you by Person X" at the end - your name could replace X, with a small donation. People could even choose to sponsor every post I write about on a particular subject. Care about GLBT issues? Sponsor my GLBT posts! Sponsors could also have a link to their website, blog or store that they own attached to their message.

Alternately, I'd be beyond thrilled to post an ad with a link on the side of my website for a small donation. Google ads has been beyond useless - and doesn't even completely work on this new blog format. If users want to advertise on Ryan's Take, though I'm no Picasso, I'll even create the artwork if necessary and do the html. I get hundreds and hundreds of readers every week - that's got to be some decent, cheap advertisement for restaurants, stores, campaigns and more. I always answer my emails if anyone has any special requests.

With very few exceptions, blogging will never make anyone a living - I've said that many times on this site, in forums and elsewhere. Even Bob, David and Charley have day jobs - and their traffic in one day amounts to what I get in a week or a month. But I do think what I have to say has some value and reverberates far beyond the html that represents this site. Many of the people who read my blogs also staff campaigns, work at the State House, at the Globe or organize at the party level. More importantly, my readers represent the most hard core progressive activists in this state - and there are hundreds of them, many of whom read daily. So a donation to Ryan's Take, by any metric, isn't charity. In the end, donations small and large will allow me to be able to put more time into blogging, make my work more consistent and better, as well as keep my efforts and activism going in a day and age when we need all the progressive activists - and bloggers - that we can get.

So, please, click the donate button to your right and help make Ryan's Take better. Alternately, contact me if you'd like to make any special requests. You won't regret it.




Peter Porcupine said...

Ryan - check out the Flip - a small, iPod-sized digital video camera with excellent sound (why YS, I DO have one). Best thing about it - it has a little arm, and downloads your film directly into your USB port. Worst - I can't figure out how to edit the movies.

Has 60 minutes of time, and operates on AA batteries. And COSTS less than $150.

Ryan Adams said...

Cool. I was looking at cameras in the $250-300 range and was impressed (I liked them more than some that cost $400-500 more), but $150 is better than $250.

I'd only be worried about videos from more than 10-15 feet away with something that small - if I wanted to record a public hearing on a tripod, for example.

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