Interview with Blogger John HawkinsBy The Pakistani Spectator • Mar 29th, 2008 • Category: Interviews • No Responses
Would you please tell us something about you and your site?
I’m one of about a dozen professional political bloggers in the United States and I’ve been going at it full-time since early 2005. If you want to see what American conservatives think about the issues, there are few better places to do it than at rightwingnews.com and conservativegrapevine.com.
Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?
Writing is just like everything else; the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Practice makes perfect.
I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?
The biggest one was driving down the road and hearing Rush Limbaugh, the biggest name in conservatism and the man who helped turn me to the Right, mention something I had written on Right Wing News on his show. I think that was the biggest honor I’ve ever had in the business.
What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?
Via email, instant messenger, and phone. On an average day, I probably talk to 8-12 other bloggers by IM, 1-2 by phone, and when I have something big I need to get out there, I have a mailing list that’s close to 240 bloggers.
What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?
I’d have to say video. It’s not ultra new, but it has been making a big impact in U.S. political races.
What do you think sets Your site apart from others?
I work very hard to put out good material every day, I interview thought-provoking people, and I’m constantly working on big projects that will pull in new readers.
If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?
Persistence, persistence, and more persistence. People don’t fail; they quit trying too early.
What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
Gloomiest, death of a family member. The happiest — they’re all pretty happy, to be honest with you. I’m like a buoy — always in a good mood.
Do you think [the use of Twitter and other social networking tools by politicians] is bandwagon jumping or what?
Politicians are always looking for the next big thing that will give them an edge. This election cycle, it was Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. It did help them a bit because they used those networks to raise money, acquire emails, and energize more supporters.
If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for - what would your top 3 choices be?
Greece, Italy, and Israel. So many pivotal events in Western history happened in those nations and it would just be unbelievable to see them.
What is your favorite book and why?
Atlas Shrugged. That book helped form my personality and view of how the world works.
What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?
The eyes. They really are the window to the soul.
Is there anyone from your past that once told you couldn’t write?
Not that I can remember, but someone very close to me once told me I’d be better off getting a part-time job bagging groceries instead of continuing to blog.
How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?
If you build a big audience, there are lots of ways to make money. Get the eyeballs, and the cash flow will follow.
Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?
No! I have worked far harder for myself, blogging, than I ever did for any other person.
What are your thoughts on corporate blogs and what do you think the biggest advantages and disadvantages are?
A big name blog can help you get access to places where you wouldn’t get it otherwise. Also, having those financial resources at your disposal can be very nice, especially when they’re writing you a paycheck.
But, on the other hand, working for a corporation means you have a boss, one who is probably less talented and creative than you, having a say in your work. With corporate blogs, they may also be worried about your writing controversial things and can be susceptible to people mounting public campaigns to get you fired.
So, there are pluses and minuses.
What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?
In general, I’ve found that blogs tend to work the opposite way, by sharpening divisions between people.
Who are your top five favorite bloggers?
Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?
The weirdest thing about blogging is that the articles you think are going to rock everyone’s world usually don’t do as well as you think. It’s usually the short throw-away piece that really blows up and goes large.
For example, my all-time favorite column that I’ve written was sent around all-over the place on the net, was picked up in an overseas newspaper, and has gotten lots of attention over the years.
Confessions of Isolationist Wannabe
It just spilled out of me in like a couple of hours time, which isn’t much, given that columns usually take me 4-6 hours to write.
What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?
Well, to be honest, we don’t get a lot of pleasant news about Pakistan in the states. Most of it involves Islamic extremists, slavery, acid attacks, terrorism, tribalism, your dictator, instability, and threats of war with India.
Still, I think Pakistan has the potential to be a great nation one day.
What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?
Truly successful countries are largely capitalist, have the rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, property rights, and freedom of religion. Show me a developed country that doesn’t have these things and they’re on their way down. Show me a developing country that has them and they’re on their way up.
What is the future of blogging?
You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?
Since I blog for a living, blogging is my professional life. As to my personal life, I talk to so many interesting people that I have met through blogging, that I have to work third shift to get any work done. So, it has been positive all the way around.
What are your future plans?
To be considerably wealthier, more famous, and higher up the political ladder in 5-10 years than I am today.
Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?
Good luck and best wishes!