jbox over at Gaslamp Ball reminded me today that the writers here at Bolts From The Blue, myself included, have added their first names to their usernames. When this change happened I meant to write a post explaining why it was done, but I just plum forgot to do it. Here is that post.
Credibility is the reason for the change. Although I did not take over this blog from DaBolts (real name: Brian) until well into the offseason, around the time of the draft I was contacted by numerous websites and radio stations around the country to provide "insight" about the San Diego Chargers. Imagine that. Then, after the draft, I took part in a couple of blogging vs. journalism studies that were going on. What struck me was the difference in which a blogger with a real name was treated against a blogger with a username instead.
Then this happened. BigBlueShoe, who runs SB Nation's Indianapolis Colts blog Stampede Blue, was ambushed by a local radio station personality who did not like or respect blogs and bloggers. BigBlueShoe is a class act who knows his football, as evidenced by his posts here at BFTB before and after both Chargers/Colts matchups last year, and handled the situation in the best way possible. This radio interview made one thing crystal clear to me: there needs to be something that differentiantes us from other "sports blogs".
The problem with a "blog" is that it sounds cheap in a conversation. If you tell someone you're a blogger, they assume you write your thoughts on Livejournal or Tumblr and they're read by a handful of people. My parents probably still think this is what I do. There are dozens of Chargers "blogs" out there that are just one guy and his thoughts. No research, no dedication and no "community" of readers to react. To say that we're the same as that guy and his "blog" is like saying the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego Riptide are both professional football teams. The statement is true, but it would still illicit some laughter from an educated audience.
So I decided to take a step. Not make a stand, just take a step. All of the guys running "Chargers" blogs out there have usernames. Usually ridiculous ones too, but who am I to judge? They also are either posting un-researched crap or they're copying stuff from here and passing it off as their own. We're better than that, and the first way to separate from them is by including names. From now on, in radio interviews and to the readers of this blog community, I will be John. If you want to call me obviousman, that's cool too. Just know that with every day and every post, we are trying to find a niche between mainstream media (who are typically too close to a team to tell any real truth) and bloggers (who are typically lazy and uninformed).
I do not live in my parents basement. I have a legitimate career that calls for a specialized skillset and pays me very well. It also means I have a boss that probably Googles my name from time to time, hence the lack of a last name until further notice. That does not mean that I'm not a "professional writer". I take what I do here seriously because I know you guys came to BFTB for stats and analysis that you couldn't find elsewhere. Also, as part of my quest to get more access with the team, to provide you readers with something better than what you've gotten elsewhere, I need to show the Chargers that this is different from the dozens of other blogs. This is a blog community, built on credibility and intelligence rather than who can post the most, scream the loudest or have the best Jessica Alba picture in their signature. This is something different and it requires us, as writers, to be people rather than characters.