Sunday, November 09, 2008
Why this place lies fallow and why Web 2.0 has taken my publicly expressive and thrown it to the 4 winds.
I really used to enjoy blogging, and so it's a shame that I've fallen off it so badly. I realize that there wasn't one horrible Moment of Public Discovery say that led me to stop blogging actively. It's that other "web 2.0" sites started filling the needs that this trusty old blog used to and step by step my attentions and my life-tracking started moving there.
I was never one of those bloggers who really poured his heart out on his blog (with I guess a few exceptions). But odds were good that I wasn't going to write anything on here that I wouldn't tell you in person after a few beers and a hug, and I guess since my audience never REALLY extended beyond a few folks I knew here in town and a few far-scattered friends who used it to keep up with me, well it never really became a place to vent to strangers, if you will. On some level I think I'm a little jealous of the folks who could (and still do) pour their hearts out on a blog, but it never felt genuine to me. Maybe it's that steely Swedish reserve. My author voice was a little less... that. When I did want to spit some bile out or mention how happy I was about xyz or how thrilled I was with person ab or c in my life, I generally did it in pretty oblique terms.
So what it ended up becoming was more of a journal of things I did, a track record of weird memes I ran across, shows I went to, parties I went to, elections that happened. Every once in a while I guess I'd rant a little about politics but in general it was mostly maybe a way to document the things that happened in the world around me.
So then I found Flickr. Maybe despite my love for writing, I'm a very visual person. And if something worthwhile and or interesting is happening around me, odds are good that I'll snap at least one photo of it. So in a weird way, starting maybe even 4 years ago when I first got on flickr actively (first photos' from election 2004!) it started becoming the way I tracked the trips, parties, shows, days in the park. I noticed as soon as I started posting a bunch of things there I fell off more and more here.
Well and then there was the "link factor". I'd find interesting and/or weird things across the internet and post them here, in part because I wanted to remember them, and in part because I wanted to make sure that all my friends saw that weird new site I'd just run across. But slowly it dawned on me that as sites like plastic.com (back in the day), and later digg, reddit started agregating the most interesitng or passed around stuff, really I was duplicating, not creating, and that there were better ways for me to keep track of interesting flotsam and jetsam that had come into my life. Del.icio.us actually filed a big gap, providing a way for me to put away things to look at later, things I found interesting & maybe to a lesser extent share them with other folks. But the sharing thing slowly went away actually as a motivation. If I was really convinced someone would love something, I'd just email it to them or bug them over IM.
I used to love writing about the music going on in my life, and hey I still could, but i do that now in person with people, on a very fun small-community music board I'm on, and in a way I keep up with what people are listening to and get a sense of what my own music filter has been taking in via last.fm which I've been a little addicted to since I first signed up back in the audioscrobbler days.
I guess out of all of this, the part that it took the longest for me to find a decent substitute for was the oblique mentions of the good, the bad, the historical. Something textual to tie the whole thing together. And that's where twitter has come in. I was originally skeptical as shit, and I'm still sorta feeling my way around it, but in so many ways that matter, it really has filled a certain last remaining gap in my life that this blog used to fill. It's a place to vent about the small mundanities, revel in the small pleasures, mark the passing of small milestones. Its short contained format in some ways works becuase increasingly one of the things that made it easier for me to just post a photo to flickr of the amazing weekend I had is that I never found enough time to sit down and do it blogging justice, to sit down and write out everything I wanted to say.
Constrained to a small # of characters, you have to get to the meat of the matter, and hey, then at least you (ok I)'ll get it done.
In a strange way, it's also become what my friend-network of blogs used to be. I remember going to a halloween party where two of my friends met for the first time and one asked "oh you're [blog alias]?!" and my other friend responded with "oh, wait YOU'RE [blog alias]". And then there wasn't a lot to talk about. Blogs at that phase of our lives I think gave everyone maybe a falst impression that they knew everything relevant going on in their friends (who blogged)'s lives. I think maybe twitter also keeps some folks from keeping closer tabs on the folks around them than they used to.
On the other hand, maybe it let's use keep up with people we wouldn't have otherwise bothered to keep up with?
The one thing I find that I still lack is a good place to actually practice... writing. I used to write for pleasure a lot when I was a disgruntled suburban teen. I like stringing together not just a few words into a sentence, but a whole thought into a messy arc of paragraphs and and chapters. It's never been the mode of expression I've been the best at, but it's damned satisfying sometimes. Maybe someone will cough up a good web 2.0 project devoted to letting people shoot their mouths off longform.
Well and then there's the music, but that's another story.
So, well that's where my output energies are going these days. If you used to read this and want to keep up with me by any of the bold-faced venues above, get in touch (you know how) and I'll send you what you need.
Beyond that, I think this here blog'll probably fade further away into a nice archive of a certain period of my life, and in my interaction with technology. It was a good run. Thanks Blog!
Now more than ever.
posted by robotpolisher 10:03 PM ::
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