Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Long, Sad Farewell?

Do you remember this post?

It was my very first one, and it was meant to be tongue in cheek, if you didn't gather.

But some of it, though written with a fair amount of sarcasm, wasn't necessarily untrue.

I said:

In short, the conclusion that I have reached is this: Blogs are stupid. As a trend, I predict they will go the way of leg warmers, parachute pants, and high waisted jeans. In other words, they will not be a treasured account of one's cerebral self in days gone by, but rather, a source of profound chagrin and endless harassment, much like the visual snapshots that preserve our dubious taste and unfortunate fashion choices for all eternity.

I have, over the course of the last three years, had reason to revise my opinion. Blogs aren't stupid. Well, some blogs are stupid. Maybe this is one of them. I suppose it depends upon perspective. Stupid or not, it has served it's purpose, which was, to help me find my voice after a long period of quiet disuse.

But I think my prediction that the fad would die out quickly is coming to fruition.

It's not just about comments. Everybody's comments are down it seems, except for a select few, whose appeal, I confess, still escapes me. That's not sour grapes, that's just personal taste.

But people aren't writing either.

It used to be that each morning my feed reader would greet me with a nicely ordered list of promise; alphabetized, categorized and waiting to be clicked.

It used to be that I simply could not read all the posts. I tried to keep my list confined only to bloggers that I found savvy, smart, well spoken and truly entertaining. The mediocre and the mundane I ruthlessly bypassed.

Still, my list was lengthy. I had to pick and choose, and it was an agonizing process. I mourned every post that had to be overlooked, wondering what I had missed.

Finally, reluctantly, I had to pare down. But I always had more than enough fare to satisfy me.

Lately? Days can go by without any new posts appearing in my feed reader.

What is happening?

During the last three years or so, blogging experienced a huge surge in popularity and blogs have become a huge cog in the wheel of social media.

But somewhere along the way, the real appeal and value of blogging got lost amid a glut of commericialism, elitism, and competition.

It became more about being important and less about being good. It became more about belonging to the right group, than writing the right things. It became more about making a buck than making a point.

I've always enjoyed the give and take of blogging. The interaction is satisfying and I don't think anybody would deny that. If getting comments wasn't part of the allure, we would all still be scribbling in journals and notebooks and hiding them under our mattresses.

But there has always been a lack of equilibrium that is puzzling and for some, demoralizing. I always thought that would be the downfall of blogging.

That may or may not prove to be the case.

But now, there are even more social media platforms. More ways for some to soar to the heights of popularity while others who are equally wonderful languish in anonymity.

It's mind boggling.

I really don't understand how people keep up with all them, or the obligations that come with them. It takes a lot of time and effort to cultivate a following on any single one. I can't see how anyone could keep up with so many unless they were spending every waking moment online, and making serious sacrifices in their personal lives.

I have always taught my kids to find a thing they love, do it, and do it the best they can do it. Be really great at one thing, not sorta good at a lot of things.

I think a lot of people will disagree with that.

I believe in being well rounded, but I don't believe in compromising something really special for something that only satisifies on a superficial level. There has to be a deeper sense fulfillment.

Blogging is it for me. Because it satisfies my need to write while working through the many issues that arise in the life of a wife and mother. It gives me the opportunity to interact on a meaningful level with people that I might not ever meet otherwise. And it enables me to continue honing my skills for the day that I finally have the courage to write that novel.

I realized early on that I don't have to buy into the aspects of blogging that I find distasteful. And I haven't. For me, it always been about the written word, nothing more. I've made a concerted effort to keep it that way.

Blogging in it's purest sense, the way it was in the beginning, is what I love.

The rest of it? Twitter...Plurk...Stumbleupon...Digg. Nah. Not interested.

They seems less, somehow, in a multitude of ways. There's no nobility in them. No deeper purpose.

God, I sound like an oldster bemoaning the loss of the local soda fountain, don't I? I guess it's an apt comparison. In the digital age, the Blogosphere became the biggest, most diverse soda fountain ever known. All the coolest kids hung out there and the flavors were endless.

Sigh. Those were the days. Some day, you kids will understand.

In the meantime, I have my memories...


The point is,

Blogs aren't stupid. But maybe, they are becoming passe. And if that's the case, I'll be passe as well. Because I won't be moving on to any of the other so called "social media" sites. (except Facebook, where I have all of 28 friends).

So if you're quitting the blogosphere, I guess this is good-bye.

It was nice knowin ya. Fer reals.


  • At 6:41 PM, Blogger Notes and letters to myself.... said…

    I was writing under a different name way back in the mid 90's when it was considered to be weird or freaky to have an online diary. It wasn't until Diaryland and DiaryX as well as Livejournal that brought keeping an online journal to the forefront and a cool thing to do.

    It's something I can't live with and it's something I won't be stopping anytime soon.

    Now I did switch from diaryland and had a name change. It was long over due and I am glad I did it.

    I am glad to hear you are sticking around -- oh, and I am on face book, if you'd like to add me as a friend just email me:)

  • At 7:31 PM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    Yes, so much of what you say I feel too. Every once in a while I have to quit reading blogs just so I can hear my own voice. The volume of electronic/digital information to keep up with is overwhelming, so I just don't, for the most part.

  • At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    well, you know what i have to say on the subject. soon, it'll just be me and you.

    What the hell is plurk?

  • At 8:27 PM, Blogger Kimberly said…

    Well, I still love to read blogs. I don't comment much b/c I read while nursing, and typing with one hand, like now, gets old. I blog when I get a chance, which seems rare these days, though I managed it twice this week.

    Keep writing. I will keep reading.

  • At 9:54 PM, Blogger Middle Girl said…

    Indeed, keep writing and I'll keep reading. I'll also keep writing too. Though, sometimes I feel some furniture moving is in order.

    I can't (won't) do facebook, tried stumble, didn't like it. I twitter but not obsessively. Plurk? No answer required, because I won't be trying anymore--outlets.

  • At 11:51 PM, Blogger Crazed Nitwit said…

    For realz? Gee whiz I think I'll do as always: do what I like and ignore the trends. I am on Facebook however. {evil grin}

  • At 12:17 AM, Blogger flutter said…

    I think what we are seeing, actually, is a weeding out of the crap. The terrible seem to flicker and fade.

    Survival of the fittest?

  • At 1:36 AM, Blogger Kiy said…

    I thought I was the only one not on Twitter. Facebook, I am not even sure anymore why I joined. I may have 5-6 friends, but only because they found me!

    I feel much of what you are saying. I love comments as much as the next person, but I am not writing to get them. I do tend to censure what I write because I worry what others will think. I do feel I need to get over that and just say what I want to. I hope in three years, I will be there.

    Keep posting, I will be here!


  • At 2:30 AM, Blogger Marit said…

    still enjoying you!!

  • At 5:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When I first began blogging, it was to share what I had been learning about SEO. I got caught up in a trap of socializing with gurus and guru wannabes who ultimately miss the mark of friendships and originality, sacrificng those things for attention to make a buck.

    They all sound the same, act the same, blog the same, blah blah.

    I'd much rather read a blog that's personal and public diary-like. Yours is one of those.

    Commercialism in the blogosphere is beginning to make me ill. Faces that smile and call you a friend, while digging into your soul to pull out the plum they're going to eat is not my idea of a good time. Which is what the blogosphere is saturated with. Argh. So dull and unamusing.

    I'm adding you to my sidebar. You're few and far between.


  • At 11:50 AM, Blogger Bea said…

    I don't think blogging has changed. The advertisements, twitters, review blogs, etc. - I think they're peripheral; they don't affect the core of what blogging is. It's just that our generation of bloggers is getting burned out. It takes an incredible amount of energy to sustain the pace of posting/reading/commenting that characterized my first two years of blogging. The level of commitment has to be driven by a certain level of fanaticism: blogging has to be an obsession; it has to be imbued with a sense of excitement and promise. Part of that excitement came from novelty - and the novelty has worn off for those of us who started in 2006 or so. Another part of that excitement came from the idea that perhaps fame and fortune were waiting around the bloggy corner. Most of us have gotten used to the idea that we're not about to be discovered and offered a six-figure book deal.

    I think there are still groups of newer bloggers out there who are going through the same thing we did a couple of years ago: they are reading compulsively, racking up huge numbers of comments, and pouring their thwarted ambitions into blogging. Given a year or two, they'll burn out too.

  • At 2:06 PM, Blogger Amy Sue Nathan said…

    It's cumbersome to do it all, and I sort of rotate. I read some blogs on some days, other days I read some more. Some days I read none, and I don't go back and "catch up." I love Facebook sometimes and I dig Twitter when I'm bored or trying to promote something I've written, pass along great information or an article or just connect.

    I don't go bonzo on any of it. It's all in moderation I think. I can take it or leave and for now...I take it in bits.

    I'm glad you don't think blogs are stupid!!!

  • At 6:28 PM, Blogger Angie Ledbetter said…

    I'm not on any other social networks besides blogging. Maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase, but the vast majority of the people I've met so far are nice, helpful and interesting. Haven't even noticed competition or commercialism too much.

    Good luck with that future novel.

  • At 7:37 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I can't keep up with a lot of the social networking that's out there. I'm up on a few of the social bookmarking sites, namely to promote the writing I do at a little fledgling celebrity gossip site (it's my guilty pleasure...well, one of them), but truthfully, I find a lot of it to be very confusing. I can't keep track of anything past Twitter and really have no idea about any of the conferences that I read about on the 'net.

    And I'm okay with that.

    FWIW, I agree with what both Flutter and Bea said...but, I usually do.

  • At 10:24 PM, Blogger OhTheJoys said…

    I don't know. One day it all means one thing to me and the next day another. Right now, I'm so busy at work that I'm all "BlogosWHO?"

  • At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think it is changing for sure. I use to read several everyday, now I check a couple here and there and am probably going to delete my "blogs" folder and be done with it. Thanks for the good reads!

  • At 10:13 AM, Blogger Tania said…

    Glad you're in for the long haul. I've noticed that only about 10 bloggers on my bloglines ever have anything new these days. I'm guilty of the "poo posts" and still hope to improve, although I'm feeling the collective blah-ness and can't come up with anything interesting myself. I'll keep at it though.

  • At 7:08 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    I love writing, so I guess that means I love blogging. I'm like you in that I work things out through writing, or at least the thought it takes to come up with something coherent. But then again, there's Twitter. That bastard, it takes up my time because it's quick and easy and right now I need quick and easy. It's turned my mind to mush, I'm afraid.

    So in conclusion, I blame Twitter for my lack of writing. It's much easier to blame a social media platform than my own exhaustion.

  • At 3:04 AM, Blogger Jammie J. said…

    I'm a meat and potatoes kind of gal. I like a salad every now and again, but they're not filling. I leave the table still hungry, craving something more.

    Blogs are like soul meals to me. A good post can fill me up, take me places I've not thought of before. Yours does that, in fact. I may not agree with all you write, but your words and the way you put things bring a different side to me in a non-threatening way. It's that which I enjoy.

    Twitter, Facebook, Plurk and whateverthehellelse you wrote up there, those are random pieces of lettuce scattered on my virtual soul.

  • At 3:00 PM, Blogger Lara said…

    i'm sure there are some out there who are like me - i don't write nearly as much anymore, not because i don't like blogging as much as other social media, but because i got a job that takes ALL of my time and energy (or at least feels like it). i lament the way my blog has had to slip in my life, and i hope someday i can bring it back. of course, i've noticed, as you did, that blogs are falling off everywhere, so i wonder if there will be anything left for me to come back to...

  • At 11:43 AM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I know what you mean...
    I'm not blogging as much these days and my reader is emptier and emptier. Sometimes I forget to even go check it (which is why I read three of your posts today). My comments are down...

    I keep trying to focus on why I started my blog ~ not for popularity but for documentation of our lives. I want to use it to remember the good times we had while my kids were young. I've enjoyed other benefits, too, like "meeting" new friends. I don't do twitter, digg or anything except Facebook. That one I'm quite addicted to, just because it's an easy way to keep in touch with people I normally only see a couple times a year. Quick and easy...

    Anyway, I'm glad you're still here and I still enjoy your writing!

  • At 11:28 PM, Blogger Sarahviz said…

    I'm scared of Twitter b/c I know I'd immediately get sucked in, and my time is precious...
    So blogging, for me, is very much still my main form of therapy.

    (Your blog address is blocked from my work for some reason! That's why I've been scarce here!)

  • At 5:59 AM, Blogger Rob said…

    While I'm a bit baffled by the newer microblogging services like Twitter & Facebook, what I find truly disturbing is the number of people who get into blogging as a "get rich quick" scheme. Oh, you've seen these blogs... there's more widgets, banners, buttons, ads, and other "monetizing" crap than actual content. And the scrawny column of content they do have is often so riddled with grammatical errors that you can tell at a glance that it was an afterthought at best. (These are the snots who use words like "learnt" to try to impress.)

    Dede & I never intended our blog to be an income-generating venture - we think of it as a creative outlet and a way to keep our extended network of friends & family abreast of our latest happenings & stuff we think is interesting. So we intentionally went with a template for our blog that features no sidebar. The blog posts - for whatever they're worth - are front & center. No widgets or gadgets. No banners or ads.

    So, I do a bit of Twitter and Dede has been dragged into Facebook by a couple of friends, but we still prefer to use whatever limited time & intermittent inspiration we can muster on our blog. 140 characters is far too confining...


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