Friday, January 06, 2012

A Reassess

I sit here at my blog most times these days at something of a loss for some long-form wordiness - aka, a substantial post.

It's been like this for a while, and it'd certainly be convenient to blame the diversion of those energies to my more frequent usage of Twitter and Facebook - but then I wouldn't be on those if they didn't help serve some sort of substantial need - or, most likely, serve an addiction to feedback. What I've found through recent huge amounts of time spent on those two platforms is that human-like virtual interactions gradually grew to be something I craved through the conduit that this blog initially was. It took me about a year to get to it, but once I did, it was one hell of an interactive community that peaked at about 2008 - which was, coincidentally, when most of the New Orleans blogpocheh I'd become acquainted with on- and offline got Twitter accounts and Facebook started its many annoying revampings that only seemed to draw more people to open accounts on it. Even now, while writing this, I have windows open on my desktop to Twitter and Facebook, where I check them periodically and respond to new tweets that come up and new posts on the Facebook news feed.

The key word in that last sentence is "respond."

Most of what bloggers tend to do is respond on a much larger scale than 140 characters (Twitter) or however many characters Facebook feed posts limit account holders to. As long as our freedom to do so - in the form of free server space someplace - is still there and we've got the urge to (mostly) rant, we'll be a-posting. As this particular space comes close to it's sixth blogiversary (January 16th!), though, I wonder at the many things that can turn even the most devoted bloggers away from frequent postings...

1) Stuff happens. Paying jobs and caring for one's family take precedence of parking one's butt in front of a computer to kvetch about the news of the day. Health problems appear - never has my grandpa's adage of "If you don't have your health, what have you got?" resonated with me more personally than it has in the past year. Just leaving the house for a diversion, a respite from a need for others to communicate with us almost virtually violently at times, is more of a thing in these tough days than dwelling too hard on too many troubles that may be beyond one's control.

2) Feed readers. I don't know how many of you have put the stuff your read online regularly into feed readers, but it does render many blog stats kinda useless. As it is, I'm paying much less attention to what Sitemeter's telling me anyhow. I've never been much interested in how I can sell this corner of the interwebs, the ads in the sidebar here being more of a concession to my husband's idea that all this time I spend at the keyboard be measured in some sort of monetary way. In the four years since I threw the code into my sidebar, I think it's garnered fractions of cents. All mah internetz are not fillin mah bank account.

3) User-friendliness in commenting suffers in the face of Twitter and Facebook. I have comment monitoring up for a reason: I'm not interested in spammers. Signing in with an account to comment and typing in random characters to post said comment and prove you are not a bot and have genuine interest in a discussion of what I say pales in comparison to the immediacy of Twitter, I'll admit. Which gets me to my reassessment of this particular weblog...

I don't know what the future's gonna bring for this space. I don't know what the future's going to bring for blogging in general. It still serves a need to go long-form, but in my particular case, it feels like I've gone back to the days when this was a diary that happened to be online and happened to have a comment section for some strange reason...except now more people who are not heavily online savvy can use the internet to do a simple search and use that information for their own ends, be it in attempting to judge prospective hires or in otherwise using that stuff learned about you against you. The controversies over SOPA legislation are also hinting that future attempts to regulate and sanitize the internet for Homeland Security's pleasure are not going to abate anytime soon. A door on virtual freedoms may be closing, and who knows if, where, or when a window will open?

Then again, perhaps my pessimism is being colored by my having to currently be in the strange, sad business of pain management for my only 80% healed ankle, the insanity surrounding the renovations to my son's school, and some other strange changes in my personal life.

When all is said and done, change is the only true constant.


So we're officially in another Carnival season in these parts...which means it's okay to have your king cake and eat it too - not to mention washing it down with some king cake vodka just to make things super-sweet.

Thanks, DJ Soul Sister.


Kelly said...

80%! Well, that's almost 100! You have scared me off roller skates for good. Also, since I don't tweet or fbook, I like to catch your kvetching here.

Chuck Rummel said...

Sorry, I didn't think about the fact that feed readers alter the page counts, I'll try to make sure I visit the site explicitly in the future. I like readers for their ability to act like an inbox to automatically let you know when others have posted. It's about making technology work for you rather than vice versa.

Yours is one of 2 non-technical blogs I have in my reader. I think long-form blogging will always have a place, but the immediacy of fb/twitter/whatever's next is attractive to a huge number of people in the world.

In my opinion we can't even say the only constant is change, as even change is not constant anymore, change is accelerating at what seems to be an almost exponential rate. Years from now people may view long-form blogging as just another step in the spectrum of communication from books to text messages.