Thursday, October 09, 2014

Blogging is Not Dead... Quite

I haven't exactly given up on blogging, but I have cut back a lot, and there's a couple reasons why.

First, the cancer, treatment, and the... Aftermath and recovery I suppose is the way to put it... They took a hell of a lot out of me. More than I have ever talked about really... More than I even understood until I changed some of my medications and got a bit back that helped me see more of... Just how bad it got.

Combined with that, I haven't bought a new gun, or even been in position to talk about one in... I dunno, Four years maybe? Five? I don't even remember... I think... Yeah the last time I bought a new gun was a couple months before we moved to Idaho... So four and a half years ago?

Oh wait... I did complete two gun builds while I was in Idaho. I had the base guns before we moved, but I actually finished the builds in April 2011. So three and a half years. I've been selling guns off ever since actually.

Since Boomershoot 2011, I haven't been to a single shooting event, training class, etc... I've even missed the last couple gunblogger rendezvous, and at GBR in 2011, I was so sick and had tremors and pain so bad I couldn't shoot, or even go to the range events, except for a couple hours of the first one.

Bringing us to the next reason. Basically, other than the Boy being born, my life has been mostly suck most of the time since late 2010. When I felt something would be particularly interesting, or I really needed to get something out on "paper", or needed to vent, I'd write something... But I didn't feel like being the " all misery all the time" blogger.

It's not all personal though, there's also been a change in the environment that has significantly impacted my blogging.

There has been a massive falloff in the quantity and quality of both bloggers, and blog refers and commenters.

Blogging is essentially an interactive, almost collaborative process. Bloggers get inspired, or irritated, or motivated, by other bloggers, and the ongoing conversation with their readers and commenters.

Its a virtuous cycle of ideas and interests and inspiration and motivation and feedback and continuous expression and refinement of ideas.

Except its not so much that anymore.

There's much less of it, and what there is, just isn't as good.

Oh, there's still good stuff, but a lot less of it, and its fewer, farther between, and harder to find.

Then, when you do find it, the engagement and feedback and interplay isn't there, so it doesn't generate more good stuff.

The virtuous circle isn't happening.

Honestly, its just not as fun or interesting anymore. I've still got plenty to say, but saying it through blogging isn't scratching the itch like it used to.

People who used to be blogging and commenting and engaging in long and interesting conversations... Now they're "writing" text bytes 140 character at a time... And half those are used for hash tags. Or worse, they're just exchanging memes and info graphics that other people made.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you can't talk about things with any depth or in interesting and original and insightful ways with stock photos and pithy captions.

Likes, and shares, and retweets may gratify the ego, but a conversation they do not make.

People are still reading blogs, but instead of reading the interconnected web of posts and comments in the blogosphere, they're reading single posts linked off of facebook or reddit. Most importantly, they're not really commenting on the blog posts themselves.

So, instead of the blog, I'm writing most of what I used to put on my blog, on Facebook.

That may seem hypocritical and contradictory given the paragraphs above, but its not.

I write short and medium length posts on Facebook, and I get more comments, more feedback, more interaction, than I EVER got blogging, even in the glory days. With the ease of reaching large audience who otherwise wouldn't have seen your writing with shares and likes et al... More people are taking what I'm writing and being inspired by it or motivated by it.

Unfortunately, it IS much more shallow interaction than the best days of blogging were. Its shorter, its less in depth, whatever you want to call it.. But at least there is an active conversation. An exchange of ideas and thoughts.

So, I save the really long or really deep stuff for the blog...

...Which by the by, no matter how good the post is and how much traffic the posts get still almost never gets more than a couple comments, most of which are either "good post, me too" or ignorant rants about how wrong and evil I am. I had insty link a post of mine last year, and still only got 15,000 hits on it, and NOT ONE COMMENT.

In fact, as I said above, it seems that most people are finding blog posts through twitter and Facebook, or on aggregator sites like reddit these days. Instead of commenting on the blog post, and sharing the converting with the author, they're writing their comments on Facebook, or the subreddit, or in tweets; and the conversation stays there.

So, I write the long deep stuff on the blog, and then I facebook it and tweet the link. I get no comments on the blog post, and dozens of comments and shares and likes on facebook and twitter, and other people write posts in response or are inspired...

...Which is kind of the point of blogging... at least for me.