It had already been a quiet six months on my blog when I read Paul Boutin’s story in the front of Wired magazine saying that people writing blogs should stop it already. He says that nobody is going to noice your blog amidst the millions and that your friends will get your updates on web sites like Facebook, Flickr or Twitter.
Writing a weblog today isn’t the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.
His ideas about why blogging is wasting time struck me and it felt freeing to allow myself to imagine ending the blog project and pull that plug. Had I not been reading the story in bed I may have gotten up and sent the pixels that make up this web site off into oblivion. The next morning it was time for breakfast and going to work so there wasn’t time to kill the blog. Rather than acting on my impulse, I waited long enough that I finally came across Andrew Sullivan’s essay Why I Blog in The Atlantic and I may get back into it. I re-read the essay tonight and his description of what blogging is and how it is so different for writers to be so exposed and honest is what stands out:
You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts. You can try to hide yourself from real scrutiny, and the exposure it demands, but it’s hard. And that’s what makes blogging as a form stand out: it is rich in personality. The faux intimacy of the Web experience, the closeness of the e-mail and the instant message, seeps through. You feel as if you know bloggers as they go through their lives, experience the same things you are experiencing, and share the moment.
It is this intimacy and immediate expression that is so fun to read and also to create. I want to show you about how exciting it is to be out on the street the night of the presidental election. I want to show you pictures of the mountains of dishes that I get to wash in our tiny kitchen. I want to explore how to live in a city studio apartment as a newly married couple. I want to show you interesting photographs of friends in the neighborhood. I want to talk about interesting ideas raised in some of my favorite publications. And I want to do it all freely and happily.Even if I enjoy reading blogs immensely I’m going to make an effort to share a little more. Hopefully it’ll be fun for all of us.