Sunday, March 30, 2008

BLOGSERVATIONS

What is blogging? Why do we blog? Should I continue blogging?

Unsure of the answers to such questions, I have been doing some contemplating. Lizzy, of "The OCD Generation-X Liberal", has posted a "farewell" statement on her blog. Now and then I have considered doing the same, but I had not really thought too much about it until reading her post.

I am going to miss Lizzy's presence in the blogosphere. I know some of you would miss this blog of mine as well, but I have to wonder why I blog, given that my blog has fairly low readership. But would I want a large readership? Could that lead to a feeling of being more tied to the blog and the feeling of needing to post more often and manage it more? I would miss those who come here to visit and opine... friends have been made, which is one of the things about blogging that I like the most.

As of the time I am writing this, my hit counter shows 61,230 visits. I started blogging July 17, 2004. My thought is to wait until the counter gets another 38,770 hits for a total of 100,000, or to go for a five-year anniversary date of July 17, 2009. Given that I don't get all that many visits, I'm thinking the five-year date is the more likely time at which I will have evaluated things enough to know what to do.

Rather than opt out now, I will give myself the next 15-16 months to stick with it. That is a lot of time. There is going to be too much happening for me to stay quiet or step aside just yet. This time frame will get me through the conventions, the November elections, the winter, and Inauguration Day (if it is allowed to happen), and hopefully about six months into a Democratic administration. If the Dems don't win in November (perish the thought)? I will keep blogging.

I don't like feeling somewhat tied to the weblog. When I am away from it for a few days, I feel glad to come back and look at the comments and make comments on other blogs, but sometimes it almost feels like a relief to be away from it all for a few days.

So why DO I blog? I am not sure why. I enjoy writing, certainly. Is there any chance I could ever get any of my writing published? Who knows, but I wouldn't know because I would first need to devote more time to that writing. The same goes for my songwriting, and for my recording of my music. I am not sure that the time I spend blogging couldn't be spent for more productive endeavors. Then again, I sit back and look through some of my past blogposts and laugh or think, realizing I enjoy them and that I'm not bad at what I do here.

Even when one enters the sixth decade of life (as I have), there is always the need to prioritize. Blogging has become a big-enough part of my life that I will give myself plenty of time to decide whether to continue with it, at least in its present form, and to decide about its relative importance in my personal scheme of things. I have made a feeble attempt at starting a MySpace page lately, but I just can't get interested in doing anything MORE, anything else that would take more time than the time I spend with Various Ecstasies.

What thoughts do you have about this blog, about your blogging, and about your visiting of other blogs? How much time do you spend with it, say, on a weekly basis? Do you find that it gets in the way of other things you think you should be doing?

When it gets down to it, I don't see blogging as a waste of time. I have found that I enjoy it quite a bit. We'll just have to wait, and see what happens.

18 Comments:

Blogger J. Marquis said...

I struggle with these same questions. I often have trouble coming up with a reasonably original line of thought but on the other hand I just can't seem to put it away completely. Mostly I just enjoy the camraderie of our little group...

5:22 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I know what you mean, J. In this day and age, the blogging thing does provide a way to communicate with others. It's just one of a number of ways to connect with others, and in some cases, to actually meet new people (at least in cyberspace, and that is certainly fun enough!)

I was listening to an interview on NPR today with a fellow who has Asperger's syndrome, a disorder of social communication that falls within the spectrum of autism disorders. The interviewee took just three weeks to design something called "Bit Torrent" that is highly influential in the way the internet works re. accessing rich media content, and he is able to look at computer language all day without losing interest. He has no need for (or interest in) the kinds of normal communication the rest of us need in order to feel fulfilled as human beings. But that does not make people with Asperger's any less human; the way they are is perfectly normal to them. It is just a different way of interacting with the world, and in a society where they are in a large minority, it can lead to difficulties in situations which require communicating with other people.

I have to wonder if communicating via posting on weblogs, weblog comments, e-mails, forums, chat rooms, even with text messaging, etc. is replacing the kind of communication that has been considered "normal" for people for so many years, ways such as handwritten letters, phone calls, meeting someone to go to a game or just have a cup of coffee, or even just hanging out with friends.

Of course in our case, J., physical distance precludes a number of types of interactions, and that makes these kinds of interactions great... You and I can communicate more often this way, and in a convenient manner. I like that, because we have known each other and been good friends for a long time!

Then again, I see my kids "chatting" with their friends online, and sometimes those friends are only a few houses away. It is enough to make me concerned that our society will look like an Asperger's society after another 20-30 years of our society's increasing reliance on computers as a means for communicating with other people.

Anyway J., I will come to your house this summer and we can communicate in the old-fashioned way over a beer and some good music! And in the meantime, I always look forward to your e-mails, just as I always look forward to reading comments on my blog and reading posts and comments on other peoples' blogs.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Well, apparently, blogging has given me a way to alienate people in a format I could never have imagined 15 years ago. I honestly don't know why I blog. Some of it is catharsis, while other things are... a different form of catharsis, and still others are ways to express what I really think, good, bad, indifferent, or just weird. I've tried giving this up before, and I might finally have my fill one day. Lizzy's departure has gotten me thinking as it has you.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Thanks, MC Fred. "Catharsis" is one of the words I was looking for!

7:38 PM  
Blogger 1138 said...

I can't say why you blog, I gave up trying to figure out why I do and in fact in a way I gave up blogging.
As a serious matter anyways I gave it up.
I really wanted to "do it right" and kept letting myself down.
Finally I realized that it was ok to let myself down, that unless I wanted to develop something along the lines of "The Huffington Post", all I really had the attention and energy for was the occasional intense outburst over a few days or weeks at a time.
I've applied a Que Sera Sera policy to it since March 2007 when we entered the 5th year in Iraq.

Lizzy I hope to see back at least on a limited basis.
I think some of us need to go to shared blogging rather than quiting.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

1138, shared blogging might be a good idea. Sometimes that can work pretty well. Kvatch and friends have done a very nice job at "Ragebot".

9:39 PM  
Blogger Lizzy said...

Reading your blog about blogging really gives me pause for stopping. For me, I think it is about the camraderie. With all the crap that is going on in the world, it does feel good that we have each other to bounce things off of, and to make each other laugh.

I hope you don't stop for a good long time, Snave. Reading your posts has always given me great enjoyment.

And what we all do without your poop posts?

8:55 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Ahhh, yes Lizzy. What WOULD we do without all that scheise? Hehehehe! Thanks, and I would agree that it really is pretty much a feelgood thing. If it feels good, do it? Well, we can't say that anymore without being branded as elitist leftist pinko socialist whatever yadda yadda yadda, but when it comes down to it, that's what most of us do, I think, whatever our political orientation.

For me it isn't a case of "I blog, therefore I am", but more a case of "I feel good, therefore I blog."

9:55 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

True, blogging can be a buttpain. For me, having comment moderation, every time I go on a short trip (or even last week when I had jury duty), I'm always thinking "oh shit, what if somebody leaves a comment and they think I've deleted it or didn't publish it."

But it's such a great outlet, I don't think I'll ever quit. Years from now, when blogs have been replaced by whatever comes next, the occasional surfer will stumble on my site and think "holy shit, a blog! Damn! Remember those things?"

Have you used any of those traffic exchange programs like Blog Explosion or BlogMad? They're not great; most surfers are just sitting there waiting for the obligatory 30 seconds to pass so they can click on the next blog and keep getting more credits (return visits). But it's still a good way to meet other bloggers (including wingnuts). A certain percentage of those surfers will bookmark your blog for future visits.

In my 3+ years of blogging, my fellow bloggers have fallen away. Whenever I surf through my archives from 2 or 3 years ago (yes, I sometimes do that, so shoot me) almost all of the comments are from people who aren't blogging any more.

I certainly hope you'll stick around. I'd hate to see one of your comments at an old post and think to myself "oh, yeah, Snave, I wonder what happened to him."

12:21 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

Where else can you get feedback from what you write from readers all over the world? This is a great time in communications. It is also a great medium in that with the eyes and ears of the masses information is now instantaneous. I agree that personnal interactions have suffered but then again you get to meet people that would never have happen in the past. Blogging also gives everyone a voice whether you're young, old, deaf or even blind.
I get about 100 people a week on my blog but I will continue because I look at it like this: If I can help just one person out there then the whole thing is worth it.
I've read several of your posts that were just priceless. So I hope you'll continue otherwise it's a loss to the blogsphere as a whole.
One last thing: We haven't fully realized the true power that we weild. Remember the main stream media now has their eyes on us and I believe they are afraid. They don't want to land up like the newspaper industry.

4:43 PM  
Blogger T&A said...

So I'm not the only one that ask these questions?

I've felt much the same way in the past few months. Of course I haven't been at it as long as you, but I understand where you are coming from. I put the breaks on my posting a while back and it was a nice break for me. However, I can't really see myself walking away completely. I think the connections that I've made through blogging are some of the most interesting ones in all of my life. I'd be sad to lose them. Of course as in the "real" world, people come and go, and that's OK.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Thanks for all the great comments. My next post, I guess, is why I blog.

I love all of you, enough to subject you to my catharses! Bwahahahaha!!!

8:58 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I hate to admit it, but I have never considered ceasing my blog. It's not like I have a big readership. A Shroud of Thoughts is almost four years old and the hit counter is only at 58,418 hits--not a lot for as long as it's been around. I think it is more that I need to continue writing my blog.

Of course, it's certainly not for ego gratification, as I don't have a large readership. And I have never made money off my blog, even though I have had Google ads on it for ages. I think it all comes down to the fact that I have a need to write and needing to write means needing to publish what I write, which means needing to be read--even if only by a few people.

At any rate, I do enjoy writing my blog and reading everyone else's. I do think it provides a means of connecting to others. Should it, like other forms of modern communication, replace meeting people face to face. No, not in my humble opinion. It is a great auxiliary.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Why do I blog? It lets friends and family know what I'm up to since I work nights and don't see too many people.
The bloggers who read my blog are bonus readers.
I enjoy going to other people's blogs and reading interesting people's thoughts and reports on what they're up to.
I don't see myself not blogging, as I really do it for myself more than anyone else.
I'd miss your blog if you stopped. I've poached a few pics with credit and find you have a good sense of humor. Butt kissing over.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Snave, your comment to j. marquis about sums it up. It's a faster way to communicate with relatively like-minded and interesting people. Having a large readership would almost demand that you continually post and on the things that usually garner the most commentary; political analysis, for example. I couldn't imagine having to do an in-depth post every single day because it's 'expected.' I'd rather just post poems or random crap with some grade-Z snark.

We should blog because we enjoy it and it's another way of writing. Plus, the various types of blogs keep things afloat, such as yours. If we all approached it in exactly the same way, the internets would be a far more boring place.

I've been doing this for far less time, but I've hit days where I wonder why the hell should I even post anything, who is going to read it? But I keep going. I figure some weirdo will read it and maybe say something.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

Snave, it must be something in the environment. Last weekend I decided that I wasn't get much writing done because I spend so much time in the blogosphere, so I posted that I would be writing more and posting/reading blogs only once a week. (It's Wednesday now, I've posted two more times; I'm here commenting on your blog, so you see how well THAT resolve turned out.)

Anyway, then I saw Lizzy's farewell post, and now this from you.

I LOVE 1138'S IDEA OF A GROUP BLOG!
WHY THE HELL NOT?

Snave, I really love your blog. So many times I've thought, I wish I'd said that, or I wish I could have expressed that so clearly! But, I do hear you about the amount of time it takes and all.

It IS the camaraderie, plus having a place to vent, and to share whatever comes to mind. That's valuable. But if it prevents us from doing stuff we should be tending to, then ... maybe cutting back is the answer, rather than quitting altogether.

I didn't know you wrote. What do you write? I got a nice piece of writing done this morning, so I'm rewarding myself with a turn on the bloggies.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Distributorcap said...

you sure woke a few things up in me -- this blogging takes a lot of time -- the reading, the writing and probably the rithmetic

why do i do it -- who knows? i get to vent, i get to meet some terrific people i would have never met, i get to write which i love doing (and know i could never make a go at for the bucks) -- and i guess i get to meet people who think like me, dont think like and whatever

would i ever stop -- i guess someday i will -- and i do feel some sense of guilt when i dont post or when i dont read others -- but not for long --- i look at any reader of my stuff as a bonus and i would assume others think the same way -- unless you are Daily Kos or Huffingtonpost. as long as i realize i can bring a smile or some info to other people -- well i guess that is enough

i have to admit -- i would miss your writings -- you are truly a terrific read.....

5:45 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Auxiliary is a great way to look at it, Mercurie. Thanks! I suppose one could look at blogging as an a potentially enriching sort of outlet. I also need to write, and maybe this is where I write the best, and therefore it could be why I feel comfortable with what I post here, for the most part.

Joe, you said "I don't see myself not blogging, as I really do it for myself more than anyone else." I think that also comes pretty close to home for me. And the pictures ARE fun to look for and post! Now if I could only learn how to create my own stuff like some of what I find on the web... then again, that might take lots of time to create images with the Photoshop programs, or whatever else people use.

Randal, grade-Z snarkers of the world should unite. And I do enjoy posting something like maybe possibly 3 to 5 times a week and just seeing what happens, as opposed to turning my blog into some kind of means to an end. The end, in this case, as I see it, should be self-satisfaction, camaraderie, and entertainment. If it gets too serious, then it becomes too much like... work!!

Candace, I mostly just write stuff that one could call song lyrics. I try to write stories, and there are certainly some good moments but when I go back and reread, the stuff just tends to be awkward most of the way through. I write good snippets, but I have a tough time putting a whole picture together. Maybe I ought to try writing something with less structure, like Bob Dylan's "Tarantula". Heh... Thanks for the nice comments! I like your blog too.

Thanks also to you for your nice comments, Distributorcap! If I can translate my tortured thought processes into text in a way that interests people or causes them to think, laugh, or simply enjoy, that makes for a good feeling. If I make myself laugh when I come up with an idea to post, or when I get myself all full of self-righteous pissed-offness about a dirtbag in the political world, I feel the need to express and share somehow, even if it starts out just for me. Like you say, any readers are a bonus! Hope you will keep coming here to read!

I need to post maybe once or twice a week, because that would give me more time to go visit the rest of your blogs. I'll see what I can come up with!

11:37 AM  

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