Friday, January 16, 2015

WTF is a blog now

Serious question--but rhetorical. So, like, don't give a direct answer in the comments. Blogs have changed. They've gone from being a primary expression of whatever online to something "omg no one is doing that now, what are you, 80?" to sort of a thing again. It's confounding.

For example, Ello is essentially a blogging site. Doesn't look like it at first. Doesn't even have to be used that way. But it is. And Twitter was called a "microblog" from its inception. While there's something jokey about that word now, it's still a pretty good description of Twitter. I use it just as I once used blogs, only Twitter's character limit and accepted practices mean I whittle away all the schmutz (that's what you're reading here, schmutz) and give the basic gist of whatever I might've devoted some paragraphs to before. In the case of news, which is honestly the only thing I really ever truly blogged about in a consistent way, I usually tweet a link and a brief comment. Tumblr, which I sometimes used quite a bit, was essentially a blogging service, even if it's used for a ton of non-writing-related things now.

So, WTF is a blog? I guess it's whatever you make it. This was a conclusion it took me a long time to reach. I started blogging in 2000 and developed a very clear set of ideas about what it was, what you did, and how you did it. All that shit has changed in 15 years but some of it is still valid and good practice and I still do it.

Using what's now called an "old" blogging platform like this one seems somehow quaint now. A singular practice akin to amateur taxidermy or artisanal composting. Yet I follow some people on Twitter who still regularly update their blogspot presence. They're around my age and I don't always like how they do it, but I have really grown to admire their constancy. My wife has a couple of Wordpress self-hosted blogs she's maintained for years now. She may go weeks without new posts, but she's kept the URL alive and always gone back... and I find that almost moving.

I've been terribly inconstant with blogs, ever since 2009 or so. It's a joke in my house, something my wife teases me about. There are a ton of reasons, of course, the most general reason being that I have severe ADHD and it affects my life in a pretty global way, including my writing--personal (like this) and professional; I've lost gigs as a writer or even turned them down because my ADHD is untreated right now.

But I have also struggled entirely too much in my head with what writing is. I think I'm writing this in great part because I want to stop that. And I'm addressing that dumb, inconsequential (for a vast number of people) question as to what a blog is because I concluded there was a reason I never borked this blog address, even though I've used it fitfully to not at all--I liked the fact it was here and I had it, if I needed it. Didn't think I'd need it. And actually, "need" is a bad word for a pursuit like this anyway. I just didn't think I had any use for the space.

Lately, though, I've begun to feel I may.

So there may be more posts to come. And if so, I'll do it for the practice. To get words in front of people, even if the number of people is small. I'll also do it for the constancy. I grew up in a stable home in a somewhat stable environment, went to school with the same people from kindergarten to, in some cases, college. Once I got older, constancy like that began to scare me. Messages I received from my father, who was never happy about much, made steadiness and sticking with places, situations, even with people sometimes,  feel like failure.

Middle age has a funny way of flipping ideas like that on their heads.

Blogger has been around for some time and I know how to use it. Google is a weird entity and may blow up Blogger tomorrow, but I'd be surprised if they did, so chances are it will be around for a while. Blogger has been pretty constant. It seems to fit well with what I'm rambling on about here.

Watch this space. The next post may actually be shorter, and make sense. And it may even be consistent.

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