I’ve been keeping this blog running like clockwork (with the occasional power outage) for four and a half years now, which makes it among the longest-held online diaries out there. Something like 90% of all blogs are abandoned in the first three months, so many of you are already beating the odds. I mean, I’m no Evan Williams or Dave Winer, who have been doing this for ten years, but I’m doing pretty well.
However, this site has reached a midlife crisis, or at least a bumpy adolescence. I have several things working against me: I can’t write anything concerning my job, which would get me millions of more hits because I’d be discussing famous people and facets of entertainment that you, the reader, consume every day.
In addition, I am no longer in the lead-up to Lucy’s birth, my wedding, a piece of history, a Presidential election or a naturally-occurring phenomenon that necessitates breathless commentary. And in the face of such horrendous leadership by our current American leaders, my political posts have become apoplectic with rage. The kind of rage that is so intense that I can barely begin to write anything that isn’t laced with profanity and the kind of ill-wishing that would land me on a FBI watch list. But ceasing to write about politics in this era would be like keeping a blog in 1349 and not mentioning the Black Death.
The last of all these reasons has proven to be the most destructive. I know many people have stopped reading this blog because of the politics: my Doom ‘n’ Gloom™, and the inevitable heart-stopping intractability of the conservative commenters. The political debate on these pages has gone from vibrant to disastrous. More often than not, the people on the right wing have simply outlasted the writers on the left (or middle), by parroting the same talking points and occasionally devolving into mania. My progressive compatriots have simply packed up and gone home, only returning for the occasional pictures of Lucy.
I’m to blame for it, because I believed so whole-heartedly in a free debate; I’m the one who brought up the subject and provided a “comments” button. I let J-Booger (now posting under a variety of pseudonyms before I can block his IP address) harass me and my family for months until I took action. Many of the other right-wingers are good guys whom I’ve met, but they seem to be the only ones left standing.
Every blogger has a reckoning. They all come to a begrudging acceptance of the imperfection of the blog form, or else they quit. I’m at that crossroads right now. Greg T. once mentioned how I’m always “one bad hair day away from retiring,” so I know how boring and self-obsessed I can sound when I contemplate why I do this, but I am either going to have to change my approach to an online community, or get serious about my drum lessons.
Nobody listens to anyone any more. Everyone goes into every situation with their mind made up, waiting for their turn to talk. It has been 14 years since I saw an opinion change. For my part, I feel like I’m open to different viewpoints if someone were to present a strong argument.
I am not out to solicit praise. Someone please tell me how I can do this blog differently, or what they would do with this space. Dialogue is all but dead, and the rest is gossip. If this is merely a place to put photos, I could do it on Flickr. Are blogs really just the domain of knitters and people who are still dating? If we’ve all made up our minds, why are any of us still talking?