Other people’s words about … the blogosphere
I don’t know if I’ll make it to eight years of blogging. Probably not, to be honest. And that’s OK. Because the time I’ve spent in this corner of the internet has changed my life in the most unexpected and powerful way. That has nothing to do with me and everything to do with you, so THANK YOU.
It’s becoming quite a trend, isn’t it? Quitting blog writing. Decrying the blogosphere and what it has become. I’m saddened to find that some of my favourite bloggers, quoted in the passages dotted throughout this post, are pulling the plug on their blogging.
But I’m not about to do the same.
But it’s time friends. It’s time to pull the plug on my blog. I’ve been putting off this decision and this post for a very long time.
I’ve talked before about why I love blogging and the blogosphere. Many of the bloggers now leaving the blogosphere complain about how disingenuous bloggers are becoming: how curated so many blogs are; how inauthentic the bloggers’ voices have become; how blogs now function, simply, as the latest tool for a person who wants to build a portfolio in order to make a living through social media.
Honestly? In some ways, I agree. I wince when I realise I am wading through yet another post on a cooking blog filled with not one, not two, not five, but ten (or more) shots of the same dish, artfully presented amongst scrunched-up tea towels, autumnal leaves and battered enamel saucepans. And I wince even more when I find myself reading yet another post by a blogger announcing breathily, Guess what? Exciting news! I got a publishing contract!
I’m almost nostalgic for the early days of blogging (except I don’t really do nostalgia). It was enormous fun, but also an enormous consumer of time. I loved it at the beginning but foresaw early on many of the problems now associated with the internet, and now I’m happier doing it all in private. I always had faith that the appeal of printed books, face-to-face conversations, trips to the cinema, walking, swimming and camera-less experiences would never fade for me and now I am back where I was before I started blogging in 2005 … I’m writing a new book. I’ve moved on from writing about domesticity. I just live and breathe it, like I always did.
But there’s still room in the blogosphere for sincerity. For vitality. For authenticity. There is. You just have to look a little harder to find it.
Some bloggers find joy in the blogging community; recently, for example, I read a lovely post by children’s author and fellow blogger Cynthia Reyes about bloggers helping bloggers. Her post would make any blogger think twice about stopping blogging.
Me? I blog for many reasons. I see blogging as a way of improving my writing: of learning to express myself better, learning to reach out to people, somehow, with my words. I see blogging as a form of connection to the rest of the world — if I show you my world, perhaps you will show me yours. I see it as a substitute for journal writing: a substitute that is better than the original because, due to the public nature of the domain in which my blog appears, there is discipline involved in the writing of each post, and discretion. And I see blogging, as I’ve said before, as a way of reaching towards beauty, wherever I can find it.
All of those are selfish reasons for blogging, I guess. But the corollary of writing a blog is spending time reading other people’s blogs: listening to what other bloggers have to say, seeing what they see, understanding what they believe (even if I don’t agree with them). Reading of any kind, no matter how enjoyable an activity it is, is inherently an unselfish act. It forces you to listen to other people. It can, if you let it, open your mind.
I think blogging offers a richer, more thoughtful, more all-compassing vehicle for expression than other forms of social media like, for example, Twitter (where pithiness is valued over thoughtfulness) and Instagram (where aesthetics are valued over normality). And for that reason alone, I will continue to participate in, and love, the blogosphere.
What about you? What do you think about the state of blogging today?