I came across this rather accurate insight at Dave’s blog:
It’s amazing that blogs even exist any more. Facebook and Twitter are the Fast Food Nation of thought. Who wouldn’t rather take 15 seconds to spout something off instead of the hours it takes to write a decent blog entry? Bloggers are the resistance, and before they get taken into custody in the name of Vapid Über Alles they need props while they’re still with us.
I think the author—the unnamed blogger at Competitive Cyclist—describes rather exactly the state of blogging going into 2011. Facebook and Twitter have simply replaced, or are using up, the energy that had each of us writing, and reading, furiously nearly every day of the week ony a year or two ago. Indeed, the idea that blogging is dead is nothing new, but I do fear that the blog as we once knew it, is long dead. That is, blogs are the new Media: the new Newsweek or Time or Sports Illustrated, rather than the outlet for individual expression and relevance that fueled their beginnings. Of course, the personal blog still exists, but sadly it has become secondary to the capital infused mega-blogs. In fact, I have a hard time seeing websites, with staff and reporters and writers as “blogs” at all. To me, the blog will always be a form of that resistance eluded to above. Whatever that might be, in specific terms, is up to the individual blogger. But never before has an individual (read: not a politician, CEO, or celebrity) been so empowered to enact change or influence on such a wide scale, and in so little time. The 5 freedoms of the First Amendment seem to be entirely expressed through blogging.
I’m often asked about starting, and keeping a blog. I always respond that “blogging is hard. No, really it is.” Skeptical would only begin to describe the inevitable reaction. But those of you who know, know. Blogging is difficult.
Certainly there are those who seem to produce cascades of content. I don’t know how they do it, except that they must have active, ever-flowing rivers of information and ideas flowing in their minds. And energy. Writing, or blogging, if writing is too lofty a term, requires energy. And unlike federal monopoly money, energy is limited. I’ve often thought that physical and creative energy are related and symbiotic. However, some of my most productive writing binges have occurred during periods of physical rest. Particularly during the winter months when my body craves wool blankets, comfort food, and hibernatory amounts of sleep. Blogging also requires time. And time is always at a premium. I do not know how many nights I have stayed up late editing photos, or re-writing—as I am right now. I wonder often, and especially lately, if that time has been well spent. But I wouldn’t be here if I did not want to be. And somehow the dry spells of content and energy and time seem to lapse, and I find myself back at the keys plunking away at something or another that I hope will spread like wildfire throughout the web.
Of course, that simply doesn’t, or very rarely, happens at all, despite of the nearly worthless and countless ‘how-to-blog’ blogs that promise fame and wealth and page loads.
And so, we write. And shoot photos. We adventure, and race and hike and ski, sometimes only to have something to write about tomorrow, or the next day—content that we hope will be valuable to more people than just ourselves. But I think I might be here, even if you weren’t. I find writing to be a sort of therapeutic exercise in self-assessment and a valuable resource for reflection, history-keeping, and story telling.
Dave points out that
On the one hand, if blogging is the attention-demanding, longhand form of writing and reading these days, our standards have indeed been warped. On the other, I think that blogging might well be an ideal compromise between sharing a breadth of content with a wide audience and creating forceful, thoughtful media.
And I think he is right. Particularly about our standards being warped. That is, if the best each of us can do is to trudge through a few blog posts each day, then writing—real writing—is in trouble. As much as I enjoy micro-blogging platforms like Facebook and Twitter, I do think, and I speak from experience, that they have caused our already sporadic minds to become almost incapacitatingly distracted.
A goal for 2011?
I haven’t decided yet…
But mostly on writing and photography. Or, in other words: content for this blog.
Perhaps I will even find ways to use that content, or rather the talents* that produces it, to generate income. After all, I’ve never claimed my delusions of grandeur are limited to bike racing.
*I use that word loosely, and liberally.
So, yeah. I’m going to continue to write and take pictures (see below for obligatory, unrelated photo). And I hope you will continue to visit and read and share your own links and thoughts. 2010 was the largest traffic year I’ve had in 5 years of blogging, and I owe you each a ‘thank-you’. Especially to those who include me in your own blogrolls, feeds, and in your posts. It is appreciated.
And while I can’t claim to be any better than the ‘fast food nation of thought’ I will stake a claim on being better than say… the McDonalds of thought.
If only slightly.