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About this blogging thing...
I've never really been much for blogging. It's been a stop and start process with me. On the one hand, I feel like I should be getting down random thoughts and making them palatable for potential audiences. On the other hand, it seems that blogging has become something of a valid career path in the modern era of writing; instantly corporatized, commercialized, monetized, all kinds of -izeds.
This is all well and good for the budding travel bloggers and what not, people who can devote themselves to all the front/back end production and marketing and rigorously managing email lists and SEO and ping-backs and all that other shit. While it certainly is lucrative and people make a killing on it, I think I’d rather cast my thoughts and feelings to the world for no other reason than I love to write.
Writing is a vain process in many ways, blogging even more so. There’s something about blogging that’s inherently self-congratulatory, like casting the scrawled pages of your journal on display at an art gallery. Of course, blogs come in all shapes, sizes and categories, but I feel like the one that’s missing nowadays is the old style of weblog, where the content up for consumption is whatever the person writing wanted it to be.
I guess this sort of carried on existing on the micro-scale through places like Twitter, but when the site started becoming geared toward 280-character OpEds rather than random observations, I knew my time on the site had run its course. Especially now with Elon at the helm.
There’s potential for these “microblogs” like Twitter and Mastodon to be more than just a constrained soapbox, but I don’t know how that potential could be harnessed when the soapbox is what these “platforms” have been turned into. You don’t have to look very hard on either site to see someone screaming into the ether. And maybe that’s all that writers do anyway.
A professor of mine said maybe I should set up a place where my random thoughts could go, where the people who like what I have to say can read these informal ramblings. Some pieces will be more structured than others, to be sure, but this blog can be thought of as outbursts on random things I feel like writing about. Dictated by the axes of my own thinking rather than the SEO-driven algorithms we’ve come to rely on for content distribution. This blog will hopefully be reminiscent of an Old-Web, before corporations ran the internet.
Maybe Substack is the best place for that, for now, and maybe it’s not. I’ve experimented with plenty, including Substack previously, as well as the current abomination that Wordpress has become, and independent blog sites like Bear, which is where I currently house my personal website, and upcoming literary magazine.
As much as I wanted to try Blogger, the sites on it are unwieldy and ugly, and not in an aesthetically pleasing Web2.0 kitsch-y Neocities kind of way. They are just a downright pain in the ass to navigate. Hopefully Substack is easier on the eyes for both reader and writer alike.
I miss the feeling of a blog being less of a “platform” and more of a living, customized slice of a person’s brain broadcast from the internet. Their thoughts, their curiosities, and interests all on display. That fun and creativity is missing in the sleek and sanitized blogging platforms of today.
Now, bloggers are working an entry-level 9-to-5 sales job where algorithms are boss, and if they suddenly tank, what’s next? I’d prefer any of my serious work be in print, or at least an eBook, than floating around a transitory medium like the modern-day webpage. Because for all the times I’ve heard about how everything on the internet is permanent, just go on the Wayback Machine and see how many blog sites from 20 years ago turn up half-broken, or just plain gone. Like people throughout history, there’s way more dead than there are alive.
If you like what you see here, you can check out my website to see what else I’m up to. I have some poems coming up in some very cool publications, so for the kind of people that like that kind of thing, that’s the kind of thing those people like. If you’d like my infrequent ramblings sent to you via electronic-mail, then consider subscribing. Thanks.