Friday, June 24, 2005

The end of June

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

I have no idea what "I broke the power law means, mind you, but it was one of the available graphics offered as a "prize" at the end of the MIT blogging survey, so I took it. I hope some of my blogging friends take this too.

Last weekend I happened to be in the car with my old friend Virgil drving across east Tennessee to Ford's wedding shower. He asked me about my blog, of which I know him to be a semi-occasional reader. "So how many people read that thing?"

I told him - it's easy to see, really, with the sitemeter at the bottom of the page. I love blogging, and I don't know that I'll ever be able to stop. We talked about the internet in general, and about my publishing. I haven't had any creative writing published since I've moved to Atlanta. There hasn't been time, what with getting the life in order and managing the job that eats all my energy. I miss publishing creative writing. I look forward to getting back to that, now that things are getting a bit more settled at home and I plan on switching jobs.

But blogging will always be here for me as instant self publishing. It's a bit masturabatory, I know, but people do enjoy reading blogs and I do enjoy writing this one. So I'm not going to stop any time soon, although I contemplated it last fall. This is part of my routine now, this is how I keep the constant flow of words in my head somehow still flowing, somehow still a little bit useful. If I don't keep up my creative outlets, I get all backed up in my mind and grouchy. When people ask me "How can you write all the time?" I have always replied "How can you not? In September, I will have been blogging for six years. This is part of who I am now.

At work we had a meeting not too long ago where the HR officer, looking rather uncomfortable, let us know that the company did read our blogs from time to time. I didn't feel bad about this. I've never named who I work for, and I doubt anyone who reads this cares very much, as few of my posts mention work and when they do it's never anything terribly important. Most of my readers are friends, or friends of friends, or people who stumble in, read around for a few days, and then dissapear into the internet ether rarely to be seen again. And that's fine with me. I won't be made to feel like I should be guilty or worried about Blogging because big brother or work might be watching. Of course they're watching. I invited them too. That's the point - I am here, I am writing, I am expressing myself and I can get feedback on style. I can tell what tone and events interest other people. I am expressing myself and learning from that expression what is best recieved, what my friends are interested in.

The survey from MIT is mostly about the social dynamics of blogging. I'll be interested to hear what the survey has to say. I won't take it too seriously though. The internet - we don't really know what it is yet, we don't even have the words to explain how it is altering our social connections.

When I occasionally hear the topic of blogs come up with people who don't understand them ("Blogs? Those internet diary thingies? Hah!")*, I always marvel at their incomprehension. You write things, and people read them. But it's not really a form of publishing as they understand it. This is nothing that they've ever delt with before. And the idea that I would write about my life - my adventures, my alcholic dad, my daily pitfalls and successes as I struggle to find a stable, secure life - the idea that I would write about these things confuses them. Why would I share? Who would read it, and who would care?

I consider myself late to the blogging game, as several of my friends had blogs a year or two before I did. I find it strange that blogs have been around for so long and only this year the president of the American Library Association felt compelled to notice them. When he did notice "the blog people", he called them shallow and inconsequential in so many words. He had just noticed blogs, you see, and some had said unflattering things about him. He struck out in blind anger, like a child. He came out looking rather foolish in the eyes of many people my age. I don't go to ALA. I'm a member of SAA. I don't know that I'll be joining ALA any time soon. It might be a few year before there are people in power who understand how much the internet has changed the social dynamics of communication, self expression, and publishing.

I share my life here on this blog because I am compelled to write. People read because they are interested. I make no claim to be extra interesting or even a better than average writer. But this page exists. I enjoy keeping it up, and other people enjoy reading it, so why not keep on? This is a different kind of communication.

*Direct quote from authority figure, upon hearing that I had won an award for blogging.

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