Well, and a fellow gets back in the habit of blogging a bit, and puts a bit of effort into and—Boom!—a bunch of articles come out full of nostalgia for the dead form. Not that any of those writers are talking about the personal blog, the kind of thing you are reading now. I’ve been blogging, on and off, for fifteen years now, almost—if I haven’t given the whole thing up in a couple of weeks, I’ll write some sort of anniversary post in honor of the arbitrary day. But those articles are about something different, and I’m curious what y’all think about it.
Once upon a time, the internet was going to bring about a revolution because of the long tail. Do y’all remember the long tail? The tail was thin, but it was oh so very long that everyone could make money from selling that long tail rather than the slices of haunch or breast. I don’t think it worked out that way. I mean, yes, the internet has facilitated the cottage industry, such that a person can sell a few hundred dollars worth of goods easier than forty years ago, perhaps. But those tail sales don’t aggregate like the numbers seemed to be saying they would. This autumn’s Patreon foofaraw brought that out again: the money was just better if the tail was shorter and thicker.
What those political bloggers are nostalgic for is a moment when their particular blogosphere was just long enough to include them and just thick enough for people to notice them. They aren’t nostalgic for LiveJournal, or for Your Humble Blogger to post five hundred times a year. And that’s fine. I mean, that’s what nostalgia is, innit? Now it’s their job, and sometimes that kinda stinks, I bet. And most of the people who didn’t make the monetization cut don’t give it away for free anymore, either.
Mostly, I think that ten years is a long time to do anything that you aren’t compelled to do. Most of the people who put together blogs ten years ago naturally drifted away from them the way that they or other people drifted away from other hobbies. Philately or building reproductions of classic cars or scrimshaw or playing the piano or whatnot. Some people do it all their lives, of course, and some people turn their hobby into a side business, but most people, I think, do stuff for a while and then drift away eventually.
As I have been working on the new visuals for the site (not done yet, by the way) I have been thinking a bit: Why did I stop blogging? Why did I ever blog in the first place? What would I be blogging for in the future?
I expect there are other people who have been asking themselves questions like these. Gentle Readers, some of them. How many of y’all wrote blogs for a few years? Did you stop? Why not?
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,