3.10.2010

On the 'blogosphere' and such

A few weeks ago I decided I was sort of over the whole 'blogosphere' thing. It's not so much that I don't find some writing on some blogs to be worth reading, it was more that I was completely overwhelmed with the whole thing. I had fallen into the whole trap of trying to post everyday to increase pageviews, scouring RSS and Twitter to break stories, and all of that other nonsensical stuff that doesn't actually result in any sort of interesting reading.

I've also been extremely busy, and when the pace of life picks up, something that causes stupid 'stress' will be the first thing to hit the backburner.

So yes, I have not been as voraciously consuming news about DC as I used to. I realized that I had, in fact, become something that I sort of hate about DC. I had become the self-important blogging blowhard, who at times took himself too seriously and spent far too much time writing about things everyone else had already written about.

I haven't opened by RSS reader for three weeks. I'm doing this to try and find a better balance between 'staying up on things' and 'obsessing over things.' There's a place for bloggers in the world of media and the world of writing, however I think most of the time we write for the wrong reasons. We imagine there is some sort of pressing demand for our pieces--we see readership numbers and feel a compulsion to write something. We feel like we need to keep the 'momentum' going, so we copy and paste links and press releases. But that's not quality writing, and unless those news stories are accompanied by some sort of thoughtful commentary or insight, it's generally wasted effort.

It's easy to take yourself too seriously when you begin to think your writing is popular. It's easy to think our blogs are all that and that our comments will make some sort of difference in the world. In reality, though, we should write about what we think is important, and write what we feel. As such, I'm writing a bit less. I write when something strikes me as important, or when I happen to see something amusing (e.g. photos).

At the end of the day a blog isn't going to make you into a rockstar. In most cases it won't ever earn you a dime, and certainly not a living. In this town we have a lot of bloggers, and a lot of them hope it will lead to their big break. Not to crush anyone's dreams here, but it's extremely unlikely your food blog is going to get you a book deal. It's very unlikely that your neighborhood blog is going to turn a profit. Blogs are wonderful because they give us a medium to express our own voices. It's a shame when we distort that in order to get more pageviews.

tl;dr: I've ignored the DC blogosphere for three weeks now. I feel like I haven't missed much at all. The blog echo-chamber is hard to escape, but I'm glad I'm no longer just regurgitating the same things everyone else has already talked about. Bloggers should write from the heart, and spend some time thinking about what they want to say. There's rarely a prize for posting X number of posts in a day.

14 comments:

  1. Hey, what what about US? If you stop finding all the newsbites and reading between the lines for us, who's going to? I sure don't have that kind of time.

    Ask not what the blogosphere can do for you, but what you can do for the blogosphere.

    Really, though, it's a labor of love. You're right, you probably won't get anything meaningful out of it except small-time notoriety/fame. And the warm feeling of knowing you added some value to the world, and maybe enlightened a few people. Which is nice.

    And if you ever wanted to get a job as a reporter, I'm sure this wouldn't hurt on your resume. Might do nothing, but wouldn't hurt.

    I met someone once who, after talking for a while, figured out that I was the writer of my blog. And I have far fewer readers than your blog. That was pretty cool. It's never happened again.

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  2. Jamie, I do agree with you. I have to say I did get a warm-fuzzy feeling from proving some news with context to people on a daily basis. However, doing so was often at the cost of my own sanity and productivity at my day job.

    My "time away" from the 'daily' aspect of blogging has been good for me, and will hopefully lead to more thought-provoking pieces about DC rather than just daily bits and pieces.

    If I had nothing else to do but read the local news and comment on it, I'd be happy to update my web site daily with my findings. However, that is unfortunately not a viable career path :)

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  3. Yeah it's too bad... sometimes, I really wish I was a trust fund baby with a conscience and I could spend all my time doing exactly what I wanted without worrying about paying the bills.

    Stupid life, always getting in the way of what I really want to do.

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  4. Personally, I miss the snark. As a relatively new (just over a year now) resident, the wretched self-important attitude most of this city possesses is nauseating. I appreciated this blog knocking everyone down a peg or two.

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  5. No worries, the snark isn't gone forever :P

    Sometimes it's good to take a breather. Believe you me I still get pissed off at people in this town, especially due to the attitude.

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