Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Is Blogging Dead?

Am I at a party that's turned into a wake?

Recently I've heard about blogging's demise ("Facebook and Twitter have taken over," they say. "Blog posts are too long to hold people's interest," they say.) So, I've been re-evaluating my blogging career. Are all the good blogging gigs being shipped overseas? Do I need to post in Mandarin?

I've come to a conclusion: Blogging as a fad is dead, blogging isn't. Here's why: A blog is a place to write, like a notebook or a billboard or a magazine or a postcard. It's also a virtual office, with file cabinets, display shelves, writing tools and folders for research. It's a creative space, like a photography workshop, a painting studio or a practice cubicle.

My mom had a big closet she turned into her sewing room. Pictures of the latest fashions hung on the walls, fabric was piled in colorful stacks, threads and bobbins perched on pegs. An ironing board leaned against a file cabinet stuffed with patterns and all sorts of sewing paraphernalia: measuring tapes, cutting wheels, rick-rack and bias tape. Mom was an organized and gifted seamstress, but this room would not have been featured in an issue of Where Women Create. Hers was a workshop. Pajama sleeves were in progress, along with mending projects and home-ec assignments. I'm sure Mom saw some spacious sewing rooms and compared them to hers. Maybe she envied new equipment, commissions for wedding gowns, time spent sitting at a Pfaff, accolades for talent. (I know for a fact her oldest daughter didn't give her the appreciation she deserved.) But shutting down her sewing room was not an option. It's where she did her sewing, where she stashed her sewing stuff. It was her creative space.

I visit other blogs, see how imaginative they are, how artistic and witty, count the advertisers who trust their skill, read comments by the dozen. What's the point of my daily meandering in this blogosphere of expertise? Who's reading it? Should readers even be the reason I write? I understand why bloggers are shutting down: their blog feels like a closet at the back of the house, and nobody cares what they're doing back there.

Thinking about blogs woke up my gratitude for this little place I've created. Stuffed in my blog are organized piles of my life's paraphernalia:
  • Accounts of who I am, where I've been, where I'm going.
  • Facts I'd tell a new friend.
  • Facts old friends already know.
  • How I've felt from day to day about my experiences.
  • What I've learned from them.
  • What I want to remember.
  • Talents I'm discovering and plans for using them.
  • Advice I can't share any other way.
  • What I'd tell my psychiatrist.
  • Hidden jewels from my childhood.
  • A written record of our family.
  • My knowledge of truths about God.
  • A collection of my anecdotes.
  • Stories about my ancestors.
  • Trip diaries.
  • Lists of goals.
I could go on and on, (and if you check my archives, you'll see I have.) These are the Brass Plates of Oma: my anthology is available to my posterity forevermore. It's already an organized resource for pioneer stories, family factoids, photos, vacation memories, tips, dates, names and lesson materials. Sure, it's rambling, boring, full of too much information, but so is every library. Workshops have dust and wood chips laying around, but does that make the furniture any less valuable? My blog—your blog—is a treasure house.

Oma's Blog Boosters
  1. Don't compare my blog to others. I'm unique and so are they.
  2. Don't judge the success of my blog by the numbers.
  3. Tour my blog occasionally to see what gems I've collected.
  4. Take a break from writing when I need to. (Who cares, really??) It'll still be there when I come back.
  5. When my blog feels like a nag, set it aside, but don't question it's value.

My blog is a place where I gather, assemble, evaluate, ponder, wonder, brag, whine, remember, worry, chat, work, organize, practice and learn. It's mine.

As a blogger, I boldly declare: Blogging is Not Dead. Blogging is a living, breathing, vital pursuit, dedicated to enlightening the past, energizing the present, and enriching the future.


Heather P said...

I really hope it isn't dead. But who am I kidding? I would blog even if nobody read it. I feel exactly the same way about it that you do. Thanks for this wonderful post. :)

Polly said...

i've never blogged for anybody but me and maybe somebody down the road when I'm gone who might be interested in the things I thought. I love reading my mother's and grandmother's journals. This is just a more colorful, fun, easy way to put down daily thoughts with pictures of what went on in my life and my family's life. So my blog won't die until I do!

~Kristina said...

Cheers to that! Blogging is not dead.

Kari said...

This post reflects my thoughts on blogging exactly. I recently did a little self evaluation with regards to why I blog. After some thought and a small hiatus I realized that, first and foremost, I blog because I enjoy writing. As long as I enjoy it, I'll keep blogging. :)

Diane said...

Amen. Frankly, it's a relief to have blogging not a big fad anymore.

I read a variety of blogs - ones that I have things in common with on different levels. It adds enrichment to my life. I've cut back, and don't read just anything anymore. But I still enjoy discovering a new blog here and there that gives me something more to think about in life.

marta said...

good post, oma. just what i needed to read. thanks for always bringing around the good ol' truths. xo.

sarah said...

I've been thinking the same thing lately...but I love Polly's comment! Exactly the reason why I blog so Im going to push through this dead phase and keep blogging!

Jenny P. said...

You've managed to say exactly how I've been feeling lately. When I start to doubt my blog's worth, all I have to do is go back and read through my archives to see how much I've written down that I most certainly would have forgotten otherwise. Lovely, lovely post.

Heffalump said...

This is a great post! I have a lot of bloggy friends that have decided to call it quits.
I think that especially people who are interested in comments and such can get all the pats on the back they need by posting on Facebook.
I read a lot of blogs. I don't always comment, but I do read. Thanks for being you!

Grammy T. said...

Thanks Oma, loved your post. I find that I blog best when I am not swamped with life. But I always seem to come back for more writing and reading when life calms down. The one post that I did on Aunt Kate's story of her wedding day being the most unhappy day of her life, gets read every week from all over the world. The readers Google "unhappy wedding day" and find that story. That is a telling search I think. Blogging is to good to be dead. :)

Misty said...

As always, your post amazed me and managed to say what I feel but could never say the same way. Mabe it's my narcissism, but I love reading my own past posts. Seeing how much my babies have grown - and seeing how much I have grown is really fulfilling for me. Thanks for this awesome post!

Christie said...

This is IT! It's exactly what I've been feeling, but haven't, as usual, known how to articulate. Long love the blog!

Rhonda said...

as much as I love Twitter and FB is okay...I love blogging more. It's a place where I can put down my thoughts and ideas and ponder things, and I know that sometimes my posts make absolutely no sense, but they help me and really that's why I started the blog.

Soul-Fusion said...

this is very inspriational. While I miss the earlier days of blogging when it felt like new friendships were being formed, I now feel like I need to keep doing it to maintain some disciplined writing. Thanks for spelling it all out so clearly. In the beginning it wasn't about comments. I need to remember that it still isn't about comments or views or links, it is about my own viewpoint, even I'm the only one who reads it.

Tokeloshe said...

Great post!

I love your Blog!
Blogger's Rock!
Keep on Blogging!