I was punting this site out to a couple of chums on Facebook when I was asked a very interesting question.
Does anybody read blogs anymore?
My initial thoughts were "don't know, don't care, as long as I like writing it then it's all good" but it got me to thinking which is something I do on occasion. At the risk of sounding like some half demented old fart complaining about how things were better in the old days I remember really enjoying mooching around the Internet and reading blogs. I know there are still millions out there (mostly abandoned, often unread, some still passionately cared for, and man but not enough successful) but I can't help wondering if the never ending destruction of the human attention span is winning out in the war for our attention.
Facebook is a good case in point. At best it's a wonderful way of keeping in touch with folks from distant shores and even better at keeping you in touch with people you kind of like but don't really want to meet up with in person for whatever reason. At worst it's a repository for every single brain fart (and apparently meal) that a user has. I do realise blogging is much the same but a blog, to me at least, allows for someone to better explain their thoughts or ideas. You can stretch out a bit, enjoy throwing the words around safe in the knowledge it doesn't really matter if anyone reads it or not. Sometimes creation is its own reward after all. But on Facebook you feel obliged to keep it short and sweet, I know that for myself anything too wordy instantly gets the 'TL/DR' treatment on FB. Not only that but there are likes to consider, did anyone share it? Would I have been better just posting yet another picture of my dinner or my pet doing nothing terribly interesting? We're all guilty of that sort of thing and it's a crying shame because so much more time is spent reading the inane drivel we all spew on Facebook rather than putting just a touch of effort into reading something which most likely actually took effort to create.
As if Facebook wasn't bad enough we then took to Twitter in our droves. I do have an account there but it's not heavily used and in truth I mostly signed up to stop people doing it on my behalf (that was only partially successful). With Twitter you have to break it down to a tiny, meagre amount of text. Some claim it encourages brevity and forces you to be succinct. I don't subscribe to that. I believe it encourages people to post 140 characters of bullshit and make it as sensationalist as they possibly can. Often ramming it full of short codes to some article with a "YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT" headline to further fire up the already highly strung Twitterati. No matter what happens on earth millions of Twitter users will instantly be offended and shit the bed en masse. But only using 140 characters or less, of course because when you're a paranoid drama junkie brevity is terribly important.
Before I sound too bitter and twisted I'm more than aware of all the positive aspects that have come from these sort of sites. It's just that I long for a time - which wasn't all that long ago - when a couple of pages for an article wasn't all that long. When we would be interested in bloggers and blogging, when we didn't care what they ate for dinner unless a good story came with it. Storytelling is in our genes, it's a fascinating aspect of human nature, and we're losing it slowly but surely in an age of instant gratification. I'm pretty new to blogging for the most part but I do enjoy writing and I'm well aware this site of mine may never amount to much and perhaps be read by only a handful of people but that'll do. And I promise I won't post a picture of my dinner or ever link to anything on Upworthy. I make no such promises about pet pictures though.
Right, I'm actually going to eat my dinner now although I must admit I wish I hadn't mentioned Upworthy, that's enough to put you off.