Rediscovering blogging

I’ve been blogging for more than 15 years now, and even though there have been gaps in output (most notably the current one which is somewhere in the three years region), I’ve always considered myself a blogger.

The last few years saw the emergence of a new kind of writing. Twitter, Facebook and a myriad of other services made it all too easy to forego the trusty blog and just go and take the easy route of throwing something, anything out there. Not a whole lot of thought, not a whole lot of effort, not a whole lot of anything is needed now to publish (and actually have it read – reading and consuming gets easier too once what you consume is bite-sized). It is what’s been heralded as the democratisation of publishing, and it did bring with it the upsides and the downsides associated with a leveled playing field. I, too, saw most of the upsides and disregarded the downsides. Soon the idea of having to write a blog post complete with title, intro, body and ending seemed like insurmountable obstacles to me.

I had forgotten though, that writing, especially mine, really only comes into its own after its been pondered, rewritten, pondered some more, saved as a draft and maybe even entirely deleted (and then written again) before being published.

While I enjoy writing short, pithy statements on Twitter, or posting pictures without context on whatever other platform, I think it’s time to start using this space (and all the other spaces scattered across the web) again and curb my usage of others. I have a feeling it might not be as difficult as I think, especially if I give myself the freedom to actually write things almost as short as I do on Twitter, once in a while.

I’m not promising world shattering insights (I never did post many of those even in the best of times), but I’m vowing to start putting some more effort into my writing. All the built-in motivators that usually push me to use social platforms (likes, replies, upvotes, favs) won’t be bogging me down, because I doubt even a fraction of those who read my tweets will actually stumble upon this place. So, no pressure there (I might be checking my website stats more, though).

In the vein of a rather old blogging tradition, I’ll also not put a whole lot of effort into making my posts not look like walls of impenetrable text. That said, I will post pictures, simply because I like taking and showing them off. Therefore, have a picture before I conclude this post.

image

I’ll leave you with this piece by Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan. He was imprisoned six years ago for blogging and when he was pardoned this year, he realized that blogging (and with it the whole ecosystem) was more or less gone. He’s the Rip van Winkle of blogging, which makes it an intriguing read and a convincing argument to go back to blogging and move away from the walled gardens of social networks.

That time of the year

It’s that time of the year again. You know, that time where lists of what was great, what was awful, what was insignificant, what was most pressing during the last year are published.

I’m not  a fan of this, as I’m generally not a fan of compartmentalizing what we here on earth call our existence. For the simple reason that what we enjoy here, on earth, is too much of an arbitrary thing. We have years, which help us create some sort of order when it comes to ending, say, a fiscal year, but these years don’t really say anything about the way we live and the way we are.

Sure, the last year saw catastrophic things, but it also saw great things. It saw hundreds of thousands of people dying, but it also saw hundreds of thousands of people surviving. It was a year – strictly speaking – like any other.

For most people, it’ll be the end of a bunch of months which culminate in one that sees Christmas and ultimately a bunch of fireworks, champagne and some resolutions which will fade as quickly as they have come into existence.

In the end, it all boils down to this: You should worry about the very small and the very big stuff. The small stuff, like what you’re going to have for dinner, is what keeps you happy. The big stuff, like whether we’re really the only planet with life in the whole of the vastness of the universe, is what keeps your mind open. Everything in between is really quite irrelevant.

So if, during the course of that next year, you feel like you’re having a bad day, think about dinner or the vastness of the universe and it’ll all be alright. I promise.

On distractions

The more avid readers of this website may have noticed a scandalous lack of postings lately. And if there were postings, they were uninspired regurgitations of images, links or, well, nothing much at all.

This has to change. But in order to change it, I first have to find out the reasons for this change in pace.

Thanks to my tremendous introspective skills, I have of course already spotted the culprit: distraction! These days, everything is distracting me:

I’m distracted by things like Twitter, the service that just doesn’t want you to shut up.
I’m distracted by my camera and Flickr, because all they want is for me to shoot photos and upload them for all the world to see.
I’m distracted by the thousands of items Google Reader pushes at me each day, expecting me to go through them at once, lest I want that dreaded ‘100+’ next to the feed, indicating in a shameful way that there are people out there who write things faster than I could ever read them.
I’m distracted by my computer-mouse, because it keeps clicking me through all the above mentioned services, and I keep ending up at places like this, watching people declare their lucid views in professionally produced amateur videos.

And finally I’m distracted by the fact that I’ve forgotten how to end blog posts. That one witty line, that bonmot, that final question that will linger on your mind for the remainders of your day, I just don’t know how to do it anymore.

But it’s all going to change, because I

(succumb to cheap thrills.)

I hope it stays alive

These days, when 90 percent of the comments I receive on here are spam comments (of course not counting the ones already captures by my Spam plugin Akismet), even nice little notes in between links of girth enhancing pills and mortgage plans can make my day.

Like the one I deleted today, where a nice woman not only praised my site, but right before she had added the links to the product she so elegantly tried to market, she wished my site would “always stay alive!”.

And even though her motives were not as pure as one would wish, I did feel flattered.

And that is how pathetic I am.