The Loneliness of the Long Distance Blogger

bloggerWent through a site redesign..not as fancy as it seems. It just involved picking a theme from WordPress’ featured ones and clicking “Install.” The result is a simple minimalist blog based on the theme “Twenty Twelve.”

The reason for the redesign was that WNI has more and more become just my personal blog rather than the community hangout I had once envisioned. Dear friends like Isheeta Sanghi (who I know only through her posts but I feel I know well!) pop in once in a while to post, but mostly is I, me, and myself who posts. It feels more efficient to collect all my writing in one place. In fact, I even plan to create a section for all my India Current editorials here and link back to the magazine. It’s just better curating.

Anyway, the heads up on the redesign was just part of the reason for this blog post. While updating it I was sorry to remove the names and bios of the many people who contributed to the site when it was younger. They got busier and softly walked away. And when I checked the blogs I had linked to, most were defunct.

These writers and bloggers began their journey on the internet with such enthusiasm and hope. The medium of the blog was their deliverance from their humdrum daily routines, a place to be their best creative self, a launchpad for a richer inner life.

But keeping a blog going, as I can vouch for, takes quite a bit of work, and not a little narcissism. And those dreams of making money through eyeballs never really materialized for anyone not outrageous or shameless (that means you, HuffPo).

Right at the point where bloggers were wondering whether the sweat they were pouring into these confessions was worth it, along came Facebook and Twitter and offered sweet validation in 30 words, 140 characters. One picture could generate the kind of commenting 4 paragraphs in a blog could not. One-liner announcements or provocations could start the kind of vigorous discussions that well-reasoned essays never did.

When long form journalism is hunkering down for survival in a handful of national newspapers and magazines, when even seasoned economists and philosophers have taken to encapsulating their ideas in bite size chunks, can a lowly blogger survive in his or her lonely corner of the internet?

I feel the wheel has come full circle. When blogs first began, they were web logs, or online diaries that people maintained to preserve a record of their personal growth. And in the future, the only true blogs, and I mean those that are not selling something or someone, that will continue that mostly solitary journey are of those of the very same nature, perhaps even by the same people, who will use the medium to put themselves and their lives out there, and readership be damned. The only readers they are writing for are their own future selves and that is one audience that will never desert them.

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