Community

I’ve been blogging for five years.  In blogging years, that’s what, 130? 

This quote from Dean Dad really resonated with me when I read it (it’s from his 10/15/2010 post, but I can’t get a permalink to work):

“Some of the topics had never been discussed candidly in public before, and while the efforts often wore the awkwardness of first drafts, they also carried the energy of discovery. Those early flame wars got as heated as they did because they felt like they mattered.

Since then, the blogosphere has evolved and fragmented. Facebook and Twitter came along and sent conversations in different directions, and after a few years, many of the “I’ve always wanted to write about this” topics had been written about. That’s not to deny that nifty writers still come along, but the sense of a ‘scene’ has faded. I have to admit reading far fewer blogs than I used to, and being surprised somewhat less often than I once was.”

I think that is the best summary that I can come up with about how I feel about blogging these days.  I started out as a member of the IF community, and that is still my primary community.  But the blogs I visit now tend to be parenting after infertility or writers who have chosen (choice being a less-than optimal description in some cases) to live child-free.  I tend to gravitate to writers who are most like me: grad students, attachment parents, breastfeeding advocates, the deconverted, seekers after something more than the life that is already present.  I add few new blogs to my feed these days — my reader is filled with people who I have “known” for years.

It may be a provincial attitude, but I’ll be honest: I tend to move away from bloggers who “go commercial.”  I don’t like waiting on the lag time for posts to load from sites filled with ads, I don’t particularly like giveaways or samples or product endorsements.  And more often than not, after a blogger publishes a book, their voice changes.  ALL of our voices change over time, I know, but there is something about bloggers-turned-authors that is consistently different enough to turn me off.  I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is, but it’s there. 

As for Twitter?  It makes my head hurt.  I have an account so I can look up the occasional reference from a friend, but I have not posted the first tweet (and do not plan to).  I don’t have enough time in the day to actively participate in that kind of conversation, and I don’t have the mental resources to tease out the threads after the fact.  I know, I know.  Next thing you know I’ll be yelling at those kids to get off my lawn and threatening them with my cane. 

The community is so very different than when I started writing.  At that point, Stirrup Queens didn’t even exist (if that dates me to you youngsters) — Julie and Tertia were pretty much the major players.  I came in at the cusp just after Getupgrrl rode off into the sunset, but close enough that everyone still quoted her.  In some ways I think it is better for people who are just now joining the community because there are SO many more resources.  But that necessarily means that the community is not as close.  I don’t know any more if my readers are reading the same people I am so that we can have one conversation, or if I make an oblique reference that will be completely missed.

There are voices that I miss so much: Niobe, Manuela, Flicka, Aurela, Farah, DD, Watson, LIW, Artblog … some of them made a formal break, some just trailed off into nothingness.  I keep their links open, just in case, in the hope that they might someday pop back in.  In some ways, I feel like I lost little parts of myself when they went away, little bits of my heart that I had shared with them through this intangible electronic connection. 

Change is inevitable, and evolution moves us forward.  But sometimes, I wish things would just stay the way they were when they were new to me.

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6 thoughts on “Community

  1. I just want to tell you that I’ve so loved reading you more this month. Thank you for coming back and writing things down.

    This is a great post, and I’m with you on it in so many ways. I also miss the writers that have moved on or left their story hanging on an unsuspecting last post. I, too, feel that the blog scene has changed so much.

    It’s a strange relationship I feel I have with these blogs and the writers behind it. I know and care about them without ever having met them.

    Like I said before, Sharah, I’m glad you are back. I’m glad you are still here. I hope you keep writing from here on out. You were one of my very first blog friends, and as strange as that sounds, it means something to me.

  2. DD’s still writing! She’s been through a couple of new blogs and is currently at Mama Said Knock You Out. Can’t recall if she’s gone PW or or partial PWP. Manuela has been on FB only for 1-2 years and I think Niobe’s under a new blog, too…or did she recently close it? I can’t recall. If you have the time/inclination I’d check out the closed blog list on Stirrup Queens.

    I know what you mean, though. I find it difficult to make new connections now that the community is so much larger. And there are days that I don’t think I want to make those connections.

  3. Aurelia is on twitter, a lot. I can’t do twitter, I completely empathise with you on that, but you could follow her there and get some sense of what she’s up to.

    I agree with you about the space, I think we’ve all had some version of this post. Thanks for coming back!

  4. Some of those names are so familiar even to me who hasnt been around that long. I did see Niobe commenting somewhere recently although with no blog link. DD is around too. I follow Aurelia’s tweets and there are many! It is sad to see things change and move on but inevitable I suppose.

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