Tuesday, October 12, 2010

so, what is a blog?

i have a few blogs on my reader that have changed over the year or so that i've been following them. i found them, usually accidentally, when i began blogging and kept them because something about them inspired me. normally, when i follow blogs, it's because something about the way that writer writes that makes me think, helps me connect, or makes me feel like i know them on a deeper level.

this can be someone i know or don't know, but most of the time it's someone that i don't know. 

this was before facebook exploded into what it is now, before social media became something to use for financial gain, before the idea of sponsored tweets, before you sort of had to look around every bloggy corner to figure out who was sponsoring this message.

(this blog post is being sponsored by the letter R and the number 9, just because they're my favorites.)

now, i find that some of the blogs that i found most compelling are...empty.  they're sponsored, and coded, and full of business.  and while i know there's a place for that, and i appreciate that there is a place for that, and i even encourage the place for that in some circumstances, i feel it's like in some ways it's going to lunch with a girlfriend and getting a sales pitch.  it seems like the wrong place and the wrong time. it feels...duplicitious.

"take it off your google reader then, teachergirl. what's the big deal?"

i'm not sure. i'm not sure what i'm waiting for, except maybe for these bloggers that once could take a snapshot of their lives and paint it in such stirring detail to realize that shilling for sponsors isn't what got them readers. i keep waiting for someone to recognize that roots are roots for a reason and that constantly reading a sales pitch isn't interesting.  i keep waiting for them to come to their senses.

but the longer it goes, and the more it seems to be happening, the more i am beginning to think that perhaps i am operating under a definitional mismatch. perhaps my definition of what a blog is--a little (public, semi-public, or private) place to carve out your own creativity, to find your voice, to share with those who are interested what you're thinking and feeling about life, family, what dreams may come--is just not what it is anymore. 

this saddens me, perhaps because it just seems like there's no place left that isn't commercial, that isn't a place where we can be bought and sold.  blame the phd, but this poem comes to mind:

THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
          Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
          Little we see in Nature that is ours;
          We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
          The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
          The winds that will be howling at all hours,
          And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
          For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
          It moves us not.

i'm far from perfect in this capacity--i am more focused on the trappings of life sometimes than on the substance. but when the little piece of the world that we've carved out for ourselves stops looking like us and starts looking more like a catalog of potential wholesalers, that bothers me.  it just bothers me.  i'm not saying it's right or it's wrong--just that it rubs against me in some imperceptible way that even i don't truly understand.

i miss the small snippets of life that i used to get. i miss the snapshots of hope. i miss the things that would make me think that, in this small way, i am not alone. 

and none of this really matters much.  i'm sending it off into my little space, where the vast majority of people who read do so because they know me and aren't affected at all by what i am highlighting. the big bloggers that do this don't read me. and perhaps that's the problem.  they don't read the bloggers who read them.  they are too big, too grand, too popular.  and  i am sending this out into a relatively quiet space where, really, i don't think it will really be noticed.  that's okay.

maybe for those of you who do read, be aware that the loyal readers you have are loyal readers for a reason.  don't sell them out for 2 cents a page hit and a box of laundry detergent.  you're just...better than that.

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