Where have all the bloggers gone, some time passing,
Where have all the bloggers gone, so long away,
Where have all the bloggers gone?
Gone to Facebook every one.
When years and fashions turn, they move away.
While the years flow quickly by me, I watch the ebb and flow of how people communicate, of how they relate. As a university student in the '1960s, I wrote letters home to my bemused parents with varying regularity, and employed the one outside line phone in my residence (hanging on a staircase wall) only in case of necessity. (Mom, someone stole my wallet with my train fare home in it, please send money.) In the 1980s, my daughters had phones in their residence rooms, and used them frequently. In the late 1990s we all got email and the heavy letters that crossed the oceans between me and my peripatetic daughters were no longer necessary, nor were the staccato out of country telephone calls, limited by the cost of each precious minute. Now my neighbour checks the progress of her grand kids with Skype, I post photos to the web directly from an i Pad, receive Blue tooth calls from my 40 something kid while she drives home from work and find out what she is doing via Facebook into which she inveigled me. My grandmother would never believe this stuff – she could keep up with what her sisters-in-law were doing by looking across the fields to the next farms.
Equally radical changes have taken place in the provision of news and comment about news in the last sixty some years during which I have paid attention to it. I heard of the death of George VI on the radio that my mother listened to in the kitchen in the mornings. Although I think many people still get their morning news that way, the morning paper that I read over coffee after the kids left for school is dead and gone, the heavily analytical news magazines of my early adult years have morphed into picture books and TV news seems to be a series of sound bytes with little depth or context. The most in-depth stuff I read comes from the computer – news sites, article referrals from friends on Facebook, search results. These information sources are biased toward my own world view because I choose them; they do not provide the balanced coverage the old CBC and PBS reporting allowed. And for detail it is necessary to troll through, for instance, the Township website to find out what is happening to the local fire station. Or hang out at the local community centre to get the latest community reports. Social and local reporting is long, long gone. I am connected to the world through the web.
I have always thought that blogs are a cross between letters and diaries. A good blog has carefully constructed posts, often interspersed with photos and bits of news but still full of information about the person writing as well as that person's situation, activities and interests. The bloggers I followed with joy wrote well and took delight in writing well and had interesting things to say that sprang from their own experience. For a while I was part of a group that was quite analytical about the practise of blogging and the communities it created. Reading around the circle was like reading a really good magazine, with the added benefit of knowing the people writing to the extent that they felt comfortable with letting you into their lives. And most posts trailed a dialogue of comments that were just as good reading as the original post. Blogging was a lot of fun.
Being a good blog writer, however, was also a lot of work and took time. Being a responsive blogger, reading and commenting, also was something that ate time at a great rate. To be part of a blogging community was a commitment, a thing you had to budget time to do, a creative act that took energy and thought. If you were also juggling a young family, a career whether school or job, real life friends and interests, home chores and time for your health, blogging could at times be a chore, something you needed to drop out of from time to time, just to keep all your other commitments. I know I have read many, many posts apologizing for gaps, many comments apologizing for absences, many short and frantic paragraphs composed on the run as space savers, seen many blogs go dark. I've done
these things myself; what keeps pulling me back is an addiction to writing and putting the result out to be read. There are as many reasons people blog as there are people blogging, I am sure, but it seems to me that it is the addiction and the connection that keeps some few of us at it.
Because there are other ways to communicate and connect that are not as time consuming and that fit the newest technology; not just Facebook and Twitter but many more Iphone and Ipad based communication apps that are easy to use. (Hmm. Open Office Writer just turned iPhone into Iphone all on its own. I can't even make my software behave.) People wear little telephones hooked to an ear, or wander around with ear buds jammed into both, oblivious to traffic and other people in the way. Or they live life one-handed, the other holding a phone to their head, They stare at their screens, immersed in their own private worlds.
To be honest, I love the way the world has changed and is changing, I love the new technology, even when it won't behave for me, and I am addicted to Facebook, especially Scrabble on Facebook, no matter how often I lose. It's a lovely community. But it isn't the bloggers' circle that I used to have and still miss, dropout though I may be.
And if I ever manage to learn how to comment from the iPad, and have the damn comment accepted, I'll be all over your comments again.