Cutting through the bush to find the edge again.
It’s good to be good but it’s even better to be consistent. Being good without consistency is a waste of ability. Being consistent without being good just means that there’s work to do. Blogging is about the daily story — it’s a conversation between you, yourself, and your readers at the water cooler. If you don’t show up for one day we all ask, “Hey, where’s Wade?” If you don’t show up for two days or three days … there is little reason to come back, we’ve moved on to other things, replaced you like a set of dead AAs.
It’s the daily narrative that means something for blogging. It’s not really the information itself that matters — if your site was a collection of informative evergreen articles it would be called a website, not a blog — it’s the story, it’s the relationship. If you show up at 5 am I’ll be there. Every day.
The most important thing for a blogger is to be there: to be there each morning when someone sits down to drink their morning coffee looking to rest their eyes on a story that will provide something to mull over throughout the day.
But it’s this daily commitment that is what’s most difficult about blogging. Without the constant stream of content, the daily meet-up, you really don’t have much. It’s the small details that are the most interesting and significant — the airing out of the laundry. It’s the small details which sets blogging apart from other mediums of writing. You can’t get this close to a person from reading their book … or from subscribing to their articles … or, especially, following their rightfully white washed and sanitized social media accounts. But it’s the small details that get washed out when blogging is done sporadically.
Or at least this is my opinion. The blog is a narrative form that I would enjoy reading, if anyone was actually doing it anymore …
I’m not sure if anyone blogs anymore. I mean, really blogs. Maybe I’m old fashioned? Washed up? Left in the dust?
In fact, I’m not sure if anyone is still even bothering to create online anymore. I’m not sure what would be the point. The double headed viper of Google and Facebook have muted what was once probably the greatest platform for creative expression the world has ever known into a run of the mill, heavily censored, government monitored, corporate bore fest.
We live in very uptight, conservative, moralistic times, and our media reflects this.
When was the last time you read something that challenged you? That taught you? That excited you?
We need a release …
People who are 19, 20 years old don’t understand this. The Internet was a very different beast a decade or two ago. It was a place where people went to explore — almost literally. Our browsers were called things like “Navigator” and “Explorer,” now they’re called “Chrome” and “Edge.” Getting online was like creeping over to the edge of the earth and looking at what laid beyond. Here there be dragons. The horrendous dial up sound would blare and your blood pressure would rise. It was kind of like the feeling you get when going into a sketchy bar or walking around a border town. You just didn’t know what was going to happen. It was a glorious cesspool of opinions, stories, and lifestyles, and when you browsed it there was a good chance that you were going to end up somewhere you’ve never been before.
Back then, the World Wide Web was built by the people — it was kind of an anti-media, if that’s possible, a reaction to the mainstream publishing edifice and all of their censors, giant fences, and representations of whatever the public morality was at the moment.
It’s not like that anymore … but I don’t care.
I remember when I first began blogging. It seemed so fresh, so fun, so cathartic. I got out what I had to get out and people read. There were loads of comments and a real community vibe. At our high water point we were bringing in 5,000 daily visitors. In today’s terms that would be HUGE, but back then it was good, but not that good: the Big G still directed traffic to independent content creators.
We still do alright, bringing in around 2,000 visitors daily … but it’s just not the same.
However, I believe that there will be a resurgence in creative media again online. I may be blogging but it will probably be something else — an app or something. People will always be hungry for knowledge and something different and when we realize that Facebook and Big G search doesn’t give it to us we will go exploring again.
I know there are still people out there who want this. A select group of oddballs, holdovers from another time, perhaps, but they’re out there. You can find them in the comments of this blog.
My goal is to weather out this creative lull and be the last man standing. I will probably just end up standing on my own little island all alone, but I will keep my eyes open for passing ships: a union of independent webmasters, an app which weeds out corporate search results, a resurgence of webrings (remember those?), something which collects independent creators together into something that again takes us over to the edge …
Andy, I challenge you to a duel.
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3679 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii
August 14, 2018, 1:57 pm
at 5am? see u there or here
August 14, 2018, 5:22 pm
Right here 🙂 5 am eastern. That’s the time the newsletter for subscribers goes out.
August 15, 2018, 9:59 am
lol. i manually do everything. move the pre made sections/templates that make up the blog feed on HOME edit the date and time as per GMT. and fetch on google. et voila. lol but then again im not posting 2 weeks in arrears like u. and i dt have Blog Posts per se.
- Trevor August 15, 2018, 9:59 am
- Wade Shepard August 14, 2018, 5:22 pm