Do you remember when blogging was a new thing?
I remember thinking, "Why are they calling it blogging? Homepage journaling, yes. Web logging, okay. But blogging? Ugh. Hope that term never catches on..."
I've been posting on Blogger for well over a decade now, and the only thing that has kept me going is the thought that someone, somewhere might find some of it interesting or even useful. And apparently many have. Way back, when it was my I-Am-Posting-Anything-Completely-Random-That-Comes-To-Mind platform, this blog was, according to Google, the number one place that people visited to find out how to untangle necklaces. Number one, as in, the entire world. What had happened was, while working in the jewelry business, I frequently encountered fine chains that had been hopelessly knotted up; and I'd created a simple procedure that worked rather well and so I wanted to share how I did it. I photographed the steps with my first-ever digital camera and posted it online. Over the weeks that followed I began getting emails from all over the world. "Thank you soooo much! You helped me untangle my daughter's necklace that we'd given up on." "Wow, that really worked. Best regards from Canada." I was amazed. Who knew that one post could help out so many people? And there were several subsequent posts that generated responses like that. It was great.
As time wore on, businesses discovered blogging, and with lots of money becoming involved, things began to shift. I first noticed it when I'd come across "blogs" that were made up of stolen content, or even nonsense content in order to gain ad revenue. About the same time, spambots started posting responses, causing blogging platforms to create a frustrating maze of captchas and other "I am human" verifications that made it a pain to interact with other bloggers.
Books on how to profit at blogging proliferated, and Search Engine Optimization was a hot topic in marketing meetings. Everyone had advice on how to blog. "Only use Wordpress." "Use headlines with Top Ten Facts and bullet points." "Keep posts to around 300 words." Suddenly everyone and their uncle had started blogs, because, well, that's what you were supposed to do.
The internet is littered with these half-hearted efforts. Some have an explanation: "Sorry everyone, but I just don't have the time to blog anymore. Join me on Facebook at...." But many just stop. It's a bit eerie. Did something happen to the writer? Did they sprain their wrist playing an especially competitive game of air hockey? Did a meteorite fall on them while they sat on the couch? In the absence of information, my imagination goes wild.
As for my own absence: I didn't have a meteorite fall on me, but I have experienced a Series of Unfortunate Events that caused my health to falter for the last several months. Nothing too serious, thankfully, but it was enough to make me lose my online "ooomph", as it were.* All I can say is, I have a newfound respect for those who continue to find the bandwidth to interact with others despite chronic illness. I don't know they do it.
Another bit of advice on blogging, and it's perhaps the most useful bit, is to keep consistent when posting. I think it has something to do with search algorithms, but it also has something to do with human nature. If you find a blog that you like, and but it only publishes in fits and starts, you may find yourself losing interest or even forgetting that you subscribed to it in the first place.
Even though much of the world has moved on from blogs, and now subsists mostly on soundbites and video clips via social media platforms, I will strive to continue to post to this blog. I like writing, I like sharing, and while I'm not always as consistent as I should be, I plan to keep it going for at long as I can.
I'll just try to avoid any meteorites by regularly checking SpaceWeather.com.
(Apocalyptic image courtesy of NASA artist Don Davis)
*In succession: two weeks of influenza, then two and a half months of a pertussis-like virus that had me coughing til I threw up, then migraines, then another cold, then a case of stomach flu. The warranty on my immune system must've expired this year.