A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...
Posts tagged "the internet"
For as long as I have wanted to be a writer – and that’s about 40 long years – there was never any part of that dream that included obsessively checking a page of statistics and judging my self worth by the numbers within. I always wrote for the sheer pleasure of it, from putting that first word down to finishing the final edit, writing has always been a labor of love. Recently, it had become just a labor.
So here I am back at my old domain, the one where I started writing publicly (ok, blogging) in 2001, the one where I started telling my stories to the world. I’m taking the majority of my writing away from tumblr, away from the hearts and reblogs, away from the instant validation. I don’t want to labor anymore. I want to love what I write. I want to love why I write.
There are no stats programs here. There is no like button. I will have no idea how many people will read each post. But I will write and I will learn to love to write again.
I was chatting with Michele on Twitter, and she said, “For the first couple of years I blogged I had no idea how many readers I had. And I was better off for it.” It reminded me of Greil Marcus, talking about the early days of Rolling Stone, when they said, “My God, people are actually paying attention to this. Let’s pretend they aren’t.”
If you care about your online presence, you must own it.
In the early days of the social web, there was a broad expectation that regular people might own their own identities by having their own websites, instead of being dependent on a few big sites to host their online identity. In this vision, you would own your own domain name and have complete control over its contents, rather than having a handle tacked on to the end of a huge company’s site. This was a sensible reaction to the realization that big sites rise and fall in popularity, but that regular people need an identity that persists longer than those sites do.
Personal homepages and weblogs have long since faded from the popular trends. They’re no longer hip and nobody’s launching the hot new startup to reinvent them or make them better.
Most of the interest in writing online’s shifted to microblogging, but not everything belongs in 140 characters and it’s all so impermanent. Twitter’s great, but it’s not a replacement for a permanent home that belongs to you.
And since there are fewer and fewer individuals doing long-form writing these days, relative to the growing potential audience, it’s getting easier to get attention than ever if you actually have something original to say.
Carving out a space for yourself online, somewhere where you can express yourself and share your work, is still one of the best possible investments you can make with your time. It’s why, after ten years, my first response to anyone just getting started online is to start, and maintain, a blog.
One day Tumblr will be gone.