A lost medium

The era of blogs is long since gone by, really. Obviously they still exist but it used to be that the only way to share your thoughts – in an age before social media – was a blog. I had one for a decade before finally ditching it sometime in the early 2010s. I think I held on later than a lot of people.

Afterwards, I found Digg, then Reddit. I lauded this new format of communication and sharing of ideas. Instant expression, immediate dialog. But what it turned into for me is a never-ending cycle of negativity and vitriol. You can make the most innocuous of comments or share your opinion in a totally polite and open way, and if you’ve got the wrong audience, they will unleash a torrent of anger and discord on you. No, this isn’t me complaining about being downvoted, this is me complaining about a social media format that rewards groupthink and bullying far more than it promotes open discussion. But the worst part is, it is easy to find yourself drawn into that attitude yourself. You get downvoted when you say something others don’t like, so why shouldn’t you do the same? Someone essentially called you an idiot for your subjective opinion, so this guy with his opinion is totally an idiot too! I am just a regular human and there’s been countless studies to show that regular humans can easily succumb to the pressures of a group. In the end, I spent my time on Reddit getting into arguments and subtly, but clearly, calling people idiots. Not exactly a rewarding way to live your internet life.

“Haha, that’s just the internet,” comes the reply. Maybe that’s the internet now, but that wasn’t always the internet. I used to share my thoughts and not fear someone nitpicking a tiny drop in the ocean of a comment I’ve made. I used to politely disagree with someone but still respect them. I think blogs were a big part of promoting this cordial environment. If you read someone’s blog, you got to know who they were. Their personality, values, thoughts, opinions. If you didn’t like them you didn’t keep reading, but if you kept reading, you came to be interested in their life. And if you cared about a person and their life, it meant you weren’t replying to their entries for the sole purpose of telling them how wrong they are and how much they blow.

I’m sure nostalgia plays a big part in this for me. I won’t deny my glasses are a bit rose-tinted. I know there was weird blogger drama and all that stuff, but somehow I avoided it completely, and my circle of blog friends were never the type to get drawn into that (or to draw me into it either). Maybe it’s foolish to attempt to recapture the feeling that was encapsulated in a dying format. But I think maybe blogging hasn’t died, just shifted its focus. There’s less personal blogs, and more “theme” blogs these days. Cooking blogs, or fashion/beauty blogs, or photography blogs. To me a personal blog can encompass all those things, and frankly, I don’t have enough of a singular interest in any one thing to make a focused, theme blog. I like cooking sometimes. Not all the time. And I’m not good enough at it to show anything off. I’m interested in fashion these days but on the spectrum I’m somewhere down in the “wears pajamas 65% of the time” area. Every couple months, I go into a flurry of taking photographs and making collections of photos for a couple weeks. Then I forget my cameras exist again.

I think the personal blog, where a person shares all these bits of themselves, is something of a lost medium. (Or maybe I haven’t found them? I would love to, if they’re still out there.) And at least for myself, I’m going to bring that back. So, that brings me to here – the present tense.

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