Post-emergent blogging since Aug 2003
:( I'm sad, too. Started a post I was excited about just a day or two ago. Got partway in and thought to myself, "Who cares? Why am I writing this? Who's reading? And why does it matter, anyway?" I have quite a few drafts sitting there for the same reason.I don't want to give up yet... but I'm having difficulty finding words for that space.
Marc, I feel sad too, not least because it feels like I'm always arguing and disagreeing with you in your space, rather than being encouraging and building you up. Maybe it's me, and my need for things to be *right* that won't won't let me just say "great post, thank you" and leave it at that when I don't agree.At the same time it's really hard to find things to write that are going to build up a group of people you're pastoring without creating a 'church blog'. A year back I'd almost stopped blogging, and the move & subsequent releasing of leadership has given me a *feeling* of freedom that I've not had for a long time. That may say a lot about me, but curiously, a lot of the guys who are still part of Heyford Park Chapel feel like family these days, and I think would cope OK with much of what I'd want to say, even if they didn't agree with all of it.
While doing maintenance on my blog I noticed a tremendous number of dead links. Surprisingly these often to now defunct blogs, ones I'd mentioned in posts, or from comments. I did find this sad.I used to follow a lot of blogs, but there's only a very few of those I read back '04-07 that are still running.
The irony is that I feel like the work I am doing now *should* create more opportunity for blogging without it becoming a "church blog." I had a colleague complete my sentence: I said, somewhat jokingly in reference to local ministry, "When in Rome...", which he completed with "...live like a prophet." I thought in the midst of the joke, he made a pretty good point. Yet we live in an age in which correcting people can be perceived as "bursting people's bubbles" and as an unnecessary thing to do as long as faith is sincere. And so I avoid, for example, saying something about the latest "Christian" movie craze. *sigh* But then perhaps a blog isn't the place to be "prophetic."
While doing some blog maintenance, I found lots of dead links, which were of course pointing to no defunct blogs, either ones I'd reference in posts or ones belonging to folks who had commented on my blog.Blogging has been declining, in terms of the breadth of what we used to call the blogosphere, since 2009. For a lot of people sharing via social media, especially Facebook, just made more sense. But, lately another trend has kicked in, as people feel really fragmented, spreading themselves too thin across too many platforms.
Fern - you're right that blogging has been 'yesterdays fad' for the last 5 years, and I wonder if a part of the decline, like that of G+, has to do with it becoming increasingly a marketing tool. Business promotion actually driving people away?Marc - I guess the place to be prophetic is where the people who need to hear the message are. That's Jonah's 'other' message. But sure, even I suffer from not wishing to burst bubbles. No-body wants to hear correction, everyone has to be right in their own eyes, approved and affirmed that they are correct in whatever they do, even when their conscience is struggling in vain to be heard. I'm sure other people are like this, as well as me. ;-)Christian movies make me sick. Lets set up a false situation, dangle people emotionally and then provide a miraculous/wonderful/astonishing/nameyoursuperlative happening for the attractive hero/heroin who turns to Jesus, while the bad guy who was secretly sinning gets his cumuppance. They apparently work for some people. When I've had to sit through some extraordinarily ill-chosen films, I've ended up having F*** F*** F*** running round my head and come away wanting to hit people. Really.I don't have much that's charitable to say about such things. You also won't find The Shack anywhere on my bookshelves for similar reasons. But some Christians seem to thrive on a diet of made-up stories: one only needs to look at historical church tradition to see that, and even to an extent the charismatic movement from the 70s and 80s.I'd better do some work before I say something I'll regret.
By the way, something I have noticed is that over the last few months my blog traffic has increased from around 80-100 hits per day to 100-300 hits per day. It might be that there's simply more robots out there, but the level of spurious comments is slightly down too. It may not be significant, and I'll likely not see the days of 800-1000 hits coming back, but it is a change.
Toni - I feel like the professionalisation of blogging drove a lot of bloggers away, or perhaps more specifically, discouraged them. I spoke to a fair few bloggers who quit because they weren't getting enough numbers, couldn't monetise their blogs, all these reasons that simply wouldn't have occurred to us pre-2007 bloggers. It was as if a new set of pressure to justify blogging had kicked in.
Fern, I wonder if the professionalism of bloggers prevented people from making meaningful connections, and that's what drove a lot away. While Facebook is frequently stupid & trivial, it also tends to show much more of the reality in people's thinking. While that may often be repugnant, it's also much more real and may explain the success of that platform in the face of others that might have been even more popular. This may be the success factor that hasn't been understood by the world at large.I think Ello is already shaping up to be like G+, but I hope by getting in a bit earlier it will be possible to help shape that place a little more.
Yes, I'm not sure it stops people from making meaningful connections as much as it makes is all feel harder, to high stakes, so to speak. What I saw happen when Facebook took off was a lot of bloggers choosing to share there. I strongly feel that for many people Facebook (& to a lesser extent Tumblr) were just better suited to what most people want to share and worked in a way that made sharing easier.
Fern, having thought about this a bit more, yes, I think it DOES stop *most people* from making meaningful *personal* connections. They will connect, but it will be professionally instead of relationally: out there, rather than in here. I can count on the fingers of one hand those who I have known professionally who have any deeper relationship, and even then, the past professional history sometimes places firm and distinct boundaries.Yes, I'd agree that Facebook, maybe Tumblr too, have interfaces and make connections that are better suited to ordinary people making ordinary comments and posting links to stuff. And as you suggest too, a lot of people who were blogging now just use Facebook, including those who would blog about much deeper and more significant things than would be suitable for that environment. Maybe blogging was a fad after all, that a few of us continue with because we've been slow to catch on?
Play nice - I will delete anything I don't want associated with this blog and I will delete anonymous comments.