Blogger Jack Maden finds out the hard way that when it comes to blogs there aren’t all that many people interested in what you have to say. Does anyone care besides the blogger?
The larger my bubble of experience grows the more I am beginning to realise that nobody really cares about anyone’s opinion but their own (thus the hilarious irony of this piece – and of all opinion pieces everywhere).
This realisation fully set in when I – tentative and terrified – decided to start a blog. How nervous I was for the big live opening of me, as my mouse hovered over the ‘Publish Now’ button of my first post. How is the world going to react to this fiery new perspective on society? How soon will I be acknowledged as a champion of sharp, cutting, controversial social commentary?
Well, after a week of obsessive statistical analysis – one new page view, oh my god oh my god! Oh that was me – I can tell you the world was taking rather a while to notice this cool character that’d freshly burst onto the blogging scene.
Indeed, a month went by and about 90% of page views were mine – the remaining 10% being by friends who I had at first confided in and then essentially forced to view and ‘like’ my posts, which were appearing both less enthusiastically and less frequently.
Sadly – a shame for all humanity – my blog was dying.
It seems to happen a great deal. I read somewhere recently (probably completely untrue, but hey it’s the internet) that dead, inactive blogs make up around 50% of the internet – an elephant graveyard of emotional, social and deeply personal outpourings left abandoned in URL wastelands.
But why? – why do people make them, only to then abandon them?
Well, firstly, social-networking breeds narcissism. Think of the hours spent editing your MySpace, Bebo, facebook – ooh this charcoal background makes me look so edgy. Well the next step on from that, if you think the internet doesn’t really have enough you in it already, is blogging.
We crave for the world to know our views – to admire us for our views – and blogging seems like a great modern vehicle to convey these views.
But whilst blog sites like Tumblr and Blogspot provide awesome services in that they are free and easily accessible, they also provide their users with a false sense of ‘oh my God everyone on the internet will see this and I will be famous’ by showcasing successful blogs and pretending that once you publish a post, ripples will spread throughout the blogging community: this doesn’t happen.
Instead, you sit there tending the pathetic adrenaline rush caused by the latest press of the ‘Publish Now’ button alone. Nobody notices let alone cares that you’ve just updated your blog: networks in blogging communities are lacklustre and you’ll never come up in search engines. And so a sense of crushing embarrassment and self-conscious shame soon grows in the pit of your stomach, as you blush at a screen that displays your glaring, pointless, unread ponderings.
There is only one road that may muster up a few page views: self-promotion. The shameful, hateful road of self-promotion.
When you started out with your blog you never saw yourself posting links to it in facebook statuses or in tweets, but from innocent social commentator you find yourself transformed into a desperately annoying spammer: check out my latest post! Who needs the Guardian when you’ve got me! Freelance journalism in its purest form! Yeah!
But this gets tiresome, and often your peers are not the intended audience for your words anyway. So, you think ‘oh what’s the bloody point’ and give up. Or, like me, you start a bitter parody-blog that aims to satirize the most lol-gay elements of blogging (instagrammed photos, recycled quotes used to appear individual, cool words like ‘Existential’ in bold / italics) to pretend you were never silly enough to buy into the whole thing in the first place.
So, what has my blogging experience taught me?
- The internet can make you self-obsessed: indeed, I recall all those wasted hours refreshing the ‘Statistics’ page of my blog, only to discover that my most dedicated follower was in fact myself.
- By joining a blog site you do not become part of a community of thoughtful people who wish to know your opinion, you merely make your own hysterical solitude public.
- There are seven billion opinions on earth – yours doesn’t matter (sorry fellow Opinion writers).
- And, it’s been a long time coming, but I think I’ve finally worked out what’s cool (hence this article): cynicism.