2015-02-18

Blog Ist Tot

I've been using the Blogger platform for I don't know how many years now. Years, anyway. I cannot tell you the last time I noticed a genuinely positive change to the platform. In fact, I don't even think I could tell you about any negative changes to the platform, either. Blogger has remained virtually unchanged for at least two years.

Compare that to Facebook application updates, which are fairly regular. It might not be a fair comparison, but the fact of the matter is that Blogger is a "social medium," and so there is at least some comparability to Facebook.

Anyway, the point is that Blogger as a Google application is either suffering from severe neglect, or blogging itself is slowly dwindling into nothingness. It its heyday, bloggers would cross-reference each other, quote each other, respond in comments sections, and argue, argue, argue! It was great fun. I even dabbled in that, myself, as I'm sure you've noticed (if you're even still following my blog).

But these days, all of that is long gone. My favorite blogs have all more or less become stale. It's not that there isn't anything to talk about, it's that no one is interested in talking about it on blogs. Or, more to the point, no one is interested in reading about it on blogs. Maybe they're watching it on TV, or on YouTube channels (although I doubt that, too). Maybe they're "tweeting." Maybe they're discussing it on Quora, or some other social medium that provides more real-time interaction among holders of opinion.

In any even, blogging has gone the way of the Podcast: Once mighty, it has fallen into the darker corners of the internet. The few who continue to indulge in blogging are facing dwindling audiences and low inspiration.

To summarize: blogging is dying, and the fact that Google is neglecting its primary blogging platform is evidence of this fact. I don't think this is contestable, so I guess the only thing left to do is to ask why.

One reason might be that people are facing "opinion fatigue." If you pull up Facebook, there is everyone's opinion, right there on your phablet screen. If you pull up Google+, there it is again. Quora? There it is in questions and answers. TV? Yep, every news program gives you 30 seconds of facts and twenty-one-and-a-half minutes of opinion. You open a magazine, and there it is again. You want to kill some time by reading Slate or something, and there it is all over: opinion. Opinion gives way to dispute and dispute becomes argument, and all you wanted to do was say some passing comment like, "Wow, Kanye West is a real dick," and suddenly you got sucked into a debate about the extent to which your comment is a form of microaggression.

God, exhausting, right? Might as well catch up on some old episodes of Weeds, or whatever it is on Netflix that has nudity and enough of a story line to convince everyone that it's okay to watch it without having to say that you're only watching it for the nudity.

I mean, it's not a sure thing. There may be other reasons why people aren't interested in blogging. Maybe it's just that this younger generation, whoever they are, are we up to Generation Z now, or do we have to go back to W? just isn't interested in long-form commentary. Three pages!? YUCK! But they still have to do homework, right? Which means they can read...

Besides, it's not just opinion blogs that people are running away from. Nobody reads fishing blogs, either. Or travel blogs. Or anything like that. Basically, they just skip the part where you write about your feelings, and they follow you directly on Instagram, where you're posting the pictures, which is why they decided to read your travel blog in the first place.

This seems to imply that reading someone else's inner thoughts and opinions is just about as interesting as hearing someone tell you about the recurring dream they have, where they're waiting at a bus stop and an old guy comes up to them and says something innocuous like Hi, Sally, I like your umbrella today, but for some reason you get totally freaked out and the next thing you know you're eating salad at a cheap restaurant and Randy is there, but he can't see you for some reason so you decide to go to a baseball game...

Et cetera.

We've navel-gazed ourselves into a corner. There's nothing left to opine about, because everyone's already more-or-less heard all the angles by now. Unless you're a truly original thinker, it's unlikely you have that much more to say about Federal Reserve policy that hasn't already been said by your Econ 101 professor by now. And by "you" I mean "me" and by "me" I mean "nobody is actually reading this, so who cares if I ascribe to the reader thoughts that have only occurred to myself?"

Speaking of which, I am utterly certain that hackers in Russia - and possibly a number of shady pornography companies - have been using my domain or blog somehow to do something nefarious. I know this because every day I get hundreds if not thousands of blog hits from shady pornographic websites and IP-routing services, even though nobody - and I mean nobody - is reading my blog anymore.

So there's that.

Also: Some of you may recognize shades of dadaism in this blog post. This is unintentional.

Those last two sentences, if you didn't catch it, are a kind of intellectual joke. The whole point of dadaism was to use nonsense to convey artistic expression. It was kind of ironic. But it can't be ironic if it's delivered unintentionally. In other words, there is a big difference between Banksy and some schizophrenic guy who makes a stencil of J. Edgar Hoover's shoe print and spray-paints it on every random public space he comes across. You expert practitioners of dadaism are already correcting me in your heads: No, actually, Ryan, that's outsider art! GET IT RIGHT! But screw those guys. It's my joke and I'll tell it how I like it, and here's how I like it: I'm not Banksy, I'm the dude with the stencil, and I'm running out of space.

And so are you. And so are we all. That's why blogging is dead.