Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

blog death freefall

So many blogs are shutting down. I just heard The Toast is shuttering on July 1. Bookslut has published their last issue. And it seems like I have a hundred blogs all added on my feedly account that haven’t done anything in months, years. It seems like every “blogging is back” article is matched with a dozen soft closings, the authors moving on to whatever the next scheme is.

We’re five and a half months in, and I’ve only posted a dozen times here. I did the back-of-envelope math, and based on number of published posts (1175) divided by number of years (19) divided by 52 times weeks in 2016, I should have like double that. But average in the dead weeks and months of the past, and whatever whatever (shut up about the math Larry, this isn’t a deposition) I should be posting much more.

The reason for all the high-profile shutterings is those are businesses, with a business model and ads and serious attempts at engagement and community and all of the bullshit I do not care about. I was blogging before there was blogging, and in the early/mid 00s when blogging was Serious Business and every single-focus blog was getting book deals, I was still posting about what I ate or read or wanted to write. And most of those blogs died when the ad revenue died, and all of these “veterans” who started in 2010 are now falling away, and I’m still here. Except I haven’t been here. What’s my reason?

I hate blogging now because when I sit down at the wp-admin console and look at the blank screen, I always feel a need to write an “article,” like a full-on Esquire piece. I feel like writing a hundred words about the Lebanese meatballs I had for lunch is somehow “off-brand” or not becoming enough to be a blog post. But when I go back through posts from 2004 or 1996, I realize that’s all I did, and I enjoy going back to see them. I have this feeling that when it’s 2025 and I go back and look at 2016’s entries, I’ll wonder what the hell happened to me.

Is it because of WordPress? I wonder if it is the tool. It’s not the best writing experience anymore; I really dislike the little text editor window on the web page. I bought a copy of Desk and it was interesting, but kept fucking up formatting and could not sync correctly. But aside from authoring tools themselves, there was something different in how doing this by hand in emacs framed things. Like I never had to enter titles before, and I loved that. Just that little difference made spontaneous blogging easier.

I’ve thought about either opening some microblog or switching tools here. That launches me into a spiral of indecision. I don’t like the idea of moving to Tumblr and getting sucked into the politics of the teenagers there; I don’t feel like going to Medium and competing with the New Yorker-wannabe writers there. I want to own my content, and not have to deal with an insane migration path when whatever hosted service gets acquired and then shut down.

I should just get in the habit of coming here, posting something short, and not giving a fuck about the blogosphere or the business of the web, because ultimately, I don’t. But I guess at some level I do, and that’s the rub.


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