I haven’t been blogging forever–it’s only been something like 2 and a half or 3 years. Of course I read blogs long before that, and got to know people’s online written presentations of themselves pretty well. Blogs were where introverted wordy nerds got to blow off some steam in the most sympathetic way possible–in writing and from a safe emotional distance. When I first got into this seriously it was where I found like-minded folk to play with in a way we all grokked. Words. Sure, we weren’t all like minded politically or religiously or sexually or movie-viewingly. But we all loved to read and to write and to jumble and assort those 26 letters into something more than just symbols. We talked. Eventually we braved public meeting places. Those first meetups were all shy smiles and oh-my-gosh-it’s-YOU sort of happy gatherings. We genuinely liked the people we’d come to know because we were kindred spirits of a multi-sided die/chess club sort.
Then the “entrepreneurs” found us. The first business person to truly tap the use of blogs at least had the decency to become one of us. Jim Reams took the time to actually write good stuff and get to know people the way bloggers used to. He’d read your stuff, you’d read his stuff. You both realised you liked this band or that politician and he’d make you laugh and you’d say you laughed. Then he opened a business and cleverly used his blog contacts as a way to get more publicity for that business.
All was good.
I don’t know quite when it happened, but the other entrepreneurs that followed started to steamroller the social aspect. It stopped being about “hey I liked your post on Jesus and Granola” and started being about Who Are You, Who Do You Know And How Many People Consider You A Worthy Contact. I’ve actually been asked by more than one person what my daily hit count is. If it isn’t X, than it isn’t high enough and I don’t rate.
I’ve become close friends with more than one blogger. One of them is one of the more highly-sought-after in terms of “metrics”. (“Metrics” is what they want to call it when they care about the amount of money a venture capitalist will give them if you are somehow involved.) Yet I can’t shake the feeling that those who care about Metrics don’t really care at all about the thoughts and ideas that happen here there and everywhere.
I didn’t get into blogging to become a whore. I resent those who come to blogging in order to pimp. I’m sure there’s a nicer way to express that thought, but I’m at a loss for those particular words.