Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy 10th Anniversary

Just realized that January 15th was the 10th anniversary of this blog. So I probably should have done something specialish on the 15th....

But well...who blogs anymore? I get relatively few readers and fewer comments here, whereas if I post something random on Facebook, I'll often get 20 comments within the hour.

Not that Facebook is doing that well, either.... My students are abandoning it for timblr or even pinterest (people go to Pinterest less frequently but browse it longer). And Twitter, of course. I mostly try to avoid Facebook et al during the day, lest it suck the time out of my life, but I do check Facebook and Twitter on my phone whenever I have to kill time waiting, e.g., picking up the kids from school or standing in line at a good restaurant. I find typing on my phone a pain, so I mostly just read what others have to say, take note of current trending issues among my friends and colleagues, or take advantage of the clipping service Twitter can be. A lot of my Twitter feed is course-related, people tweeting about breakthroughs in science and technology I can refer to in my cyberculture course, for example. Turns what used to be dead time to productive use.

I notice I'm not alone. In line at Cora's the other day, all but two of the thirty or so people in line were on their smartphones. Made me wonder if people are more patient than they used to be--no, I mean, more tolerant of delays and waiting because they can do something productive, or productive-like, while they are forced to wait. I suppose it actually makes people less patient in the long run, less able to deal with periods of forced inactivity. I know I go slightly bored now when I forget my phone or have to hand it over to the 9year old to keep her entertained in line. Research from PEW a while back commented that 26% of Americans said they could not manage without their cell phones. I never used to get bored because I could always write the next scene of my novel or etc. Now I read Twitter.

Constantly amazed at how many people have no idea how to use Twitter. So many authors just tweet the same "buy my book" line every few hours. That's not information, that's spam. I delete such people immediately from my feed; when Twitter suggests new people to follow or someone follows me, I often take a look, but as soon as I see self-advertizing, I move on. The occasional tweet about a book launch is okay, because I might want to know what they are doing and if not, I can ignore the occasional commercial. But repeating the same tweet over and over is just stupid. So many authors I respect seem to do this. But the authors who get to stay in my twitter feed are the ones who tell me interesting stuff. Things they've notice in the paper or books they've found by other people or the research they are doing for their book that turned up some interesting fact, or something funny. Those are people worth reading. Don't care about whether you are having coffee or a bath, don't care how your cats are doing, don't want to hear about your neighbours unless you can make it funny.

The funniest guy on Twitter is Tim Siedell @badbanana. E.g., "If we do mint a $1 trillion coin we should intentionally make a mistake on it so it's worth even more to collectors." or "Going to a concert tonight. Doors open at 7pm, according to the ticket. That's a pretty impressive opening act." Brilliant stuff. I bought his book.

So I mostly blog now to keep track of stuff for myself, an on-line diary. I'd do more entries but the best source material is about the kids, but unfortunately they are now old enough to read the blog, so I mostly can't write about the really good stuff any more. Still, life in the old blog yet. Hopefully.


Curmudgeon-at-Large said...

There's fertile ground for research in counting dead blogs, or analyzing changes in post frequencies over time over all blogs.

Fortunately, I don't need to do it.

It seems to me since the emergence of pervasive social media, people in general spend more time browsing and reacting, and less time thinking and reflecting, so that there are more ideas but fewer quality thoughts in circulation.

Bernie said...

I understand what you mean about there being less blog action. Yet I'm very happy to have passed 10K pageviews on Farm Gate (with 200 posts). It may only be fifty people a day, but they're 50 committed people a day!
I've also linked the blog to both FB and twitter (@1ebk), which helps move the info across a number of streams. I know that if a blog post (for instance) doesn't get picked up by a different media source, I tend to miss it. Not that I don't want to read all this great stuff, just that it tends to fall off the edge of my plate.