So, I've largely been lurking on other people's blogs for the last year or so, and, in the process, I've been seriously neglecting this little corner of the intertubes. I've been meaning to update or write about a million different things at different times, and I just can't seem to get around to it, which is actually a meme that has cropped up in different areas of my personal life, too. But that's for another post.
The reasons I've largely stopped commenting and writing are myriad, and probably uninteresting to anyone but me, but I'm going for openness here. One major thing that I've learned about myself is that I find the internet really exhausting. I find it emotionally and mentally draining. I really started noticing this about a year and a half ago. I spend way too much time online and I spend most of that time reading and responding to blogs and participating in forum discussions, and I realized "Holy shit, this is really starting to take a toll on me." I just felt like I didn't have the energy to keep at it, in some ways. Honestly, I don't know how people do it. Some people post almost every day, about serious topics, providing real analysis and engaging with commenters (how is that not a "real" word yet?). And they do it while holding full time jobs, social lives, school, and the like. I really don't know how they do it, because it was really burning me out, and making me a hostile and unhappy person. I found myself increasingly sarcastic, increasingly bitter, and just really miserable.
Despite this, I'm really attracted to blogging, and I think that the internet does provide a really great opportunity to converse with people that you wouldn't normally get to meet.
So, right now I'm in the process of thinking about what I want to do differently with my second go-round with this little space. I'd really like to cultivate this space, but I want to avoid falling into the same routines that were burning me out before. If it's true that you can sort of build your own spaces on the internet, then I'd like to carve out something a little different here. At least, different from what it's been. If there's anyone still around, you're part of this little experiment too. After all, if you're still checking here despite my posting, like, eight times in twelve months, then you must have some interest in what I've got to say, right? So, what is it that you're looking for when you check back here, despite the utter lack of real substantive updates in, like... forever? What kinds of things do you find really great about blogs that you think should be pursued? What do you hate?
My own perspective: I think that my writing became really too focused on negativity. I think that I need to make sure that I'm posting about positive things sometimes. I need to do so in order to prevent myself from sinking into emotional pits. And, quite frankly, I think that the positive doesn't get enough press anyway. Just like in the evening news, it's a reality that bad news is blog business. People--myself included--love to get a good outrage on. But, I'm not sure that it's emotionally healthy to spend so much of my time swimming in piss and shit. I think that there are times when I really want to get excited about good things. Obviously, I'm not going to spend all of my time pretending that the world is nothing but sunshine and rainbows and happy unicorns, but I don't have the energy or desire to spend 90% of my time being angry and shouting down people anymore.
I think that another thing that I want--and this post, as meandering as it is, is a part of this--is to have a much clearer idea of what this space is. I don't necessarily mean that it needs to have a narrow focus--although, maybe it does? But, I think that I need to have a very clear idea what this space is supposed to be, and treat it like that. Is this my personal blog? Is this a blog about feminism? Activism in general? About a male perspective on feminism? Is it just about my life?
So, I've already decided that on a few things. First of all, I think that I need to make it clearer that I don't see myself as The Voice of anything. I don't want to be The Voice of anything, except myself. If I say something smart and people like it, that's cool, but, ultimately, I'm just a no-longer-twenty-something guy who likes to argue with smart people, and who would like to see people treat each other better. I'd like to discuss my relationship to the world a more, and some people have, in the past, said that they were hoping I'd talk more about (and I'm paraphrasing here) what it's like to be a guy, and I think that's not a bad idea. I won't pretend to speak for every guy or that my personal experiences are anything more than anecdote, but I can, and I think should, write about what I know.
Second, I don't think that I want to write about other people's blogs unless I have something nice to say. I'm not suggesting that other people shouldn't do so, but for me, it's just really fucking toxic. I don't feel good about it, and I don't feel good about the ways that it's easier for me to say really horrible things about people or to make really mean assumptions about other people on the web. It's like, someone says something that I strongly disagree with, and suddenly their entire body of work and their entire history is assumed from that post? I think that, in some ways, this is unavoidable online. I don't think that the internet makes us completely anonymous in the way that some people will argue, but I think ti does make things really impersonal in some ways. You can't really see the sincerity in a person's actions, or read the emotion in their words the way you can when you talk face-to-face (not that those interactions always go well, either).
It's Paradox of the Personal on the internet, for me. Because I feel strongly about the things that I'm writing about, I'm more likely to feel the slings and arrows personally, but because of the anonymity of the internet, I'm less likely to recognize the personal investment other people have in their work.
Which is just... well... shitty.
So, as of right now, I'm thinking:
- More positive posts.
- More posts about my direct personal experiences.
- Less/no posting angry missives about other people's blogs/posts.
I think that what I'd really like to see is more of a conversation happening, in some ways. I think that the posts that tend to be the best, from my perspective, are not the ones where I go off on something in great detail and tear it down with sarcasm and snark, but the posts where I post about something that I've found really interesting and have questions about, and I can engage with other people and learn from them.
So, consider this a transition and a work in progress. I expect that, given that I'm in grad school, there will be posts about books and things I'm reading for my studies, and I'd definitely like to post more discussions about movies and video games.
Anyway, this is s ridiculously long winded post just to say "I might be back, and I'm thinking of changing things up a bit".
Sorry if you actually read all that.
Probably thoughts about what kind of commenting policy I should have. Feel free to offer suggestions. My general policy, thus far, has been to only delete spam, but I figure it's a good idea, as long as I'm rethinking how I post, to come up with a more explicit comment policy.