I am stopping blogging. This is a personal decision which I have reached after careful contemplation and discussion. I am a very different person from when this blog was first launched, and this blog is no longer in touch with this new person. Recent events have only highlighted this. The person I have become is no longer a person I care to be, and this whole digital persona will continue to hold me back in the future. Therefore, I am abandoning this blog.
It has been a long road to this decision, and I would like to take a moment to look back at it…
The Radio Station
I remember when I once went on a local radio station. Despite being young at the time, the one thing which intrigued me was how the show snapped together amid the hectic mess. Papers were flying everywhere and everyone went a mile-a-minute, but there sat the host: munching on donuts, with a clear and steady voice broadcasting out over the airwaves. Hearing his voice, one would think the world was a safe place–even when he was talking about yet another car bomb in a place I could not pronounce. When I first started blogging, that was what I wanted. I wanted to be the one who people listened to, steady but also static. I wanted to be powerful, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with that power. I saw commenters as adoring fans rather than opportunities for conversation.
Eventually, I encountered the problem with being on a radio station: it always seemed the same. I didn’t listen to new voices, but just kept “on message.” I played the same hit songs, instead of new Indie albums. A steady voice became a monotone voice. I wrote about what would bring me traffic instead of what deserved traffic. Tired of the quest for one more listener, I left the station.
The Barber Shop
One of my favorite comic strips is Curtis, where an African-American boy walks into a barber shop and is greeted by a name which is always a little different from his own. The barber never gets his name right, but always engages Curtis in conversations about what is going on in the world. Nothing revolutionary is ever said, but the same ideas (often heard on the radio) are rehashed. Despite calling Curtis by the wrong name, the barber is always willing to invite Curtis into the community. I have found many people in the blogosphere equally inviting: despite not knowing my real name, I have been invited to share my ideas and become a part of the community. I was given a voice, which is something for which I am very thankful. Unfortunately, what I eventually came to realize was that I rarely talked about new ideas: in an effort to be accepted, I settled into groupthink. I continued to rehash the same thoughts over and over, because that is the best way to build community. Though I loved the community, my haircut was done and I eventually had to step out of that homogeneous group.
The Pet Store
As a child, a pet store was a wonderful place: it was filled with animals waiting to be loved. In my early months of blogging, this is what I saw the blogosphere as: many diverse faces just waiting to be met. I wanted to make a difference for these people, just as I wanted to give a young dog a home. Over time, I grew more cynical of the potential for change. I became the adult in a pet store: instead of seeing loving faces, I saw the potential problems. I saw the shedding, the walks which would be needed, the expenses of caring. Yet, just as a parent lets their young son bring home that dog, I resigned myself to it and stepped out of the pet store ready to continue down the road.
The Gas Station
In my small town, we still have a local gas station where a man comes out to wipe your windshield. I hear people complain about the price of gas (and rightly so), yet our country is still not ready to give up this unsustainable resource – it is the demon we love to hate. In many ways, I have treated the blogosphere in a similarly unsustainable way. I continued to pump feed after feed into my RSS reader, knowing full well that there is a limit to how much I can consume before the well of my attention runs dry. Yet, I continued to pump feeds in because I loved what everyone was writing or felt some obligation to them. I knew this could not be sustained, but I didn’t wish to toss out the old even as I explored the new. My blogging habits were unsustainable, because the demands on my attention were limitless but my attention is not. I reached peak demand, after which I simply had so much information coming at me that I couldn’t really focus on the important thoughts. Thus, I decided to leave my car behind and bike down to the harbor.
I have decided to leave this shore and set sail for the unknown. Like the parting scene in The Lord of the Rings, I am filled with both sorrow and joy. I am sorrowful that I must make this difficult decision and leave my friends and peers behind. Furthermore, I am very thankful for the support I have received from all members of the community. In my heart, I know this is the right decision. Some day, our paths may cross again – on another shore, when I’m an older, wiser person. Until that day, I sail for foreign shores.
Goodbye, and good luck.