I haven’t seen much going on at Paolo Valdemarin’s blog recently — although my reading habits are very spotty — so it was kind of a sobering experience to read his 4 blog birthday, or blirthday, post.
Blogging allowed me to meet the most interesting people of my life, to get an infinite number of ideas, to develop new products, find new partner, new customers, to learn more then I had ever learned before. It changed my life.
I’m not blogging much anymore on the English part of my blog, I write a little bit more on the Italian side. I’m not involved in many conversations or I don’t feel I have much to add to what is discussed. The atmosphere is changing, pretty soon you won’t even be able to say that blogging is not “mainstream media”.
Hmmm. Kind of sad to think of the fading of that joy and involvement. A number of people have been commenting on the change blowing in the breeze in blogland. Threads like Dave Winer’s blog suicide note, Robert Scoble’s screechiness, Jeneane Sessum’s Shitting Point, and Joi Ito walking away from blogging to immerse himself in Second Life — it all points to a fundamental change in the world of blogging.
Personally, I have been blogging since 1999, although in a interrupted way. You can see my first blog, Message From Edge City, only in the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archives, since the hosting company went under, and sold the servers before I could get my posts off:
I think one of the reasons I still have a fresh feeling for the whole thing is that I have had periods of low or no blogging along the way, and I have changed my blog a lot. Since Message From Edge City (MFEC) I have penned Timing, Instant Messaging, Get Real, and now /Message. I also contributed to a number of group projects, like Operating Manual for Social Tools (with danah boyd and David Weinberger), and Centrality (with Stan Wasserman and others). I don’t remember the official start date for my blogging, so I won’t have a Blirthday of my own. I will just celebrate Paolo’s with him.
I am too hypomanic to give into the gloom and doom that many are feeling about the shifting currents in the Blogosphere, but I will offer some completely unsolicited advice for staying fresh. It’s not as corporate as Nick Carr’s heavyhanded riff on Robert Scoble’s recent spell of misguided lashing out at the rising tide of unquiet about Vista and Office slippage, but then I have already written a piece explicitly for Robert (What We Can Learn From Scoble’s Lament). No, these ideas are just for anyone who wants to retain the sense of fun and even joy that can come from the daily ritual of writing.
- Get out of the rut — Write about something you have never written about before. Read new people. Wander around. Get out of your RSS reader.
- Interview smart people — Even if you think you have nothing new to write, there are others out there not suffering from that delusion.
- Try new techniques — Tired of facing the empty screen? Try audio or video. Write a poem.
- Help others — I recently read Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales, and it turns out that one of the characteristics of survivors is that they are altruistic. Even in moments of great danger they hold on and work towards survival by consciously choosing to help others, or try to survive so that loved ones won’t suffer.
- Change your blog — Change the template, add new widgets, create a sideblog with comments about your aspirations, travel, or geolocation. Fool with it with the goal of making it a better representation of your relationship to the world.
In the final analysis, you have to stay green or you are fading, fast. My personal mantra is “always beginning, never finished,” and it is that sort of attitude that brings me back, day after day, week after week, month after month, to the task — and joy — of writing.