Friday, March 28, 2014

Retire from blogging?

Blogher, via Neil Kramer, aka Citizen of the Month, either launched or is about to launch a discussion of the end of an era, something on the order of this: Has blogging gone the wayside? 

Did blogging die because FaceBook, YouTube, and other stimulating, current media, are far more exciting than reading the soap-boxes of deep thoughts we bloggers can't help but share with THE WHOLE WORLD.
Ray William Johnson of Equals Three

I don't know if it is true, if blogging is dead or not, but Ray William Johnson, of Equals Three, a YouTube enterprise, is retiring as the host of his experiment with YouTube social media. People do move on, try new things. It can get old, anything, day after day.

We'll get to Ray in a minute.

Microsoft, you might have heard, is generously offering rebates of $100 to those who still have Windows XP on their computers (an enticement to upgrade, just spend $699 to be eligible). Bring in the old machine and swap it for a high-powered new one, guaranteed to be virus-free. Those of us who don't want to spend that much, who prefer to buy a functional, yet cheaper machine, might do that. We'll be recycling the old one ourselves.

In Chicago tossing electronics in the alley is a huge No No and warrants a citation and a fine. It isn't the most tedious thing in the world, cannibalizing a fax machine to isolate the hard drive. (Once a utility company convinced me to fax copies of my passport, bills, all kinds of things, and idiot me, I complied). Deconstructing a fax machine isn't as easy as snatching a hard drive off a desktop; it can take some hammering. Best Buy will take it all, cannibalized or not, all of those old electronics, virtually slobbered over an HP printer that should have worked! but did not, finally driving me to banishing it to the back room. Banished to the backroom is certain death for anything.

Progress, not perfection, an old 12 Step saying, when it comes to change.

When my mother passed away, she left an old Compaq Presario desktop, barely used, that still worked. She would have used it more, typed her synagogue newsletter for many years on the "dinosaur" before her disease didn't let, her fingers wouldn't cooperate. My father only used the machine to trade jokes (the worst jokes) with his friends and play the stock market. (This is a bad idea in your late eighties. Discourage your parents, take away their passwords, declare their browsers full of viruses; do whatever you have to do.)

This healthy but very outdated computer accompanied me home after we had sorted out all of Mom's valuables, the paintings, the chotchkes (rhymes roughly with latch-keys) she salvaged after my father passed away. That which no one else wanted found a home in my basement, the last stop before the back room. 

One day it made sense to turn it on, and since it had no sound, I turned to Amazon for an external sound card, the first of two. Since the machine did have XP, I installed Windows 7 (had to buy it). Soon it became obvious that although the 13 inch monitor had worked just fine for my parents, newer programs, like the ones that edit websites, don’t work on short monitors. So that had to go, too. I added a few gig of memory, sorely needed, and a receiver to get Internet (the TP-Link seems to be working quite well, but the green blinking light could cause seizures in a more vulnerable individual).

There wasn't much physical space for this setup, so I took it into the bedroom thinking it would stream video nicely, and it does. But you know how it gets. When there is a critical mass of electronics in a room the colorful diodes speak to you in the middle of the night. You can’t sleep, frantically arrange books or other strange objects (a coaster) to cover the glare..

But one night a few weeks ago, to see what is relevant and current and cool, I turned on the computer and clicked onto YouTube. Now that I have a decent-sized monitor , it is a pleasure. My television, also near my bed could fit in your glove compartment.

There is Ray William Johnson saying goodbye. Who is Ray William Johnson? I had no idea, but he has a YouTube show with a few million subscribers tuning in to watch what is popular on the Internet, those vids that go viral. Ray is a nice looking, funny, fast talking young man, an actor who deadpans. (It's all in the delivery). Retiring from the hit show, he is telling viewers about the drudgery of repetition, if I remember correctly, tells us he's looking to be replaced. YOU could replace him, or so he says. 

Most things probably get to be tiring if you stay with them long enough. I'm always amazed that my work as a therapist never does. Sure, it isn't always what I want to do, go to the office, sit and connect with people, ostensibly help them. But it is never boring. If I made some kind of change, it would have to really sing to me, and the odds of that happening are slim.

I thought about this great thought and wondered why blogging, which should be repetitious by now, still feels fresh. It isn’t a drag. We’re going on eight years! Maybe because there’s no pressure, no rush to post anything, and it is a hobby, not a job, after all. The way I see it, if it is fun for me, if I get a laugh out of it, or a cry, for that matter, then you will too. And there isn't a formula, you know that. I don't get caught up in should's and musts and have-to's.

My hunch is that for Ray, it isn't that his show needs to change, or that he has to invent a new wheel, but that he let it get routinized. That and the pressure must be overwhelming. The stakes are high when a million plus are watching, after all.

That's never going to happen to most of us ordinary bloggers, an audience of millions!

So in answer to the BlogHer question, the medium is far from dead. 




diane Spooner said...

Relieved to know you're not retiring from blogging.

therapydoc said...

Wouldn't dream of it. Thanks Diane!

Leora said...

I don't think blogging is dead at all! It just isn't the way to go for everyone. For some individuals who love to share and for many businesses or organizations, it is still a great communication tool.

So glad it works for you as well. Look forward to future posts.

Nancy Jorden said...

I think blogging is great therapy. It is a way to say what you need to say. It is a way to express yourself without burdening someone. It is a great way to express many great experiences.

Better Things-- Seeing Ghosts