Thursday, 11 July 2013
I forget who started this off. It was probably Wilhelm but I'll link to Jeromai becuse he links to everyone else and it saves me the trouble. The gist of the debate is this: there may or may not be a cold wind blowing for The Blog, or more accurately for the MMO Blog. There might be fewer of them than there were, more could be going dark faster than they used to and fewer might be starting up to replace them. Either the bloggers or the readers have moved to Twitter or G+ or no-one's reading or writing anything any more because we're all Livestreaming.
Sometimes I like to claim I'm not a Gamer. Occasionally I've even claimed I'm not a writer. Neither of those claims really stands up to analysis. I've been playing video games since the late 1970s and writing since the early 1970s. Occasionally I have a few months off from one or the other and sometimes I think that might stick but it never does. I always come back.
I only started blogging a couple of years ago. I'd made a concerted effort to stop writing back in the late 1990s and for the best part of a decade I was convinced I'd cured myself of the addiction until one day I had an epiphany. All those hundreds of thousands of words I'd written on gaming forums starting about two weeks after I discovered Everquest in 1999? That was writing, too. I gave up giving up, gave in and embraced my demon.
By then I'd moved off forums and into the comment threads of blogs, which I discovered well after the famous Warhammer Blogsplosion, something about which I only became aware way after the dust had settled and the fires started to die back. It occurred to me, belatedly, that it was probably quite rude to write comments longer than the blog posts I was commenting on, especially since some poor bloggers got the benefit almost every time they put something up, so I started my own blog.
It turned out to be a very familiar experience. In fact it turned out to be exactly like writing and publishing apazines, which I did obsessively for a decade and a half in the 1980s and 90s. The community was very similar, the same kind of characters appeared, the same cliques, the same mutual admiration societies, mortal enemies, in-jokes and running gags. I felt pretty comfortable.
I still do. I've been especially touched to see my name and this blog mentioned in the current navel-gazing round. There really is some kind of a community happening here, even if most of us could pass each other on the street without a second glance since few have ever met.
Blogging may not last in its current form. Bloggers who post every day right now may stop at any time and never post again. Technology will change faster than we can keep up. In the old apazine days contributors came and went all the time. New enthusiastic members joined, burned brightly, jaded, faded and left. Old stalwarts plodded on. Some of them are probably out there, still cranking the mimeograph as I type
Will people who love writing stop writing about stuff they love? I don't think so. There'll always be more to read than there's time to read it, just like there are always too many games to play. And in the end, even if the only person reading me is me, well that's the audience I've been trying hardest to please these last 40 years. I'll just keep on doing that.
I encourage anyone reading this who's thought about blogging but hasn't given it a go to do the same.