Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Did Facebook Kill My Blog?

I started this blog back in 2004, back when having a blog was one of those cool things that dazzled and impressed your less-technically-savvy friends and family members. "You have a blog? Wow, that's so awesome! Do you know Bill Gates and Cher?"

Since then, this little slice of Nobel Prize winner Al Gore's internets has gone through several name changes (Chris Irby's Generic Blog, Rush Limbaugh's All Star Puppy-Eating Cavalcade, WTFWJD?, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, YOU GODDAMN LIAR!) and I've undergone numerous personal crises that have strengthened me and turned me into the paragon of restraint and insight you see today.

Alas, poor WTFWJD? We hardly knew ye...

I've also gone through some considerable ebbs and flows when it comes to posting. In November of 2005, I came back after a two-month hiatus, apologized for neglecting the blogosphere, and trickled out some posts for the next few months. In July of 2006, I came back after a one-month hiatus, apologized for neglecting the blogosphere, and trickled out some posts for the next few months. In February of 2007, I came back after a four-month hiatus, apologized for neglecting the blogosphere, and trickled out some posts for the next few months. In October of 2007... well, I'm pretty sure you can see where this is going.

Anyway, if you check the Blog Archive to the left, you may notice that my posting pretty much died in April 2009 (much like beloved actress Bea Arthur). I made one last ditch effort in April 2010, and then... BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP...

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest...

So, what happened? Well, in a word, Facebook.

As I mentioned in one of my penultimate posts, I got totally sucked into Mark Zuckerberg's social media cult. I became obsessed with befriending folks I hadn't seen in years and never really liked all that much, and with keeping my massive network of virtual pals apprised of my current status ("Eating wasabi peanuts and downloading images of Ann Coulter's feet").

The thing is, Facebook offers immediate gratification. The moment you post anything, 29,751,498 online buddies will respond to lend their support or show you the error of your ways. Total strangers will request to be your friend because they read something funny you posted on someone else's page. Longtime acquaintances will unfriend you because they read something provocative or offensive that you posted on your own page. FBI agents will send you messages, pretending to be 15-year-old cheerleaders. But that's something else, entirely.

When all else fails, try bringing up Hitler...

But it's been a couple of years, and the bloom is off the Facebook rose. I still check in and post pretty regularly, but gone are the days where I would spend hours poring through hundreds of updates and carrying on dozens of simultaneous conversations. I no longer have any interest in arguing on other folks' pages, and have little patience for the people who feel the need to crap their opinion into their hand and fling it all over my page. And I honestly couldn't possibly give any less of a fuck about what folks are growing in Farmville or whom they're killing in Gang Wars.

I think part of the problem is that whole short-attention span thing. The immediate gratification, coupled with the fact that Facebook limits posts to something in the neighborhood of 4 characters, has basically created an online community of folks who can't be bothered to read. Facebook will let you post longer notes, but reading those requires a couple of extra clicks of the mouse, and who the hell has time for that when there are virtual rutabagas to harvest, baby?

Lately, I've found myself waxing nostalgic about this blog, and the tight-knit community of folks that I pretty much abandoned for the glitzy Babylon that *is* Facebook. And I've been wondering if I should even try picking up where I left off, or just put this thing out of its misery and start fresh.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I did start another blog back in June 2009 that's devoted to the oeuvre of Jack Chick. My updates on that blog have been pretty sporadic as well, but it still gets a decent number of daily hits because folks keep posting my stuff on Reddit and StumbleUpon. I've thought about doing that myself, but what kind of desperate cry for attention would that be?)

So anyway, yeah. Facebook pretty much killed this blog. But like Jesus, Spock, Bobby Ewing, and Batman, it has once again clawed its way out of the grave. Hopefully, this won't be my only post for 2011. I swear, my intentions are good. I'm going to try this blogging thing again.

Also Superman, Gandalf, Jean Grey, Elvis, Osiris, Buffy,
Dr. Who, Lazarus, Pac Man, Kenny, and Wile E. Coyote

But I make no promises...

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