Wow! It’s almost a month since I last blogged. It was definitely easier to blog often when I was overseas. Not sure why. I suppose a big part of it is that while I was overseas I felt like someone might be interested in what I was thinking, feeling, and doing. Now, I feel like my life is just like everyone else’s life. Who wants to hear about that? I often run across blogs that don’t seem to have anything interesting to say. My friend cls claims that his blog is primarily for his own entertainment. I believe him. Yet, I have to wonder, what’s the point of writing and publishing a blog if no one reads it? While I was serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom people were interested in what I had to say because I was going through an experience that most people are curious about and few people will go through.
There are still things about my life that are unique and that other people would be interested in. However, they are much more difficult to categorize, articulate and quantify. I am a middle-aged, white male. Many looking in on my life would say that I’m going through mid-life crisis. I do not consider it a crisis. I left Apple Computer almost a year ago to start my own company. I’m still struggling to get my little company on any kind of a solid footing and I worry about that most days, as I probably should be. I am home schooling my two children. I hear that there is a plethora of weblogs written by parents who are home schooling their kids. I do not read any of them. However, home schooling seems to have a large presences on the web. There are probably other aspects of my life that are unique and would be interesting to read about.
The signal to noise ratio in the blog-o-sphere is very low. For every thousand blogs there are, at best, a few hundred (probably more like a few score) that anyone might actually consider useful ‘signal’. Many folks I talk to who do not blog usually state that they do not feel they have anything to say. What drives people to publish a weblog? What drives people to read weblogs? Is it part of the same ethos that makes reality television so popular? [I met with an old friend on Sunday and he made an interesting point. Reality Television is a bit of a misnomer. These shows are anything but reality.] I can only guess that if I examine my reasons for keeping a weblog I will gain at least some insight into everyone else’s reasons. Maybe that is presumptuous on my part.
I read through my own blog entries occasionally. As the United States prepared to topple the Iraqi government, I blogged because I wanted an outlet for my thoughts. I wish that I had written more of what I thought back then. As it turns out, I had a bit of insight on how things would turn out. I did not write in my blog but told a friend before we ever invaded that no weapons of mass destruction would be found. I did not write in my blog but told that same friend that I was afraid the US government had no plan for building a nation. I did write in my blog that I wished President Bush would slow down and take the time to gain the full support of the UN. I wish that I had captured the thoughts I had about our going to war and the justifications being offered.
While in Kuwait serving in OIF I blogged mostly for myself. It served as a kind of therapy. It started out as a way to examine what I was feeling and how I was dealing with it. As I began to discover that people were reading it, it became more than that. I do not know — and probably never will — how many people were reading my blog while I was overseas. I know it was quite a lot. Couple hundred people, many more.
Now, I suspect that very few people continue to read my blog. For one thing, I do not write often enough to keep people coming back. There’s usually nothing to come back for. Secondly, I do not feel like I have much of interest to say. Commentary on the politics of our nation today is over discussed already. I’m not really interested in contributing to the pile of words already out there.
Here is an interesting article on weblogs. The author argues that weblogs constitute community. Hum? Maybe. I am not sure I want community. I’m not sure that I want a bunch of people adding to what I have to say. This weblog is my place to have my say. I want people to read it. I do not want anyone to change it. Maybe I do not even want anyone to criticize it. Because in the end, it is primarily opinion and I do not really care that some one does not agree. I am pretty opinionated and find that people mostly do not agree with me anyway. So, while I find commments interesting and often enjoy them, I’m not sure that is a motivator for maintaining a weblog. At least for me. I do like it when I discover that someone has linked to my blog. It hasn’t happened very often and, thus far, no one has linked my blog for the purpose of arguing against or making fun of my position. I suspect I wouldn’t like that very much.