Friday, May 22, 2015

Why I (Still) Blog

In the beginning of May, Fresca, a person who often comments on Michael's blog, posed a public question to people who continue to keep blogs on the internet. Michael answered promptly in this post, but it has taken me a while to come up with an appropriate response. I have decided to make my contribution in the form of an interview because I can. I have full editorial control of my blog. I'll even have an old alias (a name I used to use to deflect unwelcome male attention in public places) do the interviewing. Veranda Davenport hasn't been in my life for a long time.

Veranda: I see that even though you are on Facebook you still keep a blog. Why do you need to write long blog posts when you can instantly share pictures, birthday greetings, and observations with hundreds of people you know?

Elaine: There is a "notes" feature on Facebook which works kind of like a blog, but most Facebook users prefer to scroll through pictures clicking "like" when they see something they like, and leave brief comments that are either witty or supportive. Facebook is a good way to stay "in touch" with friends without going too far beneath the surface. It is kind of like "seeing" a lot of friends in a crowded cafeteria (all the cafeterias of life combined, perhaps) and exchanging, smiles, brief greetings, and words of support. The greetings have to be brief and pleasant because the cafeteria is a public space and there are many people to greet. I find the "cafeteria" a bit too noisy for substantial relationships.

Perhaps the blogosphere is more like an array of sit-down restaurants that you go to for interesting well-prepared food and intelligent conversations.

Sometimes I make links to blog posts (posts I write or posts from Michael's blog) on Facebook. A handful of Facebook friends read them, but most of my Facebook friends don't.

People do more and more of their on-line browsing using smartphones. The little box for comments and the clumsiness of the smartphone keyboard makes it more and more difficult to comment. That is a shame. I miss the free exchange of comments that used to be part of the blogging experience.

Veranda: Your blog posts do not seem to have any rhyme or reason. Why don't you give your blog more structure?

Elaine: I like to write what I feel like writing when I feel like writing it. Blog posts are not really bound in time. It's probably a good thing that most of my posts concern subjects that are not connected with current events. My Thematic Catalog blog is very structured, but that's because it's a functional catalog of music that I have written. I don't see any reason to structure my Musical Assumptions blog, so I don't.

Veranda: A lot of people keep blogs in order to promote themselves and the work they do. Why don't you use your blog to promote your work?

Elaine: I love the idea of sharing information, music, and ideas, particularly ideas about playing and teaching. I do what I can to let people know about the music I have written by linking to my Thematic Catalog blog, but I really see no reason to go beyond that. I prefer to have my work evaluated by people who play it and people who hear it. I don't feel any desire to make any claims about the quality of the work I do. People can make their own choices.

Veranda: Thank you, Elaine.

Elaine: Thank you, Veranda.

1 comment:

Fresca said...

Hey, thanks for answering my question!
I appreciate those of us still slogging on the blogosphere.

You bring up a good point I hadn't fully grasped before:
people may still read a blog but comment less because they're on a phone.

Yeah, now I realize several people have told me that they read my blog, but it's too awkward to comment on their phone. (Tho sometimes they reply in e-mails, if they have something substantive to say.)

I really miss the back-and-forth of blog writers and commenters, but I do feel cheered to know people are still reading.

I ask myself Veranda's question too, why don't I blog in a more thematic way, which might attract more regular readers?

I love readers, but I don't primarily blog to attract and hold them---my blog is more like a continuation of the diaries I kept as a girl, which I might have liked to share but wrote anyway, even without hope of sharing:
It's fun to write what I want!