This July will mark my tenth anniversary of blogging. For ten years, I've written at least one blog post every single weekday. That's a long time. I've written nearly 5,000 blog posts. I did it during leisurely mornings like this one, but also during times when I had two hours of sleep because of work and family obligations.
I'm not entirely sure why I blog. It really doesn't bring in much money. Sometimes I get aggravated. I suppose that I had proper reasons for blogging when I started, but those reasons are long forgotten. Now it's just a habit.
Blogging is a community effort when it's done best. It's a conversation between other bloggers and the peanut gallery. Between all of us, we've logged nearly 44,000 comments. 1.6 million unique pageviews and 2.9 million total hits. It's strange and nice to see so many people who started blogging ten years ago are still at it. Some do it only when inspiration strikes; others went pro. Some migrated to Twitter. And it's strange and nice to see that so many blog commenters have stuck around here for so many years.
What has all this blog writing and commenting done to us? It's an intense activity after all. It must have some impact.
Does blogging make us better writers? In some ways, yes. I can shoot out 500 words in less than fifteen minutes. My sentences are definitely better than they were even two years ago. I am better at picking topics that interest people. If you know that readers are showing up and looking for new content, you get stuff done. You finish things off and accept that imperfection is better than nothing.
On the other hand, blogging makes it difficult to write other things. A person only has so many words in them in one day. If you use up that quota on a blog, it is difficult to do other writing projects.
Also, blogging is a highly ADD activity. We careen from topic to topic. To write something that's worthy of publication, you need to plug away at the same topic for days at a time. You have to edit and re-edit and edit again. I may not be able to do that anymore.
And what about the conversations? If you are a regular reader on this blog, I assume that you are also participating in conversations on other blogs as well. You're also probably participating in similar chatter on Twitter and Facebook. What has this conversation done to us?
You all know that you're not regular people, right? People who participate in online political conversations are more educated and more political active than the regular population. I think we're in our own little bubbles, not necessarily organized by ideology, but bubbles of intellectual privilege. Sometimes after there's a big hoopla going on the Internet about the topic of the day, I'll call a real life friend and ask her what she thinks about the hoopla topic. It's a nice little reality check for me, because I'll realize that most people don't know about the hoopla topic and really don't care.
There are also many little surprising gifts that have come from blogging. Virtual friends have become real friends. People gave me support when things were rough or helped out professionally. Now, I'm going to become all weepy and sentimental, so I'm going to walk away from this post. Because in the blogging world, a rough, sloppy, sentimental conclusion is okay.