I’ve been reading John Scalzi’s blog for a while now, though not nearly as long as it has, apparently, existed. I first learned of it last year or so, in, I believe, an issue of Wired. Scalzi is a science fiction writer whose books I’ll admit I’ve not read; I really only know about (and enjoy) his blog.
Today, he posted about his thoughts on blogs and bookselling. Scalzi is a blogger who blogged before ‘blogging’ actually existed as a word (I believe the word dates back to around 2001. Neil Gaiman is another); which, coincidentally, was before Scalzi actually had anything to sell. Nowadays he’s a multiple nominee for multiple awards (and has won several, including one for best new writer), but I loved his last paragraph:
“Personally I think people think about all this crap too hard. The reason to do a blog is because you want to. If you do it for any other reason, people will be able to tell, and it’s probably going to fall on its ass. The reason I think Whatever does well is because I like doing it, and I’ve liked doing it all the time I’ve done it. Simple enough.”
That’s why you’re here, actually. I haven’t talked about it much, but by summer of last year, I’d basically had a MyMeltdown; blogging on MySpace had become akin to my years in corporate America, or perhaps more accurately, my years temping. The site seemed to have become about either bashing or the relentless pursuit of more popularity. When I got the letter accepting me into my lectureship, I realized that I needed to learn how to reconcile my teaching life with my writing life. I realized I’d be standing, soon, before a group of students and attempting to play a very particular role, and I wished not to deviate from it. I didn’t want them to think of me as pretty much anything besides their professor, because I never did until I was well out of college.
The other thing I’ve already alluded to; Rupert Murdoch’s already bulky pockets. For my second assignment last semester, I guided my students through a prompt on journalistic integrity; what does it mean, who has it and how did they earn it, and can blogging fill the same role. Many explored the idea of conglomeration; that having a certain company behind you can help your credibility, but it also creates problems if it’s the wrong company, or if said company is concerned almost solely with ratings, as many seemed to be. Most noted that they didn’t believe anything they saw on Fox News.
That assignment helped prompt my decision to start this up. I learned as much through that assignment as they did. And now, it’s good to be back. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t realized what I had until it was gone so much as I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I came back.
Thans for coming back with me. I missed you.