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June 11, 2014

Well-known blogger is an oxymoron

The Andrew Sullivan era of journalism is over. Blogs — defined as “an eclectic, scattered” reverse-chronological journal, “covering everything from foreign policy to TV to religion,” often in the first-person — are all but dead.” (This was actually posted on a blog. Alas). 

It’s on a regular cycle that I come across articles about news outlets shutting down their blogs, this offered as proof that the blog is dead. All the while, I sit here typing at my blog, which I’ve been writing for fourteen years, with every intention to keep on writing my blog, first because I can’t stop and also because it’s done me a world of good professionally and in terms of general well-being. As I sit here typing at my blog, momentarily distracted by the blogs of others (who am I reading lately? I love how Sarah from edge of evening and I have such serendipitous reading habits; I’m a new reader of Alice Zorn’s blog; longtime fan of Matilda Magtree; I’ve been reading Making It Lovely since we both had daughters around the same time 5 years ago; I’ve been checking in with DoveGreyReader forever; I’m devoted to Girls Gone Child; I’ve learned so much from Rohan Maitzen’s Novel Readings; Shawna Lemary’s Calm Things; and I am so so overjoyed that Nathalie Foy is blogging books again. Oh, and you. I read your blog too. Likely, this is really so.)

So while the Andrew Sullivan era of journalism may be over, let this not be a statement about the state of the blog. First, because blogging is not journalism, and it was never meant to be. Blogging was always going to be on the fringes, so Sullivan’s new venture’s failure (in that only five pages on his site have received  100,000 page visits) is actually a statement that the blog is, um, bloggier than ever. Let it also not be a statement on the state of the blog because for many of us, the Andrew Sullivan era never registered. All the while that bloggers were making forays into mainstream media (and supposedly changing its face… until blogging died), most of us were sitting at home with our typepads, blogspots and wordpress sites. Content to be independent operators, doing our own thing, learning and growing, and pointing our modest traffic, our readers, in the direction of the world and saying, “Hey, look at this.”

It is amazing to me the way that women’s blogs have been ignored by those seeking to chronicle the history of the form. (I wrote about this three years ago in a post called, “The Womanly Art of Blogging”) Crucially, it is always the habits of male bloggers that are heralding blogging’s demise, and these are almost always political bloggers (as though political blogs are somehow blogs entire, as though politics were somehow the world—can you imagine?) but once it was a book blogger, and that too was ridiculous and wrong. It seems that everyone thinks that blogging is dead just around the same time he stops doing it. But.

All the while, the rest of us keep blogging, toiling away in semi-obscurity, and this is unfailingly true. Even well-known bloggers are semi-obscure–even those with enough ad revenue to pay the bills. Well-known blogger is an oxymoron. If it gets to be otherwise, well, maybe you’ve made it, but you’re also not really a blogger anymore.

4 thoughts on “Well-known blogger is an oxymoron”

  1. Melwyk says:

    Blogging is dead like the novel is dead… you have nailed this phenomenon perfectly. I’ve only been blogging for 8 years, a newbie compared to you — but I’m still not planning on stopping any time soon.

  2. Laura Frey says:

    Who is Andrew Sullivan?

    I remember that National Post article… ridic!

    14 years is incredible. My only regret is that I didn’t start blogging sooner – I wasted so much child-free time 🙂

    Thank you for the list of blogs to peruse!

  3. Laura Frey says:

    Oh and did you see this? Written by a male. Published on a blog. All the named bloggers are male. LOL

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/jun/09/literary-blogging-twitter?CMP=twt_gu

  4. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the lovely mention – and for some new people to visit. Here’s to sitting here, tiny boats in a vast ocean, continuing to say ‘look at this!’. (And, maybe it’s just me, but for better or worse my Saturday newspaper habit died when my children were born…all my book recommendations are from blogs these days. And, if anything, I think that’s widened my reading & made me think harder about my response to what I’ve read.)

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