Friday, January 3, 2020

2000th Blog Post

Newspaper toilet paper at Mtskheta museum, near Tbilisi, Caucasus Georgia. November 2011.

I recently published my 2000th blog post. 

A retrospective of benchmark posts

I've been writing Living Rootless for nine years now.

In the past nine years, blog rules, roles and rolls have evolved.


Prior to 2010, when I first entered the blogosphere as a writer (in pre-Living Rootless iterations), earnest bloggers promulgated earnest rules. A memorable rule was the dictate to be transparent about all edits to protect the sanctity of one's original published blog post. To be transparent, a blog writer should overlay a strikethrough across the old text and highlight the new.

There was a puzzling presumption of ethics that went with this rule. Never mind that writers of prose, poetry, plays, stand-up comedy, songs, and performance art edit their work all the time, stopping only when the piece is literally cast in an unchangeable form, such as print or film. Even then, an author can serve up new, revised editions in the future.

Yeah, well, I never followed this blog rule.


The popularity of blogs seems to have peaked a couple of years after I debuted Living Rootless.

The monetization appeal

At the time, the web was awash with how-to's for monetization, the importance of SEO, how to get the best placement on the various search engines, "link love," ad placements, guest posts, "Best of" lists, etc., etc.

There was a moment, early on, when I included some ads, got my blog onto various blog registries and search engines, played about with meta tags, and so on. It wasn't long, however, before I discovered how all this began to influence decisions vis a vis content and the frequency with which I posted.

At the end of the day, I wanted to write a blog that:
  1. Gives me pleasure in the writing, and in the revisiting of moments that I would likely forget otherwise
  2. Exercises my writing muscles
  3. Might be of interest to my descendants
  4. Pleases any strangers that stop by

 I stripped away the ads and felt freer for the loss.

Blog disrupters

Other social media platforms that entice with the promise of fame-by-followers have waxed and waned since the height of blogs: Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube ...

Most of the blogs I used to follow lay fallow.

The reasons vary:
  1. Their authors moved to a new chapter in their lives, and therefore, their blogs are complete.
  2. Their authors migrated to Instagram or other venues and intentionally abandoned their blogs. 
  3. Blogging was a trend, and as with all trends, writers and readers exchanged the old for new.
  4. Authors followed the common wisdom to build an online presence across multiple platforms, and have been unable to maintain their blogs while also feeding content to their Twitter or Instagram accounts, which are greedy little birds. Related: Former blog readers found 24-7, constantly changing content in the smaller, snappier social platforms, and turned their attention to these. 
  5. An indirect factor, perhaps: Wordpress did a bang-up job of marketing itself as the premier blog platform for the mass of bloggers, with a companion message against Blogger as a loser platform. The problem here? Wordpress, when done up well, is a sleek, elegant application to host one's blog. But Wordpress' dirty little secret is that it is difficult to learn for most. I've tried several times to build a wordpress site, and although I've got more technical savvy than the typical blogger, I've quit the attempt each time because the learning curve is such a frustrating, counter-intuitive pain in the ass. Blogger has its limitations, to be sure, but almost anyone can get one up and running in minutes. How many would-be bloggers attempted to use the presumed best platform to launch a blog, only to be cowed into surrender? 

Future roles

I don't know the future of blogs.

If blogs decline in a major way, the likelihood of a blog platform such as Blogger (owned by Google) being terminated will become a concern. Transferring a blog, especially one as long-lived as mine, from one platform to another, is a task fraught with anxiety over the possibility of partial or wholesale loss of content, formatting, images, links, permissions, etc.


Blog rolls - lists of blogs that a blogger follows - used to be a really big thing. To get on someone's blog roll was a way to boost one's blog rank in search engines, thereby drawing more readers to one's blog, thereby lying in wait for them to click on one of your monetization ads, thereby ....

From a less jaded perspective, blog rolls are a convenient vehicle for a blogger to track the blogs they personally enjoy reading. They are also a valuable service to a blog's readers who might be interested in the same blogs the author finds appealing.

The longer one's blog roll, the more arduous the task of checking currency of the list. All too often, a blog on a list is defunct.

(Ha! This reminds me of a related housekeeping issue, especially for a nine-year blogger like me - not having a system for checking past posts for dead links - guilty!)

Here's to a 10th year of Living Rootless.       

No comments: