One of the things any blogger of note learns to deal with is Audience Creep.
Which is to say that as more people read you, the chances that someone is going to tell you, correctly, that your ass is showing expand exponentially. And as more people flood in from inbound links, the chances that someone is going to misinterpret that poorly-worded sentence of yours also expands exponentially. And the chances that your comments threads will explode in a ball of flame expand exponentially.
(…The chances that someone will even point out that you are using the word “exponentially” wrong expand exponentially.)
For some, this isn’t a problem. “I just write what I want, and fuck them,” they say. And that’s great. But the rest of us write these passionate blog entries on meaningful topics to try to convince others. We want to have people going, “Yes, what a fine point,” not Duelling Blog Posts back and forth from outsiders debating What She Really Meant.
So your blogging starts to take on a distinctly accumulative method. You start getting that Spider-Sense tingle of “Oh, this is dangerous territory, I best step carefully,” because you know this entry is a container of gelignite if you don’t handle it properly. And you’re not looking to create flame wars, but productive discussion.
So you write the entry, and that Spider-Sense is saying, “Oh, people might think I’m saying this, so I’d better clarify here. And this is perhaps not the most enlightened gut response, so I’d better change that.”
This has three results:
1) You write better blog entries.
2) That are a lot longer.
3) That take more effort.
And then when those blog entries hit, they tend to generate such discussion that you need to monitor the feedback to ensure that people aren’t axing each other in the head in the comments. (Because really, as your blog-moderator, you’re responsible.) And it’s good, but it takes more effort.
Not every blog entry is like this; your life updates aren’t, your musings on your core competency aren’t (I can dash off relationship entries like there’s no tomorrow), your silly humor pieces aren’t.
But if you want to discuss Feminism or Politics or even trends in the industry you work in where people read you, you slow down a bit. Stop. Make sure that you’re not just going to make a fool of yourself, but that by writing this you will come off as the sort of person who others think of as well-spoken.
This takes time.
Between my novel and my job and my wife and girlfriends, I feel bad, because I literally have more entries than I have time to write, and manage. I still want to get back around to the Gay In YA thing, and I have some more musings on Occupy Wall Street, and of course a thousand other weighty entries that would take time to do properly.
I do about one “serious” entry a week, and that takes me an hour (including reading it to Gini to ensure that I’ve gotten it right). I know other bloggers have done the same. If you’re going to make a big stink in public, you mise well make sure it smells the right way.
But that is a slowdown. And it means your blog becomes more work, less “Let’s go here and play!”
Is it any wonder why people head towards Twitter?
It’s not like that for everyone, of course, and if you have nobody reading you or if you’re the sort of person who can naturally sound good on the first draft (Scalzi comes to mind as someone who’s quite excellent at that), then fuck it. Go. But for many of us, it’s as though our blog has become this bubbling stew of things we’d like to write about, but don’t want to do the topic the dishonor of doing it improperly.
I’m not sure how you fix that. if you can fix that. But it’s there, and it’s probably another part of LJ’s slow fade.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.