The age of the blog comment is over. The age of the blog may be coming to an end with it. Also, novels have turned to ash, cinema has dried up on hot pavement, and no one has written a poem since 1955. (Photography, you can stay, because you’re in our phones and require no writing.)
Truth be told, this place has never been a hit magnet; it’s never been bustling. Some of you come by now and again, maybe read what’s on top, and I appreciate it. Maybe you put the RSS feed in your reader and sort of forgot about it. That’s how that goes.
Every time I come back to blogging after time away, I get fewer comments. I say this without any angst or smeared mascara. It makes sense.
First, Twitter is where the bulk of my blog-like material gets written these days. As I find things that don’t fit that medium, I write them here, but Twitter’s my go-to. It’s open in a browser tab almost all day long. (Yeah, I’m the guy who’s been using the web ‘face. You’ve heard about me.) When I do blog around here, I’m more likely to get Twitter mentions or DMs about the post than I am to get commentary here at the site. That’s just the way it is now. That’s fine.
Second, I think I write less provocative stuff lately. I admit, I’m wary of driving people away. But—and this isn’t me being cheeky—people would need to be coming here in the first place for me to drive them away. Maybe if I took more stands, wrote more about writing, was a little cussier, wrote less about struggle and depression, posted more pictures, slung some mud, picked some fights, people would swing by more regular-like. Maybe I need to piss off half of you to get the other half on my side. Maybe if I produced more work that had my name on it people could muster a damn.
Lastly, I think you’re all just too busy. Who has time to comment on every fucking blog, right? I don’t. I read a lot more blogs than I comment on—a lot more.
Not having comments isn’t such a big deal. This blog is as much an exercise routine for me as it is a traffic generator. I have a core base of readers and a few people come in now and again pursuing the odd search term. I guess that works out for everybody.
I compare this to the kind of activity I get on my Tumblr, though, and I wonder. The Tumblr thing nets a few likes now and again, maybe the occasional reblog, and that stuff convinces me that I’ve been read. That’s valuable. Here, I know that people bounce through the site, land on a few pages, but I don’t know if anyone’s read anything. Vexing.
This raises the question: Do I need to care? Who am I writing for, you or me?
Truth again: It varies, day by day.
The terrific writer, Tobias Buckell, went and disabled comments on his blog altogether. He got tired of moderating the situation, understandably so. Doesn’t seem to have hurt his readership.
That’s not what I’m doing. The point is, comments are not an essential part of blogging. This isn’t the medium for a dialogue; other things have that covered. I understand a lot of cameras have phones in them now, in fact.
Music: “Calculation Theme,” Metric