Saturday, May 16, 2009

Archives are Awesome

I often wonder how many people ever go back and read all the back logs of any blog. Your typical blog runs for about a year and accumulates on average twenty to thirty posts. It's not so hard to sit down and read them in a few hours if one is so inclined. The task is made even simpler if each post is under three hundred words which they usually are.

But what about some of the older, more established blogs? Like Prokofy or Torley or Gwyn? We're talking people who have been at it since at least 2004, almost five years ago. Prokofy, especially, can write in volumes. Who has time to read all that? Yet, the curiosity is killer. Imagine what gems might be hidden under those months of posts, crammed in there between "I'm on hiatus" and "Today I ate a slug".

When I come across a new blog I have an obsessive compulsion to read the entire archives. All of 'em. Sometimes it's the thrill of feeling like a virtual archaeologist. And sometimes it's just to get a feel for the writer. By the way, to get a feel for me as a reader, be aware that I read the entire backlog of Second Thoughts. Even the chatlogs. Chew on that for a while.

Sometimes I feel that a good blog is like a good book, and when I like the articles I see posted in the recent, I want to read it from the beginning. I love writers like that. Prad was one in particular where I read through the entire archives just to watch him go. Seeing a huge volume of archives excites me!

It's sad that, realistically, all those words are more-or-less going down the drain after about a week. Posts agonizingly labored over and revised and spell checked and researched enjoy the spotlight for a brief glimpse of time and then are shown off stage where they turn to drugs and alcohol and eventual obscurity. It feels like such a waste. Hey, it sounds exactly like a high school research paper. Effort and effort on a paper which, after it is graded, is thrown away or posted online so others can plagiarize it.

Maybe it's just the angle I'm looking at blogs. The alternative might be that blogs are just vehicles for updates and the occasional discussion. Once the debate has closed or the update is notified, it's squirreled away since there's no more use for it. It's archived just in case one wants to reference it ('you said so and so in here when' or 'we fixed this back then'). To them, it's a newspaper. They only want and have need of the latest and greatest.

I tend to land in the middle. I treat my blog as both a kind of (poor) track of updates about Second Life with a smattering of random tangents and musings. Lately it's been leaning towards the latter as I find myself thinking less about Second Life and more about Second Life (wrap your head around that one). Also because at the pace I'm trying to set this May, Second Life hasn't been pulsing as fast as I need to post.

I feel no love lost for the post I've thrown up in the heat of the moment to inform all eight of my readers about what Linden Lab has broken now. But a good half is not related to Second Life news, and half of that half are things which I feel are truly good and not deserving of the status of 'post to be cast away later'. They all get buried together. I've tried to tag some for meager organization but at a certain point even that category will fill and essentially become its own blog.

The feeling sometimes strikes me that my time would be better served not expending the time and effort on flash-in-the-pan one shots and focused on maybe actually just writing a book. A small book. Short story? Something tangible that would not get lost in the general background noise of the average blog. Something that would stand unto its own.

Something doesn't quite sit well with me doing that, however. There's some essence which I can't place that would be lost. For one, that would mean I would have to waste mind power towards a well written focus. Publication would be a pain (and frankly, in the end I doubt anything would be worthy anyway). The chances of any success are hilariously slim.

With a blog, I get drowned in my own noise. But I'm free with editing and publishing. Log into blogger, hit 'create', rap out some random post, hit 'publish post', and done. No muss, no fuss. Instantly available for the entire world to examine and/or enjoy. In addition, comments add so much flavor. Your critics don't have to publish on their own blog or paper, they can just rip on you on the very same publication! The convenience is undeniable.

I think I'll stick with blogging.


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