It’s a lazy Saturday, and I’m catching up on long-form articles I’ve saved to Pocket from my never-ending Twitter feed over the past few weeks. The articles have been undoubtedly engaging and well-written. I read Amanda Mull’s grappling with the limits of minimalism in the era of a pandemic. I took a deep dive into the fever dream that is law enforcement’s online discourse. I explored the desperate insanity of Travis Kalanick’s fall from glory at Uber. I read these things and more and enjoyed my time doing so; but as I clicked the next link to a story I’m sure was well-reported, I felt a familiar urge for something I’m sure I’ll never quite get back.
I don’t talk about it much anymore, but there was a time when I was actively engaged with the broader blogging community. I focused on a narrow lane within the religious blogosphere and built a respectable following. Ideas for posts came easily, often inspired by earlier posts by fellow bloggers, and the conversation never seemed like it would end. Blogs that started with a singular purpose blossomed into much more comprehensive bodies of work, through which the authors shared more about themselves than is possible in a traditional journalistic format. But that personal perspective didn’t keep bloggers from educating vast audiences, members of which often turned around and started their own blogs.
When I stopped actively blogging on my chosen subject, I tried a few times to continue the practice in a more general way. I started a blog with a couple of friends that covered just about anything in the news we found interesting, and you can imagine why such a solid foundation for a blog failed. I also added this blogging section to my website, which otherwise serves a predominantly professional purpose. The frequency of posts ebbed and flowed, and I essentially gave it up entirely a little over a year ago.
Yet today, I found myself missing the rush of cranking out a few paragraphs, engaging on a topic for the sake of discovery and growth, with less attention paid to the mechanics of the writing.
Ezra Klein said blogging isn’t dead in 2015. I don’t know if he was right then, but I’m certain blogging is dead now. The medium represented a fleeting moment in the history of our collective discourse, and I feel confident in saying it’s been replaced by something worse. The world of online opinion-sharing is far less exciting and far more predictable today.I’m sure my mindless scrolling through Twitter contributed to the demise of the blog, and I feel some regret about that. But I suppose there’s no point dwelling on it anymore, except for here in a blog post no one will ever read.