Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Whatever Happened to my blog?.....

Okay. I know I’m not the only one. I can trace the decline and fall of my blog directly to the increase in my use of Twitter.  Oh, I started out with the best of intentions: I’ll just tweet this kernel, this golden little nugget of what will become a fully fleshed out blog post...tomorrow. Yah. Tomorrow. Or maybe the next day.  And as we all know, tomorrow never comes—let alone the next day. 

I did notice the pattern, and consoled myself. Well, self, I’d say, all those golden goodies are all safe. Safe as houses, in your twitter account. Even safer, ‘cause I use backupmytweets. And you can go back and mine that rich vein any time you’re ready.

Still waiting.

Still waiting.

Hmm. No blog post. More no blog post. Hmm.

So what’s the problem here?

I’d like to propose a theory. It’s a theory that has to do with the energy of human creativity—with the energy of a thought. And with our nature as social animals.

Now, some folks can whack out a blog post in under 20 mins. I’m not one of those. A meaty post from me can take anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours to craft.  That’s a pretty big investment.  I get a lot of satisfaction out of just taking that time to sit with my thinking and expand it and explore it and put it out there in pleasing and enlivened language. And in order to make that kind of investment, I propose that I need to be experiencing a deep draw to the idea, or the question needs to be a burning one for me—one that I feel some level of inner compulsion to wrestle with. It is my experience, that once the spark of an idea gets out into the world, something happens in the mind and heart of its creator. There’s a leakage of energy, a subtle dissipation of the inner container. Subtle, but crucial. Without that intense holding of the spark, the inner motivation to fan it into productive fire withers into smoke and blows away at the earliest distraction.

Enter Twitter. The social media tool that is whooshing its way around the planet and into headlines on a daily basis. At first it sounded stupid. 140 characters? What can you say of any relevance in 140 characters? Come on…you know you said it….at first. And then the challenge started. It was a bit like a puzzle, a quest.  Could you do it? How much meaning could you squeeze into that little space? We all got a lot more concise. That was one upside.

And then there was the almost immediate ego hit of replies and retweets. And do you remember Follow Friday? That was the second upside.

And how about those lightning conversations? 140 char quips whipping back and forth—maybe at a conference, maybe in the middle of the work day, or perking up a quiet evening at home?  Another nice little bit of juice, a minor thrill. Contact. Real-time engagement.  Heady stuff. Hard for an old blog to compete with all that.

Because, and I know we’ve almost all had this happen, you pour your guts into a blog post—share the very best of your thinking and feeling and wondering—and….nothing. No comments. No way of knowing if anyone even really read it—or was moved by it or stopped a moment to think. Pretty hard to sustain that over the long haul. Especially when the new kid on the block is so responsive.

So by sharing the nuggets out into the Twittersphere pre-maturely and by feeding off of the insta-hit of almost real-time feedback, I’ve fallen into a self-made morass and succumbed to the tyranny of 140 chars. And my own and a long human history of sober reflection and composition goes flushing away down the intertubes.

I’m not blaming Twitter. I’m in control of what I share and when. And turning this trend around for myself at least, is not going to be an easy task. But it’s one that I propose is worth the effort. There is something very special that happens when an individual chooses to spend time arranging their thoughts for the careful consideration of others. An important human legacy of investment in stillness, and focus and thought. Deep thought. We can’t afford to lose that.  So if you find that like me, your blogging has dropped off, consider what I’ve written. See if it rings true in any way for you. And then perhaps crack open that keyboard, make a nice hot cup of tea, and invite your thoughts to the virtual page once more.

1 comment:

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