05 June 2007

Video Killed the Radio Store*

We're coming up on my one year anniversary. As of June sixth (still haven't gotten the keyboard fixed and the six key doesn't work), I will have been blogging for a year (I was going to say the amount of days to mix it up from the previous sentence, but missing numbers make that difficult: who wants to say three hundred and sixty five days?). This anni has got me thinking, is blogging killing the bookstore?
The Guardian blog in the UK did a blurb on the internet and literacy. They conclude that the internet is not indeed killing literacy, and I agree (although I do wonder if it is limiting our verbage). Rather, I wonder if blogging is killing the book. For example, right now, if I weren't blogging and reading my bloglines and commenting here and there when I have wise words to impart (such as, that made me laugh or the like), I would probably be reading. Perhaps writing, practicing flute or piano, keeping up on my Spanish lessons, which I lost somewhere between Christmas of oh six and next Easter. Perhaps I'd be working on the material for my upcoming speaking engagement. Maybe I'd be running or sitting outside enjoying the day. (Hey, that reminds me, I have a laptop. Be back.)
Okay, now I'm outside enjoying the day in my backyard, where my hubby and I spent some time Sunday afternoon prettying it up.
And Ordinary Mother of Joe, I forgot to get honey at Sam's yesterday.
So if I weren't blogging, I'd be doing something else (profound). The question is, would that something else necessarily be more productive. Maybe yes, maybe no. I have friends, both online and that I've met in real live life because of the blogging experience. I've been exposed (gasp) to new ideas and philosophies and books. On the other hand, I probably should learn to give myself some limits and not neglect the book or the piano or the Spanish (which suffers the most).
So if you weren't blogging, what would you be doing?

*In 1981 (if memory serves me correctly, it was August), this was the first music video MTV played on its inaugural day. (I don't know what was next, maybe Madonna?) As we all know, radio and music stores thrive. Video did not indeed kill the radio store. I hope blogging will not kill the bookstore.


Jeanne Damoff said...

Hey, Heather. I spend WAY too much time online. On the one hand, I love the community I've built with people I most likely never would have met otherwise. On the other hand, like you, I tend to sacrifice some good (even important) things to feed my internet habits.

I think I really do need to set time constraints on myself. It's not like I'm addicted. I can do this. Let's see, from now on I'll only allow myself . . . 8 hours a day online.

There! I feel better already. Okay, I guess I should start counting now. Or maybe an hour from now. This can count as warm up for the actual 8 hour time limit. And then there's the cool down period . . .

L.L. Barkat said...

Reading, gardening, cleaning, writing. But I like blogging. It gives me a much needed social outlet (writers can be so isolated) and it assures that I write a little almost every day. My longer works have become easier to approach, because of all this practice! But, yes, I have had to put some limits in place. Otherwise, I really could get carried away and do this for hours every day.

Erin said...

My family has informed me that they like to eat an occasional meal now and then, so I've had to cut back the blogging hours.
In the spring I also drop way down in my frequency because I just can't resist the lure of the garden. (I just came from there. I'm getting soil crumbles on my keyboard.)

Even though there are so many other things I enjoy, sitting in front of the computer often has that magnetic attraction. I can't seem to pull away. And blogging, in specific, has a weird aspect to it. I catch myself thinking, "Oh, this would be a great blog entry!" Rather than being 100% into the moment, I'm already planning how to write a pithy blog entry. And I don't think I like that. It's like the parents that watch their kids grow up through the view finder of a camera or video recorder. Kind of a faux experience.

So, like Jeanne, I hereby pledge to limit my blogging hours to 8 per day. Starting next Monday.

Jenn said...

Re: Erin's comments:

See, I have narrated my experiences in my head at least since college, so the blog is actually kind of a release, because I finally have some place to PUT that stuff. I don't know that I'm less in the moment than I would be if I weren't self-narrating . . . partly because I don't remember what it's like NOT to self-narrate . . . but I sort of feel that it helps me, at least, be more IN the moment than not.

Willowtree said...

I think unrealistic prices, inconvenience and snooty sales staff killed the bookstore. Blogging just sped it up a little.

And you are on the money with the MTV trivia.

Erin said...

Jenn is funny! Self-narrating her own life.

I did that too once, sitting on the back of my husband's motorcycle on a cross-country road trip. Can't read a book, can't listen to music, can't talk to anyone but yourself. So... you might as well... talk... to yourself... yeah... ahem...

Jenn, have you ever self-narrated in a different voice or accent? Southern drawl, Irish, Cockney, Pakistani? I've never, ever, ever done that. Except for that one time. (It was getting kinda boring on the back of that bike.)

Christianne said...

Wow! I love this post and I love all the comments. I giggled to myself more than a few times -- especially listening in on Jenn and Erin's conversation. :)

I've experienced a little bit of what pretty much each person here has voiced. Lately, though, I'm finding that blogging is turning my brain to mush. My eyes glaze over in front of the screen. I never hear the things my hub says to me while I'm reading people's pages. (I'm always looking up at least two beats past the time I should have and saying, "I'm sorry, what was that, hon?" I hate that feeling.)

I think this is because I've formed a community online of people whose pages I love to read. I'm gone for 10 hours during the day, and by the time I get home I want to check my personal e-mail and catch up on what those people I like have had to say that day. Only now there are so many to plow through -- none of which I want to miss -- that it's taking more and more time to do the "blog run" each day. I get tired and find myself having to pick and choose.

I also find, after picking and choosing, that by the time I do visit some blogs, tons of conversation has happened and I get too dazed by it all to jump on in. My brain, like I said, glazes over. I don't have anything helpful to offer. This means I also do not have any energy left to even think about blogging on my own page, putting things out there that are interesting or funny or reflective (instead of just factual and catch-up-on-life stuff) for all these new people in my life to read for themselves.

So, all this to say that blogging, at least in my current practice, is making me LESS community-active, since I don't comment as much and I don't post as much, and all in all I start to feel blah and dull. And then I go to sleep. Without sharing a thing.

It felt good to type this out, though. Thanks for the space to sort through the general malaise that's been descending on me of late in this arena. :)

Heather said...

your welcome, christianne. i feel the same way. too many blogs now.
i do feel like i have this community that i didn't have, that i wouldn't have in my isolated self.
and, jenn, yup. i do the self narrating too! with different voices, genres, accents, whatnot depending on the situ.

Nicole said...

I'd be cleaning my house which I would rather not do. This community is unique (in more ways than one :) ) and is spread all over the nation. How else could I "meet" these people?

Many of you have the same writing concerns, struggles, and I find blogging, both writing my own and reading others' therapeutic, even challenging at times.

Jeanne Damoff said...

Narrating. Yeah, I do that, too. My life. Other people's lives. The toothless, overall-clad farmer in the check-out line at Piggly Wiggly is really an undercover agent for a super-secret terrorist group. I'm really a counter agent pretending to be a small-town homemaker picking up some 1% milk, a twelve-pack of toilet paper, and Mrs. Paul's fishsticks, but if he makes a move, I'll go into slo-mo-matrix mode and do a fancy jump-kick thingy . . .

Or did you mean you narrate what's actually happening? I do that occasionally, too, but sometimes it's more fun to make my life up as I go. As Anne of GG would say, there's so much scope for the imagination--even in the check-out line at Piggly Wiggly.

Erin said...

If Anne Shirley read this blog thread, she would say it was full of bosom friends. And I'd have to agree with her. So much imagination and self-narration going on. :)

Christianne is right about becoming unplugged from the flesh-and-blood people God puts in front of us. The blogging community is a nice thing, but if it severs me from the community God has physically placed me in, that's NOT a good thing.

I like the bloggers who write sporadically. It gives me a chance to unglaze my eyes between entries when there is a margin between what they wrote two weeks ago and their latest entry. Given a little time between postings, I might actually have something to say, or at least a coherent thought related to their post.

Heather said...

WT, I do think there is a lot of snootiness in bookstores, but if you look at prices, they really haven't gone up in years. Of course, I rarely buy hardback and rely on my library more and more these days (a difficult command to obey when returning a book feels like I'm returning a piece of me with it).
Getting unplugged from real people is getting easier, like Christianne's Mac plug, but blogging is my daily warmup to writing, and to be honest, I'd just do something else to warmup. And then when my poor husband came home, he'd be inundated with all the words I didn't use up blogging.
And I've always journeled. Now my journal is online rather than written, so maybe I'm saving my hand too.

Christianne said...

That's a really cool perspective, Heather, about blogging being your warmup to writing every day. It's really inspiring, actually. In my dreams that never make it to reality, I come home from work, eat dinner, check blogs, write a post of my own, and then write some "real" stuff that nobody sees for a long, long time. (Until publication in a bona fide book, that is.)

Like I said, it never happens. And for now, I'm OK with the never getting to the original work stuff.

Oh, and I meant to mention that, I too, narrate my life in my head. I agree with Jenn that my experiences are substantially heightened since I began doing this. I have to be more present to what I'm experiencing, seeing, touching, smelling, feeling inside in order to best put it into words for others to inhabit, too.

And Erin, I was encouraged by what you said about people writing sporadically. Gives me permission to ease up on the guilt I heap on my own head way more often than I care to admit for not posting more often and more deeply these days. I totally get what you mean about the little sigh of relief that comes when you find someone is still out living life for the moment, not yet back to tell the tales.

PS: That was a clever allusion to my Mac post, Heather! :)

Pamela said...

my 1 year is coming up NEXT WEEK.
I'm giving away something insignificant.. so make sure you hop on by -- I'm going to counting posts then....

and yes.. I got to the book store less. I read too much on the internet.