23 April 2014

Catacombs of the blogosphere

I've been blogging for almost eight years now, and have been on the internet even longer.  During that time there are many blogs I've read regularly and grown attached to.  The great thing about a blog is that it's totally an expression of its author; unlike with print publications in the old days, there's no editor or anyone else standing between author and reader.  If a blogger is dedicated to liberal politics but also has a passionate interest in, say, gardening and jazz music, then there will be some posts about liberal politics and others about gardening or jazz music.  Each blog is different; each one is personal.

So it's noticeable when a blog ends.  Oh, they don't usually disappear, but new posts dwindle to nothing and eventually stop, leaving only a frozen monument which may endure as long as the internet itself does.  Or sometimes the blog truly does disappear.  At any rate, a voice has fallen silent in the blogosphere.

Acme's Buddhist Catalogue
Around Town with Rita
Bay of Fundie
Blonde Nonbeliever
Finding the Pony
Four Dinners
Gothic Atheist
The Last Lemurisian
Momma Politico
Preliator pro Causa
Random Thoughts
Reason Being
Robert the Skeptic
Vamp's Worldview

And there are more.  In a couple of these cases, I know for a fact that the blogger simply moved on to other things or no longer had time.  For the rest, who can know?

There are a few others who have been silent for some while now:

Hello Mr. President
Kay's Thinking Cap
Maria Konovalenko
Mario Piperni
Parsley's Pics
Uzza's Notes

Hopefully they're just taking a break.  Their absence is felt.


Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

The bloggers "Hello Mr.President" and "Parsley Pics" are still politically active, only they post their opinions to facebook.

I prefer reading a blog, since facebook "posts" start migrating down the bottom of the page as new posts come in, and it's not easy to find any one post from say, Hello (Sue) or Parsley's Pics (Leslie) in the dozens of posts that get published on fb.

I wish they were still using Blogger.

Sad to see all the blogs that have gone silent.

23 April, 2014 10:09  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

I must confess I am touched that my blog was among those you have noticed have gone MIA. For reasons not entirely evident to me, not only have I stopped blogging, but I have also ceased following, and to a greater extent, stopped commenting altogether on even those few (yours among them) that I continue to occasionally follow.

During the short course of my blogging experience, three of the bloggers I had been following had died; two from illness and one in an auto accident (Australia). Their short existence and passing reminding me of a Star Trek NG episode titled “Inner Light” where the memory of a, now extinguished, planet is imparted from a probe into Capt. Picard’s consciousness. I don’t know why we, as humans, feel the strong need to be remembered, but we do.

People had encouraged me to blog primarily as a means to work out internal thoughts; a sort of self-therapy, if you will. To some extent that has been beneficial, but then at some point, a feeling of futility crept in and I gradually allowed a sense of pointlessness cause me to abandon the effort.

For a while I turned to Reddit, commenting on posts which I felt were so terribly misdirected that I simply had to weigh in. But even there I found myself repeating the same themes again and again to different posters. That creeping sense of futility eventually causing me to back away from there as well.

A strong driving force in human psyche (aside from sex) is the need to somehow make a difference. With the development of the internet that seemed somewhat attainable. But the explosion of information has become so vast, so widespread, that even the most eloquent voices seem often lost in the din.

The word “futility” keeps orbiting my consciousness. I feel a tragic sense of grief, of loss, regarding the ideals around which our nation was founded; of hope for a better world for my kids and grandkids. A sort of battle fatigue has set in at the specter of needing to continually vanquish the forces of ignorance and complacency. I’ve essentially surrendered, retreating now to the much smaller world of family, friends and banal comforts of what remnants of personal security I can easily maintain.

I admire that you have continued to persevere, pleased that you have chosen to exercise your voice. And I am touched that my blog was mentioned among those which are missed. Thank you for carrying on. – RtS

23 April, 2014 11:49  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw: Thanks for the information. I've heard that some people are migrating from blogging to various "social media", but the format just doesn't seem as suitable for in-depth posting. Still, better to be active that way than not active at all.

A lot of blogs I used to read have gone silent over the years. These are some of the ones that most immediately came to mind when I was thinking about this post.

Robert: People do want to be remembered -- think of all the monuments and statues created over the millennia to preserve the memory of powerful people. I guess it's the best we can do until physical immortality is achieved.

It can seem futile sometimes, but remember that in most cases when you make a difference, you won't be aware of it. Way back before blogs were thought of, I once received a letter from a person in Finland who told me that some of my writings had convinced him to abandon his belief in fascism. How many other people have I swayed somewhat or at least encouraged to start asking questions, that I know nothing about? It's rare that a person abandons religion (or any other bad idea) as a result of a single brilliant argument. More often it's an accumulation of many influences of various kinds. If I can provide a few of those influences for some number of people, then I feel that what I do made a difference and was not futile. Every person can contribute something to the eradication of religion, however small.

24 April, 2014 03:53  
Blogger Tommykey said...

I missed Robert the Skeptic's posts too.

As for myself, as I have lamented several times on my own blog, it's just hard for me to find the time to sit down for enough time anymore to put into words the ideas I have in my head.

Things are very different than when I first started in late 2006. I was very productive back then and had a regular stable of fellow atheists bloggers and we read each and commented on each others posts a lot. There was a feeling of community back then. Most of them are no longer in the blogosphere any more and sometimes I feel like that even if I were to write more, there's a sense that I am doing it in an empty room.

Sometimes I contemplate just shutting it down, but there's a part of me that doesn't want to let go and hopes that one day soon I'll be able to get back into it again.

24 April, 2014 09:52  
Blogger Ahab said...

It's a shame. I used to visit some of those blogs, and I miss their presence. Still, if the blogger decided it was time to move on, or that other matters deserved more attention, I'll respect their decision.

Robert's comment resonated with me. For the past few months, I've felt blogging fatigue on and off as I've wondered if my blog made a difference. Infidel is right, though -- our blogs might be opening minds and encouraging though as we type away unaware.

25 April, 2014 18:27  
Blogger okjimm said...

well, I's still around. Went kinda blind. cataracts. shit got tough to type, read, and when the buddy fixed this puter with large white font on black so I coujld read, with some difficulty, but still read, well, he fucked up my blogger thingee and I can't make paragraphs, editing is toough..and then other shit happened, and then more s]hit...anyways, bloggers are great folks..I have talked with a few on that ancient telecommunication device, phone, and gosh goddam darnit..I hope to be back..but the dog ate my phone and my apartmetn caught fire, and now I am sorta homeless, and I have apainful itch plus toe fungus, and dandruff.....but Infidel..doan youse go nowhere...I have lost enough as it is...so a joke before I GO

sum ergo cogito

Descartes before the horse

25 April, 2014 20:13  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Tommykey: I think that happens a lot. People's circumstances change and they don't have time any more. In fact, the general political quiescence of a lot of the population is probably due in part to them having so much else to struggle with. A situation of considerable benefit to certain parties.

Ahab: Yours is one that certainly has the potential to make a difference. The kind of in-depth inside reporting on the Christian Right that you do is something not many others are doing. It's a resource for others, and a source of ammunition.

Okjimm: I had wondered about that -- I knew you had eye problems. Have you asked your buddy to try to fix the paragraph problem? It might be fairly simple.

I know someone who had cataract surgery and greatly benefited from it. But I'm sure you've looked into that.

I like "Coito ergo sum" myself.:-)

26 April, 2014 06:28  
Blogger okjimm said...

Infidel...just a update. things were bad and I became depressed and did not take care of all things. Then they got worse. Last week my apartment burned up. currently living with friend until I can sort that out. Then things got better. Now have insurance, friends in meat world have scooped me up. apt tues, eye doc is a friend..they are scooping me up and taking care of business that I didn't while depressed. Slapping my ass around is what!!! hope to have the page resumed. I need my own page so I can be inance and ridiculous again. Thanks. see you on pages.

26 April, 2014 11:24  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Oh, Infidel, my good friend. Thank you. I really didn't mean to jump ship and am not sure it's a permanent state of affairs. Lately, I have been having some health issues that make focusing or writing anything in depth problematic. Hopefully, this will not be permanent either.

I confess I do enjoy FB, warts and all, and I've met a large number of fabulously intelligent people - even some from TN. It doesn't take as much work and I see a lot more in a shorter time. Also, I've been invited to help administer a page that is growing everyday and is very close to my heart subject-wise. I'll let you know more if and when it comes to pass.

Otherwise, I am very, very politically active as Shaw points out. Not only do I advocate for issues I care about on my own page, I thoroughly enjoy leaving little love notes on the pages of those for whom I have no use - people like Marsha Blackburn. I'm sure she doesn't even bother reading anything on her own page but it's an effective way to "try" to convince her fan club that the woman is not what she appears to be.

Also, while the Tea Party members of my family wouldn't be caught dead reading my blog, they can hardly avoid seeing my FB posts and my comments - unless they hide me. One can always hope that some small "fact" might actually get through.

I share a lot of Robert's feelings, however, and sometimes the whole scene just becomes too depressing. But thanks for your thoughts. There was a time when I used to regularly check my blog roll every morning without fail. Maybe I should get back to that.

26 April, 2014 13:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Wow, this post has gotten the most solid comments thread I've had in a while.

Okjimm: Very glad to hear things are looking up! Hopefully the eye doctor can do something that will make a real difference. Losing your apartment must have been terrible, though. I'd be devastated if that happened to me.

Leslie: Thanks for letting us know how things are going. Of course I know there are many avenues of political activism besides blogging, and I know how having health issues can sap a person's energy.

I'd be interested to know about the page you mentioned, if it works out, and I'm sure a lot of your blog readers would as well -- maybe you can do a short post there if it happens, to let everyone know?

27 April, 2014 02:02  
Blogger tucsonbarbara said...

Does anyone know what happened to Mario Piperni?

I'd been reading his blog for a long time, and I miss it. A lot.

27 April, 2014 07:31  
Blogger okjimm said...

a blog I used to read ALL the time, when I first became aware of blogs and before I ever ever became a commentor, was Jon Swift.


he died young, tragically, but the blog is still there and still contains some of the most spot on topics done with a verve that was top notch. do go read.

and, Ifidel...I come here more often that I ever commented. Your persistence and views and writing are also top notch. Do continue.
peace n stuff

27 April, 2014 09:04  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Barbara: I wish I knew. If anyone replies here, of course I'll post it ASAP.

Okjimm: Thanks for the link -- I'll check that out. And thanks much for the kind words! I've been doing this blog for almost eight years now, and I have no intention of stopping.

27 April, 2014 17:26  
Blogger Unknown said...

i'm still here...coming up on 14 years of contiguous blogging...

but i didn't come to brag, but rather to point out the category on my side bar called "rest in peace" which is a list of the bloggers i have known and read and loved but have passed on from this earth.

27 April, 2014 20:18  
Blogger tucsonbarbara said...

I just looked at Mario's FB page, and here's what he wrote on March 7:

"Hi. I wrote the following in a response to Goldensun in a post here on FB, but I thought I should open it up and let you all know what's going on.

In a word: BUSY!

Sorry. Not trying to be mysterious...just rearranging my time to fit in al...l that I love to do, which includes writing and creating illustrations for my blog...but mostly to do my little part in countering the madness that calls itself politics. Another two weeks at the most, and I will get MarioPiperniDotCom up and running again. The site problems are real and I haven't fully resolved them all, but I will. It's just a time issue, nothing more.

Thank you, all, for your concern and I apologize again for disappearing on you without a decent explanation.

I'm going to try and post this on the blog, if it allows me to.

Looking forward to getting back.



28 April, 2014 05:16  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Skippy: "rest in peace" which is a list of the bloggers i have known and read and loved but have passed on from this earth.

Ah, yes, Steve Gilliard! I used to read him too and I really should have included him in the post.

14 years is quite a run. I hope I keep going that long.

Barbara: Thanks for the information. That's quite a relief.

29 April, 2014 07:03  

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