Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Looking For Online Community (and Xanga Nostalgia)

I am guilty of romanticizing the past. In this case, I romanticize Xanga. Remember it? The first big blogging platform? The blog you can't remember the password for but is probably still there somewhere in the interwebs, set on private?

Xanga is where I started blogging, to keep up with friends and then just as a way to write about life. What kept me going and pulled me in, though, was not just the blank web page to fill with words, but the community. I think that's what made Xanga great in its day. A ton of people were on it and, like Facebook, you were able to see friend's new posts pop up, see when someone had replied to a comment, and generally be notified of communication so you you could communicate back. Because of that, I got to know the bloggers I followed and even though I don't think any of us are on Xanga anymore, those Internet friends because just... friends... we keep in touch and I forget that I've never actually met them.

And that, friends, is what is frustrating me about blogging these days. Things have changed. Some of the bloggers that I read back in the day have become actual professional writer/bloggers that are writing books. The rest rarely post or have shut down completely. It feels like blogging has moved on to business, and the day when it was used mostly by people like me, just your average Jane looking to write about life, feels like it's passing.

I blog to write about life and process, but at the moment it's missing something. It's missing community. I don't want to write in a vacuum. I want to communicate, to be in a "neighborhood" of people also writing about life. It's not that I want a ton of followers, I just wish for interaction, you know?

Commenting is a problem. Everyone has different blog platforms and we all are trying to guard against spam comments, and so you have sign up for various comment systems, or fill in captchas, or sign in with your facebook or twitter account. Thing is, I follow a good amount of blogs, and chances are that if you're reading this and have a blog, I read yours. But I probably don't comment, or at least you don't think I do, because it happens ALL THE TIME that I try to comment on blogs and get errors or it won't go through, and I give up because I didn't have anything all that important to say anyways.

So, I miss the days of xanga, when it was easy to comment and was notified of replies automatically.

Social media is not my only community, and certainly in-person community is more important, but I do think that we look for community in just about everything we do (sports, jobs, church, hobbies, etc). If I blog, I would like to blog within a community of bloggers.  I feel like the community aspect of blogging is dropping, and I miss it. 


Amy B said...

For me it wasn't Xanga, it was Tabulas. I am SO SO SO nostalgic for those early days of blogging. Sigh.

As you may have noticed, I have pretty much given up on my blog lately. And I am finding that I am tired of reading most blogs as well. I am realizing that a lot of the blogs I was reading regularly are actually rather narcissistic and just feed a sense of inadequacy in me. Even if they are good writers, doesn't mean it is good for me to be reading it. (I am not talking about your blog of course!)

Kartasi said...

True story! I was just thinking about Xanga the other day. I loved the webrings! P.S. I tried to post this twice using my OpenID and got an error message. Case in point!

Melissa said...

i agree, i miss xanga too! one of the reasons i hardly ever post anymore on my blog now is because of the lack of interaction, and i don't know if anyone ever reads it. i write other things more for myself now that i don't post online. but i really miss the community of blogging with others. anyway, i still read your blog and really enjoy it. =)

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog yesterday, with a Google search for "pixie cuts and thick hair" for my 11-year-old daughter who just donated her long hair. Anyway, I'm glad you're blogging. I see so many bloggers stating that they are just mostly posting photos to Instagram these days, which is really too bad-- aside from the fact that I'm not on Instagram, I like to read what people have to say! :). I've enjoyed reading other pages on your blog -- not just about the pixie cut tips-- and hope you keep going.

AHLondon said...

I don't disagree, especially as someone who has largely moved on (I still try to make rounds, like this, but every few months as opposed to every week). I think it cycles though. New ones come in, not as many. But might I recommend a new lady, Aussie, Just Another Parent at blogspot. (Are you in Indonesia yet?)