The blogosphere (a term that I dislike for reasons I can’t quite pin down) is up for a round of navel-gazing (word of the day: ὀμφαλόσκέψις (omphaloskepsis), a term that I like for reasons I can’t quite pin down). Not in the unhealthy, overly self-absorbed way, simply in the way of talking about itself. A lot of people have the impression that blogging is going through another rough phase. Maybe that’s partially because Google finally shut down its reader after they realized they can’t scare everybody away with sudden arbitrary UI messups, and people are worried what that will mean to the dissemination of their thoughts.
I’m really not too worried about that, considering that I don’t think most of my thoughts are well-disseminated anyway. Not the way the bigwig’s thoughts are, in any case. And that’s just as well, because my flow of posts comes and goes, like rainy season in the Okavango Delta, forming a huge stream that then unceremoniously seeps away in the savannah. (Fun fact: after half a year of almost no posts, recently Feedburner claims my readership count has gone up. Though I’m not convinced that counter is completely trustworthy, I’ve seen it do strange things before.)
Anyway. Where was I? Oh, right. People ask “where have all the bloggers gone?“, (there’s a nice collection of posts at Wilhelm’s blog, someone who seems to deal much better with steady flows of posts) and when I read their posts, I can’t but feel part of the group they’re talking about. Even though I don’t feel like a cowboy at all, which is the image Ravious chose: I’m most definitely one of the bloggers that came and seems to have gone.
I still refuse to acknowledge that fact, though. That’s the reason there hasn’t been a Goodbye post, that’s why I still update this wordpress installation and the plugins (which is probably not noticeable at all from the outside, but I won’t let this site rot). It doesn’t have to do with me thinking that the medium is dying. I still like it, and I haven’t figured out how Facebook, Google+ or (least of all) Twitter could ever replace this method of publishing thoughts.
So, if I actually don’t want to stop writing, why have I? The reason, as often, is simple, mundane, and sounds like a copout, but it’s still true. Let me present my personal hierarchy of needs:
The pyramid is simplified, of course. Everybody needs food and sleep, but I skipped air and all those other pesky things you can read about from Maslow. Work sometimes becomes a WoW’s peon’s “Work Work”, and then there’s not much to do about it. I like my job, and it has good fringe benefits (billiard table at work?), but as it often is with jobs that provide a lot of amenities at your work place: they also tend to gobble up a good extra amount of time compared to the average drab cubicle job. Playing games (which again stands in for and has to share its time with other pastimes such as reading) is where it gets interesting, because who wants to blog about work? Or sleep? Food I can see, but that’s a different kind of blog. But of course, to write about games, I need to play games to write about. And for me, following other people’s blogs and reading their posts comes before writing my own posts. Mostly because I guess I don’t feel my posts are that exciting half the time, and I often only get inspiration to write after reading what others wrote. Plus, I’m a selfish bastard and, hey, I already know myself what I want to write, so I’d rather go and absorb other people’s thoughts before divulging mine!
So, what happened a lot this past half year was something like this:
I wasn’t completely overworked to the point where I only knew work and sleep, but it was enough to sap anything more involved than clicking a button a couple of times in a game. Even with reading, I fell behind. Now, of course, it hasn’t been like this for half a year nonstop. That would be horrible. Sometimes, it’s better, like it was recently:
I was able to play a bit, and I even managed to read some blogs again relatively regularly. I’m still ways behind with some of them (Hi, Wilhelm! Hi, HarbingerZero! Hi, MMO Melting Pot! Hi, Syl! Hi, Jester!) and will probably have to do a cut at some point and just skip some old posts. But at least I feel more connected again to what other people are doing and writing about. Still, whenever I sat down to write, either something else came up, or I just stared at a blank screen because I didn’t have the necessary rest and focus to write something of my own.
But when people start asking where everybody went, you have to at least shout that you’re still there. As I said, I still refuse to let this blog die. I’m not sure how much more time I’ll have in the future (I will have to write my actual dissertation document very soon, we’ll see how that much writing effects writing on this blog), but I will try. I actually have a bunch of half-finished posts in the queue. Some are quite old by now, but they will still work once I finish them. What can you expect? Well, I stopped playing EQ2 in the meantime, then started again. There are one or two posts about that in the queue. I also finally got the invite to the FF XIV beta, sadly only now during what looks like the publicity stunt “stress test beta”. But better than nothing, and once I order my thoughts about what I think about the game, I’ll probably have something to say there, too. There’s also some more general stuff about “the state of MMO gaming” which might or might not ever get finished. It seems people enjoy me talking about that, so I’ll try, but at the moment, they are a mess. To get back into the groove, I’ll probably try simple things first.
I’ll do my best.