I’m Not Quitting Yet

I can hardly write another word without mentioning the Great Blogger Fiasco of 2005.

Especially since it is still going on. At least let us hope it’s the only Blogger fiasco of 2005. First the Comment system went down. For one whole day, clicking on the “Leave a Comment” button led down a spiral of despair, an eternity of waiting and watching for the comment box to appear. And this happened so soon after the Big Improvement! So much promise. Blogger popup comment boxes that looked like Haloscan’s, only with pictures! An easy way of reading the post upon which you were commenting, so you could stay on topic, God damnit. Maybe it was just too cool. Maybe the system got overloaded because millions of lurkers saw the coolness and came out of the woodwork, trying to comment on everything, spewing commentary until the servers could no longer stomach another pun, another clever riposte, not one more bon mot, and crashed, to save themselves.

Whatever the reason, the patient seemed dead.

The comment system has been returning to health over the past couple of days, although it still feels like it takes longer for the comment box to arrive than it used to, and whenever the delay is more than 10 seconds (it really shouldn’t be even that long, I don’t care if it is a free service), I am tempted to click on another blog, or even another site completely outside the blogosphere. And thanks for asking, yes, that word still cracks me up.

And now I am reading that Blogger is eating your posts! I’m not sure of the exact manner in which this particular technoabomination is occurring, because so far it hasn’t happened to me, but several of my bloggin’ buddies are writing that Blogger has eaten their posts. I assume this means that carefully researched and constructed gems of journalism are written in the little “Create Post” boxes, only to vanish irretrievably at some point after clicking the “Publish” button. Of course, this could just be the blog writer’s excuse for publishing bad or plagiarized writing. I don’t believe that for a second about anyone that I read, but I’m just saying, you know, it could happen.

Or maybe Blogger really is eating your posts. As I said, It hasn’t happened to me, so I can’t complain, or confirm the glitch, but I would certainly be able to feel the pain, the heartbreak of crafting the perfect post, and then to have it disappear, with no backup. The humanity.

Whatever, the effect seems to be that some blog writers are simply quitting. I don’t mean they just can’t cope with the technical failures. If there’s one thing that almost everyone knows by this stage of the Information Age, it’s that computers crash, and information is lost. We all know how to cope. Go get coffee. Reorganize your desk. Make phone calls (unless you are using a computer-based phone system). Smile apologetically at your customer and wiggle the mouse real fast for a few seconds and say “Gee, the system sure is slow today,” as you look at a screen completely filled with gibberish.

No, it’s not the inability to cope. It’s probably that some writers have been feeling guilty about all the time they are devoting to their blogs. Time that, by any normal measure, is completely wasted. The time spent putting together their posts, thinking about their posts, checking their stats, replying to comments, commenting on other blogs, returning to those to see if their comments have been replied to, or even referred to, looking upon everything that happens in your life as a potential blog topic.

A few days of the system not working right, and these folks are outta here.

Frankly, I don’t blame them. This is an entertaining pasttime at first. I know, I know, it’s a writing excercise. OK, I’ll give you that. But you could write longhand at a park bench, or even on a computer at a park bench, and not post it on the internet. If you’re posting what you did on Friday night after your last final exam, you are probably not practicing your writing technique. You are probably entertaining yourself. The bloggers I read are entertaining me, of course, and maybe a lot of others. But if you find yourself getting sucked into Blogging Madness, all but abandoning your job and your family and traveling the path of solitary obsession, well, hey, welcome to my world.

A break in the action, so to speak, is just what a lot of blog writers must have needed to come out of the ether and make another grab for that elusive je ne sais quoi that we call reality. OK, I’m getting all tangled up trying to be clever here, but what I’m saying is just that some of those whom I have come to think of as “bloggin’ buddies” (only because I read their blogs, and I think they read mine) are stopping their blogs. It’s none of my business why they are doing this, but since I have let then into my mind and heart over the past several months I can’t help feeling a little pang of regret with each one who writes that final post: “Dear friends, I can’t do this any more. You have seen the last of me here. I go now to other things, where you don’t get to follow.” I prefer Holly’s method. She just stopped writing, and didn’t even delete her blog.

But now that I’ve started thinking about it, the Final Post seems like an irresistible grand gesture. How many actors work all their lives for the chance to make an exit speech? To leave the scene and be truly missed (one imagines), while at the same time summing up the meaning of life for all who remain? What glory! I am starting my final post tonight. It may take a long time to finish, and in the meantime I will continue putting up frequent but lesser essays here, especially the always popular “What If You Were Tied Spreadeagle to the Bed?” variety. But all the time in the background I will be working feverishly on my Grand Gesture, the Final Post to end all Final Posts. Or at least this blog.

Don’t hold your breath. These things take time.

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10 Replies to “I’m Not Quitting Yet”

  1. It’s called exit strategy. Do not ask the president, he has no clue how to conceive or implement one.

    I, on the other hand, do.

    It’s a strangeness after you let go of something. And I won’t be deleting the blog. I left some things in there I’ll need.

    Good point on Blogger taking a shit for the last week. I can’t really say that the fiasco had nothing to do with it, but it most likely was the straw that did that thing to the camel.

    Be seeing you.

  2. Thank you for the forewarning. You’ll be missed when the time comes to say goodbye.

    As for myself, I know that my time in the blogosphere is limited as well. I’ll know when it’s time to go when I’ve discovered my reason for coming here in the first place.

  3. In a world where having a blog for a year or more makes you feel like you’re very experienced and where anyone who’s been writing one for 2 years or more is an old-timer, it apparently becomes the thing to do to quit or talk about quitting.

    It’s a high-octane burn-out environment out here. Probably that’s just the kind of people who are drawn to this self-absorbed form of talk-fest. You’re getting that lemme-outta-here bug up your ass a little early, seems to me, but I guess you’re anticipating the moment more than threatening to jump overboard soon. It can be a terrible thing to be so self-aware or self-conscious. Still, a blog can be a great safety valve, it releases some of the pressure.

  4. I think a courtesy last post is good blogging etiquette, don’t you? Unless you meet an untimely demise and are physically unable to post. Well Larry, glad to know you’re not quitting yet–you’ve got more blogging left in you, I know it.

  5. L – I think it bears mentioning here that I commented on your
    post
    tonight at exactly the same minute that you commented on mine. Isn’t that some kind of sign? Do you think you and I should run away to Rio together and spend out days drinking daiquiris on the beach at Ipanema and our nights dancing like fools in the city? Or does it mean it’s time to quit blogging, for real?

  6. Viking funeral. Only way to go. Drink lots of mead, put your computer in a boat and light it on fire as you push it out to sea.

    Would make it hard to post pictures of the event subsequently, however. Plus it seems a little harsh, burning and then exiling your whole computer just to be rid of your blog. On second though, this needs more consideration.

    And the post-eating… if you hit PUBLISH and it gives you a PAGE NOT FOUND screen, then you hit BACK and you get a nice, freshly scrubbed CREATE NEW POST screen devoid of your magnum opus. So the anal retentive among us save to a Word file before we PUBLISH.

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