As a typical Times Union reader watches (and refreshes) the blog front page here, looking to get the required daily (or hourly, or instantaneous) fix of the bloggers that float his or her boat, it should become very clear, very quickly to our hypothetical reader just how ephemeral all of our words are. We post new thoughts, and we rise to the top of our little subgroupings for some period of time, maybe even generating a quick flurry of heavy commenting. (Well, if you read someone other than me, anyway). But then, maybe only minutes later, someone else in our subsection posts, and we drop down a spot. Then another one, and another, and before you know it, we’re essentially “below the fold” from a blog standpoint. Old news! So yesterday! And then, if we don’t barf up another another flash of genius after 36 hours, our pictures even disappear. Poof! Gone and forgotten–until we repeat the cycle again, or grow weary of it and move on to other, more productive pursuits. Like having a life, say.
As ephemeral as our words are, I actually had an interesting insight today as to just how ephemeral even we, ourselves, as bloggers, are. And, no, I don’t mean ephemeral from any sort of existential, “we’re all gonna die,” facing our own real-world mortality and finding it horrifying sense. I’m just talking about life within the blogosphere. I was looking for files on an old hard drive when I found a cached copy of the Times Union blog front page from February 2007, the month I started blogging here. (After an 18-month blog sabbatical following my 2004 “Poem A Day” project on my prior blog, I should note). Since I generally look at the Times Union blog portal on a daily basis, I don’t really perceive how much it changes over time, but seeing that February 2007 version made it amazingly clear how rapidly this playground has evolved.
For perspective, in February 2007, a mere 38 months ago, there were 21 staff blogs and only 23 reader blogs here, with all of us on one page, no fancy “City Brights” page separating the Aristobloggers from the Blogotarian riff raff here on the “City Mostly Average” page. “Capital Confidential” and “Table Hopping” were already going great guns, and many of the other current in-house editorial, sports, recipe, cartoon and lifestyle blogs were up and running, though sometimes with different folks behind the screens (e.g. Mark McGuire doing television instead of sports). Of note, though, given its rapid rise to alpha status here: there was no “On The Edge” yet at that point. Imagine!
The reader blog section, though, is where you really to start to feel the true nature of blogphemerality. Of the 23 reader blogs being posted in February 2007, as best I can see, only five are still alive and active here: “Muslim Women,” “Dowd on Drinks,” Philip Morris’ blog, Rev. Sam Trumbore’s blog, and my own blog. Gone or moved on are such then-blogstars as Casey McNulty, Liz Funk, Amanda Bird, Kristin DeVoe, Fr. Dennis Tamburello and all the others. Poof! Gone! Just me and a few others left! So while I may be lightly read here, at least I’m tenacious. Like a bad penny. Or bedbugs.
Yet to arrive in February 2007 were such anchors of today’s reader blog page (for me, anyway) as Teri Conroy, Rob Madeo (his “Albany Eye” had melted down a few months earlier after an unfortunate case of Premature Trey Anastasio), Roger Green, Susan Arbetter (who I still read, even after they gave her upscale real estate on that other blog page, you know, the one with the important people on it, not like here at “City Mediocre to Somewhat Dull”), Naomi Seldin, Chuck Miller and recent addition Kevin Marshall. Along with the other 150-plus newer reader bloggers who arrived here after me, Johnny- and Janie-Come-Lately’s, all of them. Shoo, you darn kids! Get off my lawn!
My point? I dunno, do I really have to have one? Do I make a point most of the time? Can’t an old blogger just ramble on while you nod appreciatively and count the seconds until visiting hour is over? No? Well, I guess if you insist that I have to have a point, then it’s just to note that this place is really such a precarious house of cards, and even the gentlest breezes pick off bloggers willy-nilly, almost every day, and send them floating away into the ether, where we quickly forget that they were ever part of the fabric of our electronic lives. Poof! Gone!
Except for me, that is. I’m a blog bedbug, having been doing this since 1999, one place or another. I’ll be the last one standing crawling in the blogosphere, you wait and see. Long after these pages become passe and the swarming, churning teams behind “Capital Confidential,” “Table Hopping” and “On The Edge” have moved on to their exciting new [insert unimaginable future technology here, probably involving robots], I’ll still be sitting at my desk, plonking away for an audience of me. Slow and steady wins the, uh . . . slow and steady contest. And I’m good at that. Try me.