I read in a blogging book that the average blog lasts about three months, which makes this place a dinosaur. Or an antique, or vintage wine, depending on your world view. Part of me was loathe to make a post today because it felt self-aggrandising, but that’s kind of the point of a blog. I wasn’t sure what to discuss – the days when I could write ten lines and get a comment thread 20 posts long? The irony of how I’ve focused what I discuss and get less interest than when I rehashed MCR news with a mildly offensive image? Halloween?
I dunno. In the last few years and months I’ve looked at other blogs and it seems like most people who have been doing it for 18 months plus have bagged themselves a book deal and half a million Instagram followers, which is really hard to reconcile with my experience of blogging. I’ve never read a whole lot of blogs but there seems to be an ocean of people tapping away at keyboards with very little response unless they a) write shit about other people, b) take photos of themselves in vintage clothing for a style blog or c) have a life-changing story. I have no interest in pursuing any of those things, and I’ve lost sleep over how to engage people. Which is stupid, because I will probably continue to write this as long as I enjoy it, and my enjoyment should not be linked to the reaction I get.
It kind of is though, because I was fortunate enough to have a relatively large audience almost from the get-go. Well, from about 2010 upwards, which coincided with the release of Danger Days and my friends’ interest in both MCR and reading my writing instead of doing homework. Course, the end of MCR coincided with a lot of crap in my life – neither of which I really wanted to write about immediately – and a growing sense that Indifferent Ignorance should keep climbing the Internet ladder of infamy. My favourite part of every post has always been the comments; I aspired to be the sort of writer who could garner a dozen every article. Typically, as I began over-thinking posts and trying to get maximum reaction from as few lines as possible, readers started dropping off the radar. My biggest audience was always my friends and family, but while I was still passionate about MCR, bemoaning the tabloid press and never getting a desk job, they were more interested in school work and clubbing – neither of which ever held any lasting interest for me.
When I started The Six O’Clock News in a bid to reconcile exam prep and my hobbies, I felt like I was back at the roots of the site; indifferent ignorance is a pandemic that’s never more noticeable than the headlines. So I decided to hone posts, to go for quality not quantity, to ask questions as much as I paraded perceived indifferent ignorance – and of course I’d never stop writing entire blogs about my dogs or the latest updates from the Musicians Formerly Known As MCR. Despite everything, I still wasn’t getting anything near the interest I was a few years ago, and in the back of my mind there was a little voice saying ‘that was your heyday. Quit while you still have a reader or two and get a proper job’.
I should probably add that I’ve always considered ‘readers’ to be people who leave a comment every handful of posts. Anyone can sign up for updates; most people completely ignore every post from then onwards. Which is okay and your business, just don’t pretend you’re a super fan if you’re not. But that voice was still suggesting I cut my losses, and while finding a new example of indifferent ignorance every week is easy, writing 500+ words and sourcing pictures is not; especially when you’re a freelance writer and every article which doesn’t get financially compensated is technically speaking a waste of time.
So I’ve forgiven myself for not wanting to make a song and dance out of today. I’ve still got a few Five Ways to Celebrate Five Years of Blogging to finalise (they have deviated somewhat from mid-August’s planning, mostly due to a lack of funds) which I will hopefully have announced by the end of the year – and what’s a celebration if it isn’t several weeks long?
I have no idea where I will go from here. Indifferent Ignorance might not make ten years, and if it doesn’t that’s okay – I’m going to prioritise my health and peace of mind over a website even if it gets 10,000 independent readers a day. I might keep taking the piss out of the press; I might talk more about social issues or pay a designer for the sidebar I’ve always wanted. I’ll probably keep being disappointed when entire essays go unnoticed, but if I’d wanted to get loads of attention from people on the Internet, I’d have opened a Facebook account aged 13. I started this site with no agenda other than to carve out a platform on which I could say what I wanted, and I’m going to try to stick to that ethos. I’m grateful to everyone who is still reading, or who isn’t but used to, because it’s definitely more fun when there’s a conversation. But it’s okay if there’s not – and I’m delighted that it’s taken nearly a thousand words to say that… continuing as I mean to continue!
So have a good Halloween (or Friday, or both) and don’t accept any sweets from creeps. Unless you’re looking for a pathway to self-destruction, in which case don’t say I didn’t warn you.
2 thoughts on “Climbing the Internet Ladder of Infamy”
First of all, allow me to say that I understand how this post is more reflective than celebratory, with a few despondent undertones I think I can hear. As someone who quit my full-time job, in fact, five years ago, and been freelancing, learning to sing badly, starting kinda stillborn bands, writing novel-length fanfiction that got its five seconds of fame, an original novel that got thoroughly rejected, and now waiting on response for the second novel while restarting my own blog, writing comics, and relying on the generosity of my friends and family so as not to starve… GODS, do I understand.
When you’ve been working hard for years, and all you’ve got to show for it is, well, not nothing, definitely a something, but not quite a something you wanted/expected/dreamed about… it’s tough. You want to be in a celebratory mood, but if the best you can manage right now is ‘it’s not a complete disaster, I guess’ – then that’s the mood of the day. It sounds to me that if you’re continuing, you’re doing so for the right reasons – your own wish to do so.
But also! Five years of blogging IS an impressive achievement. Just the fact that you’ve sat yourself down and produced content on a regular basis – that’s A LOT. And that definitely deserves celebration. I’ll stick around for the party, shall I. 🙂
Thank you for the kind words and understanding – it’s refreshing to hear from someone who’s in a similar boat, especially since this industry is very much based on making people think how successful you are. 🙂 Good luck with your blog – it’s definitely not a complete disaster!
Maybe I’ll start a new blog section: Trying to Work Out How Successful Bloggers Do It and Wondering if it’s All a Lie…
Taking suggestions now!