There was a time not too long ago when I used to spend time in front of the computer writing about the myriad of things coursing through my brain. But during the past couple of years, I have found those times to be getting further and further apart, to the point where I’m not sure I can describe myself as a blogger anymore. I still post things on twitter, most often links of articles I like, and occasionally go through a Tumblr craze, but all in all this space AND the other places I’ve written in the past have fallen by the wayside.
Twitter is partially to blame for the death of the blog for me. It used to be that I would not only recommend articles to others, but I would also offer commentary as well as to why I felt they were worthwhile. With the advent of Twitter and my use of Google reader, everything is automated, saving time, but it’s become too easy to hit a “like” button without ever saying what I like about what I’ve just read. And, whereas the blog was the only way of connecting to the broader world in the past, Twitter allows me to get things off my chest in quick fashion without demanding further reflection.
I’m realizing, however, another reason for my downturn in blogging. It used to be that the majority of my web consumption, news reading, etc. was at a traditional computer with a keyboard. These devices not only allow for consumption, but the inclusion of an easily used input device encourages creation as well. However a couple of years ago I got an I-Pod Touch to replace my plethora of Palm devices. Like the I-Phone, the Touch was the first generation of small devices with great integration with the Internet, a more than usable browser, and good e-mail access that interfaces directly with my G-Mail account. More and more I found myself not setting up the laptop in the evenings but instead simply pulling out the Touch, scanning my e-mail (and doing short replies as necessary), and more importantly accessing Google Reader via the device. Whereas I had previously read things that spurred the creative impulse on the laptop, I found myself transformed into merely a consumer, someone who would read things but wasn’t especially willing to comment on them due to the limitations of the Touch’s hardware. Of course, it’s possible to blog or comment from the Touch — in fact WordPress offers an app for that purpose. But let’s face it, trying to type a full article or commentary with the on-screen keyboard is painful, and I found myself too lazy and/or tired to setup the laptop and write on the things I was experiencing.
Leo LaPorte has said that his concerns with tablet devices like the I-Phone and I-Pad is their focus on consumption with little consideration for creation. For many people that is enough and these devices are fine. But we shouldn’t ignore how the nature of the technology we use may limit our willingness to create.
Of course there are other reasons for not writing — too much going on in life, the flood recovery work that overwhelmed me, and the task of being a dad and full-time chauffeur for a 15 and 10 year old got in the way. And those things aren’t going away any time soon, which means that I probably won’t ever be as prolific as I was in previous years. Such is the nature of life.
But today, sitting in my office and listening to the clock tick, I find myself wanting to write again. Who knows what I will write about, or if I can carry through with the goal, but let’s give it another shot and see where it might take us.