Where Did Our Blogosphere Go?

Some days I wonder, when exactly did the state of blogging change from being just a sleepy geek hobby where normal people would go “huh?” to the crazy madhouse that if you squint almost looks like the things we get from real life itself. When did that happen?

In all the long months in which I have been blogging, I don’t think I can remember when exactly did all the things such as fame, popularity, freedom of speech, ways to blog, problogging, and blog wars come in. To all those people that started blogging in these past few months, it probably is a complete norm for all of you to have these things…but during my time (wow I can actually say that now), things like that were unheard off. The closest response you can get from the blogosphere during those years was this.

“Whoa…you got a blog too? Can I link you?”

Now, it seems that the majority of people are getting into blogging for reasons that completely differ from my generation of bloggers. Yes…my generation of bloggers. It seems that everytime people bring up subjects like this, there will always be those batches of people who will always say why are they classifications when we should all be together. I don’t expect the new generation of bloggers to understand and fair enough, it’s either you get it or you don’t, but I’ll get back to my point.

I am from the 2nd generation of blogging. We are the bloggers that started blogging because we had something to say, because there are things in our head that we just had to express and spill to the world, because we are and will forever be individuals in our blogs blogging for no one and nothing but our own personal release. We were the birth of the personal blogs. The ones that defined what our part of the blogosphere is today. But somewhere along the line, the 3rd generation of blogging came about.

They are the commercialised mass of bloggers. Bloggers that started because their friends have it. Bloggers that started because they want to be known. Bloggers that blog because there is an audience there and they want it or they need it. Blogger that define their existence in the blogosphere through other bloggers. These are the 3rd generation bloggers…and it’s quickly overrunning the part of the blogosphere I have grown to love.

I suppose there is nothing I can do about it. Blogging like life means that it is always subjected to change. A lot of us 2nd gen peeps may not like it, but what can we do. That’s the way it is and we just have to live with it. Sometimes its sad to see some people stop blogging because the state of blogging has become so wildly different that it might actually be easier to quit altogether, but to all of us 2nd genners who have thought of that…let tell you something. That’s not you thinking.

Yes the blogosphere that we know is different, but how does that make us any different? Yes over the years we have probably evolved to be better bloggers…or even take it as far as to change the way we write, but how does that make us any different. The need to quit because the blogosphere has become a field of popularity contests and politically correct blog wars…that’s because we’ve been influenced by the 3rd generation. That’s the 3rd generation’s way of telling you how important your blog is to you…when it isn’t the reason why you have kept blogging for all these years.

Remember those times when you blogged? The times when places like PPS was just a place where we can read other people’s blog instead of using half baked search engines to find them. Where it didn’t really matter who read our blogs but that we said whatever was on my mind anyway no matter how important it is. Where blogging was just…civillized and orderly because even if you do not like what someone else said…you had the sense to just close it and move on with your life…with your blog. Do you remember those times?

Those were our times. Those were the times we need to remember. Those were the times we need to get back. It doesn’t matter whether times have changed and we have become responsible for maintaining the dignity of blogging for the younger generation of bloggers. It matters that we keep blogging because we will be who always were as bloggers. When in doubt…when you have the slightest piece of doubt of why you keep going on and on when all that it’s giving you is a migraine…is to go back to those reasons why we loved blogging before everything changed.

Where did our part of our blogosphere go? I don’t know. When did our part of our blogosphere start to fade away? I don’t know either. What I do know is what we are and what we still are. It doesn’t matter whether they call us elite or veteran bloggers. It doesn’t matter whether we changed out writing styles a hundred times because we’re not in the mood to be blogging that way. All of that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that we will always be the bloggers we are because we choose to be the individuals we blogged about. That will never change. So don’t you forget it.

28 thoughts on “Where Did Our Blogosphere Go?

  1. The sad thing about it all is that this kind of idiocy is running over the Internet. The Internet used to be a place where you could actually get something done, where you were fairly sure that you could be heard and understood, somewhere to get away from all the insanity running over the world today.

    Thanks to noobs, it’s no longer that. Insanity rules, and not just in the bloggersphere.

  2. Nothing wrong with insanity. It’s just what kind of insanity we’re trying to escape. Then again…just because the world is that way…doesn’t mean you have to bow to it. Same with blogs I guess.

  3. lol. i remember the “whoa…you got blog too? can i link you?” days. =)

    anyway, like you said, we blog because we like it. and because we like it, we’ll keep blogging, even if we don’t like what’s going on now. in the end it’s about your blog, your life, your likes and dislikes.

    kinda miss those early days, although i feel the kind of interaction blogs and bloggers have now is something we might have wished for a long time ago but didn’t have then. i personally enjoy it.

  4. Edrei, during my time, it was technically difficult and insanely expensive to get your own webspace. Thus, communication and thought-sharing evolved into the form of BBS/newsgroups, much like basic pure-text webforums of today. There, because we didn’t own the space, but rather shared it with like-minded people (by virtue of self-selection into the right forums), we shared common rules for the sake of a better experience for everyone (being polite, sticking to the topic). That was before the dotcom boom, before search engines existed, before most people knew what a website was.

    Many years later, came sites like Geocities. Suddenly everyone had their own website, webspace was either dirt cheap or free. Web publishing tools became better and better, eventually no coding or scripting knowledge was needed; just write, format and click publish. Today, kids have become Internet savvy, being born into it, and more people have cheap Internet connection than ever before, including broadband. Suddenly all the above barriers to an online presence is gone. With nothing holding them back, everyone who wanted to have a say easily jumped on the bandwagon. Their online space is their own, they don’t share it with anyone, nobody tells them what to do or not to do. In their own space, they are GOD. By virtue of being online, they are meant to be read by others. But, everyone who does this, does so for their own unique reasons. And what and why they do it is none of our blardy business. Nobody owns the Internet, period.

  5. Ok I digressed? *blush* Erm, I guess I was responding to the question – where did our blogosphere go? and the discussion on 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation bloggers, but anyway, you’re right! You will continue blog for the reasons you do, and others will continue to blog for the reasons they do.

    However, sometimes it is ok for the reasons to change (and change back), and for the person to change (and to have that reflected in their blog as well). Sometimes it’s ok for blogs (and the WWW in general) to evolve as well, and all things related to it. After all, the only constant is change. Cheerios!

  6. Yeah…change happens. For better or for worse. Just trying to make a point when times change for the worse (assuming if you are some of us who think that blogging now doesn’t have the spirit it had before), at least when we feel like there isn’t any point…try to remember a time when blogging for us had a point. With that, not even the change today can make a dent in that reason.

  7. It’s become an issue of labels. If you want to have a ‘mackzul/jeffooi’ blog, you must satisfy certain requirements. If you wanna be a ‘boingboing’ type blog, you apparently need to satisfy certain requirements. This wasn’t how it was like about 4-5 years ago, as far as I remember.

    I think we need to segregate between having an online presence and having a blog. Having a blog is such a fad, nowadays; even if you start up a blog/online diary now, you feel yourself sucked into the fad. If you’re not blogging of vlogging or photologging, you’re bloody podcasting. It’s bewildering!!! LOL…

    I mean, just try it out (I know I have): pick any sensational news of the day and then blog about it. Then insert one pithy or eye-catching headline and voila! you have readership flooding to your blog. They don’t visit you because you have something interesting to say, they visit you because you have something sensational that they’re interested about.

    It’s the same thing with personal blogs, don’t you think? Just headline your post with something sensational, exhibitionist, etc, and suddenly readership rises. It’s not just a fad, it’s like a *cult of instant gratification* and the consumers are the audience.

    I wonder, for example, how many people actually bother to read M. Bakri Musa’s blog, or how many appreciate Farish Noor’s articles appearing on MackZul’s websites, because these sorts of posts don’t pretend to regurgitate news, they actually say something. That’s just so rare, nowadays.

    I wonder if we’re becoming slaves to our audience, rather than being true to what we feel.

    As an aside, I hate the word ‘blog-o-sphere’ for a reason: before ‘blogger’, all ‘blogs’ were just ‘online diaries’ on pitas, diaryland, diary-x, livejournal, you name it. And the people there were just real, I suppose. Now the whole scene has become ‘sexed up’. It’s not disheartening lah (like macam we’re all old, jaded ‘bloggers’; I don’t think it’ll be fair for us to take a paternal stance like this), it’s just funny how far things have changed.

    Has the change been for better or worse? It’s hard to judge. I can appreciate totoro’s sentiment about kids nowadays growing up with technology at their fingertips; it just wasn’t that way for quite a number of us, and the internet has taken dramatic turns in the intervening time. The internet in its current form is reflective of current cyberculture, and nay-sayers run the risk of sounding antiquated. But then maybe blogging will prove to be a short-lived fad. Who knows?

    I remember 10-11 years ago how I used to kena scolding after scolding for dialing up singapore to play legend of the red dragon (LoRD) on BBSes. How times have *really* changed.

    As far as online presences are concerned, you should check out one of the granddaddies, http://www.catb.org/~esr/.

    aiyah, just some late night rants :p

  8. I get pissed off when I read stuff like this.

    First off, describing the… ‘blogosphere’ (ugh!) as a single monolithic bloc with ‘generations’ rubs me the wrong way, because the former assumption is, has been and will always be wrong.

    Hani started her craft under the inspiration of a friend of her, a lady I’ll call ‘serabut’. She was, in our circle of friends, the first person to start blogging. And where did she get her inspiration from? Kottke? Political blogs?

    Nope. She got it from fandom. You know, the freaks and losers who follow Buffy and Star Trek like zealots. And she still posts, regularly, and is considered an Old Malaysian Fangirl.

    Hani and I owe our blogging careers to her. Her. Not some damn political pundit-wallah or some introspective Nathan Barley lookalike who keeps blogging about how k3wl his iPod is and how sucky his 9 to lunchtime job is.

    I’ve had to play this stupid game since Aizuddin did his stupid goddamn post about what makes a blogger and what didn’t. ‘serabut’ and other fenbloggers weren’t, according to him, and we’ve all been smarting ever since. She’s still bitter about it, and frankly I don’t blame her.

    Your blogosphere? Excuse me.

  9. sayang cikgu tariq… come come i give you big hug and chocolate you want or not.

  10. T-Boy: Nyeh. 😛 There will always be a critical point where everything changes despite the gradual curve. Thats where the term generations comes from. Don’t take my word for it. I got idea from here.

  11. And damnit, didn’t I friends-lock that post?

    Well, I just did. Bah to Pingbacks and stupid LJ.

  12. And that’s what I’m saying. You and those guys say single entity called “blogosphere”, I say multiple parallel communities with shared technologies and quasi-regular interactions between each other called “blogging communities“.

    Geek bloggers dying. Bah to that. They’re still there, you just don’t know where to look for them.

  13. Well…it depends on how you look at it. A blogosphere is still divided into blogging communities with communities further divided into blogging niches. Its just like how the world is there and its divided into nations, states, cities, towns and groups of people.

    No comment on geek bloggers dying though, I know where to find them. The referal was to the generations bit.

  14. i like mcdonalds fries more than burger king ones but they’re all part of the same concept called ‘fast foods’ …

    i like ah so so so ? you wanna kill me for that?

    so simple. why must get so philosophical… the best way to go about it is to be LET FREE AND FLY FLY FLY LIKE A BIRD WITHOUT WINGS.

    wait. if a bird had no wings it wouldnt be a bird.

    ok i’m crapping.

  15. What Tariq said. I found that many of the first Malaysian blogs were personal diaries. Not many geek bloggers back then.. save for the few I remember: Aiz, Josh Lim (a web/graphics designer KLue would namedrop), that XFresh dude Albert, me. (did I mention Tim Yang out loud?)

    Many of the online diaries died out.

    Why do you lament? Because blogging is now commercialized it’s no longer cool? Then why not get off and move on to the next new thing? See, I don’t wanna bash what is only the medium.

    And w00t I am a 1st generation blogger.

  16. Cool? Naw…I used to say I blogged before blogging was cool. 🙂 I think because it’s cool because its commercialised now. It’s just reminding us to go back to the reasons we blog if we find the current atmosphere a little…suffocating.

    First gen geek bloggers. Haha…forerunners of tech. 🙂

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