I started blogging regularly again recently because I saw this tweet from Elizabeth Spiers noting that Lockhart Steele was returning to blogging. Yesterday, Spiers wrote a little bit more about why she's chosen to do so, as well, and Fred Wilson talked about "the personal blog where I can talk about anything that I care about."
At least for me, it's in part a response to what blogging unbecame. In 2002, I created what became a very popular blog, The Reverse Cowgirl. It was one of the early blogs about sex (see: "A Brief History of Sex Blogging" and "A History of Sex Blogs"), but, as most blogs are, it was about far more than that.
In 1998, I moved from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, and by the time I started blogging, I'd spent four years as a freelance journalist. I was successful, and did TV work as well, but I was tired of being told, "No, you can't do that," by various editors, agents, and producers to whom I pitched story ideas, book ideas, and TV show ideas.
At the same time, I had a problem with my leg that made walking painful, and I was relegated, for a time, to my house. Unable to tromp about as I once had and exhausted by rejection, I forged out on my own and launched a blog that was housed on Salon's servers. I loved blogging. I loved the lack of censorship, that I was my own boss, that there was no wrong or right, just that "puny inexhaustible voice, still talking." It was indisputably mine.
Years later, I was hired by Time Warner, where I spent several years generating hundreds of blog posts. There, blogging became something else entirely. It was a numbers game, a way of generating "content" that brought in unique visitors and lined pockets. That had its benefits: There is no room for writer's block when you are blogging for dollars. But it made blogging commercial for me as blogging became more commercial for everyone else, and something about blogging died, in the world and in me. I did not blog from within; I blogged for someone else.
After that, I blogged for Forbes for three years, which was great, but it was, at its heart, not truly me.
Eventually, I found myself making $100 an hour writing Facebook updates spoken by a bottle of pink medicine manufactured by a multibillion-dollar company obsessed with engagement, branding, and PowerPoint presentations filled with colorful pie charts.
I had become a digital ghost of my former self.
I think if there is a renaissance of blogging it is in reaction to that, the invisibility imposed when you commodify yourself, an attempt to recreate something that was lost, something, one hopes, that's more about autonomy and freedom than engagement and revenue.
Or, at least, one hopes. We'll see. Won't we?