Cheeseburger Gothic

The pleasing quiet of a backwater blog

Posted September 5 by John Birmingham

I had a busy week on the Twitterz and Facebuck this last week, mosty due to thinking out loud about the hotel industry's scammy preauthorisation charges. Hundreds of mentions, thousands of RTs and lots of traffic to a coulmn I wrote for Fairfax.

One troll of course, because it wouldn't be the internet without them, but I tend to get off lightly. After all I'm a white, middle class male.

Still, a lotta traffic. A lot of talk. A lot of stuff happening.

Here at the ol' burger-shoppe though, it was quiet. Looks like maybe a thousand visits over the same time. A few comments, mostly about Amazon's Jack Ryan series and my need for a new keyboard. Offsite comments greatly outnumbered the ones left here.

Once upon a time I'd have worried about that. I'd have been checking my stats by the hour. I seem to recall Journalspace allowed you to display a little map that showed where everybody currently reading your blog was doing so. I sometimes used to sit and watch that thing for hours. It was mesmerising.

But over time we all drifted away from blogs. Most people stopped writing them. Remember that? When normal people who weren't writers used to write blogs? I had a blogroll, again at Jspace, somewhere over to the right of the screen as I recall, and you could jump from the Burger to any one of a couple of dozen other stops on your daily blog tour.

Twitter and the Book of Face eventually siphoned off most of that creative activity. Not just for non writers, but for the pro's too.

Turned out that wasn't such a great development. I could run up a list of reasons why. The impossibility of nuance in 140 characters. The lazy habits of thought encouraged by aggregating all conversations in one or two places, instead of scattered far and wide, where people would have to seek them out. Fake News. Trolls. The never ending pile on. The whole blazing dumpster fire.

Having returned to my own blog I find the quiet and the slow pace... pleasing. Relaxing even.

I'd forgotten how ageeable it is to have a place of one's own, where you can gather as you please with whoever you choose. I find the... stillness of a blog, its solitude and calm to be restful to both mind and spirit in a way that the performative demands of social media are not. Novel writing comes close, except for all the SPLODEY, and the ever present needs of production, marketing and perfidious commerce. Column writing, which is nowadays largely a subprocess of the global outrage industry, is in no way relaxing or restorative. I'm sometimes exhausted before I even start ranting.

But having let this blog lie fallow for so long, and that quietude having reduced its regular vistitors to the most devoted, I find myself increasingly wanting to spend more of my time here than anywhere else online.

14 Responses to ‘The pleasing quiet of a backwater blog’

Dave W puts forth...

Posted September 5
Will you shaddup? You're disturbing my fly-fishing!

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Oldy mumbles...

Posted September 5
Dude, where's the 'like' button?

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted September 5
gets pretty lively when Girl Clumsy posts her 'Raven on' reviews. Also when Havoc's around 'quiet' isn't the noun I'd use.

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balri mutters...

Posted September 5
I usually read the posts through my RSS aggregator. Not sure how that is reflected in your stats. But I read every post. Not much of a commenter

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted September 5
I use the Old Reader, anyone else follow blogs using an aggregator

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted September 5
LMAO, I remember Journalspace. Some good stuff but also non stop fucken flame wars.

Hindsight is Golden JB

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted September 5
I probably recall it fondly because I wrote a lot about walking my dog and having big feeds.

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DrYobbo mutters...

Posted September 5
Blogs? Never heard of 'em.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted September 5
I pop in once a week just to see and read. I find this place an excellent source for further discussion with mates who for some reason haven't followed me here (i continually tell them they'd love it). And of course the inside skinny on up and coming books

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pi would have you know...

Posted September 5
I flutter through the blogspace and twittersphere, and come back to a few places again and again. I've taken a (so far six months) hiatus from the collapsing neutron star formerly known as reddit, so always try and see what's about.

Alien Side Boob is always good for a laugh.

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pitpat mumbles...

Posted September 5
I am a kind of an under the radar sort and this blog seems to have that sort of vibe where poignant observations are considered and discussed. It is a good accompaniment to AlienSideBoob - which I love BTW.

Sorry I haven't starred up your latest offering on the Bezos beast but will once I finish. Lotsa stuff happening taking me away from xplodey goodness.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted September 5
In a river the deeper water runs wide on bends, smoother, unruffled by shoals.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted September 6
I remember the Before Time

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Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted September 7
I do miss those days in someways, yet in others, I'm glad the implosion of the Journalspace server destroyed most of those entries. Some of my entries might raise eyebrows with my peers in Academia and Aquatics.

Flamewars were much easier to deal with there though. We regulated them ourselves, as opposed to having them regulated for us by social media shits.

Things come . . . and things go. Nothing is permanent or forever. Not even the Internet.

S. F. Murphy
On the Outer Marches

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