Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Gazing Into The Navel of RPG Blogging
A couple of years ago, I stumbled onto blogs such as Grognardia, Playing D&D With Porn Stars, and The Tao of D&D, and thought - gee - you know, a large part of my very soul is tied up in role playing games, I love to write, and these guys are writing about RPGs - so why don't I do the same thing?
So I did. The blog sputtered along for a while. At that point, it felt like talking into a echo chamber. I was all alone, talking to myself, and I really wasn't digging it. Then, one day, I started getting blog followers. Somehow I had gotten hooked into the OSR blog zeitgeist. Well, I think it was primarily due to Cyclopeatron and Tim of Gothridge Manor, but for whatever reason, I was in, BABY, and people were reading and responding.
Ah, the halcyon days.
I did a lot of stuff to try to get attention back in those days. I came up with outrageous blog titles. I hunted down pictures to specifically get geeks like me to click while looking at other blog rolls. I dug through other blogs' follower lists and went and followed everything even vaguely on the same topic as my blog.
And the stats. Oh yes, the stats. Refresh refresh refresh. Who is reading? Who is linking? When are they reading? Stalk stalk stalk.
If page hits were down, I obviously did something wrong. Did I post on the wrong day? At the wrong time of day? Was the title not interesting enough? Was I competing with too many of the 'big boys' at that time slot? Was I not topical enough? Was I too topical? Was I on a boat that had already sailed?
Low post responses were also an issue. Obviously, I was not interesting enough. And if no one responded to a post? ACK! Well, that was like the worst. I was a nobody for that day.
Over time, things changed. Google Plus came on the scene, taking most of the blog chatter with it. Some important blogs closed their doors. Others wasted away into nothingness. For a while, there were more blog posts about reduced traffic than there were posts about actual gaming.
Then I got horribly sick and stared death in the face. I hallucinated that my cat was Smaug. And over time, my gaming interests and posting topics have shifted away from fantasy to science fiction. Old D&D is the center of the OSR universe, and always will be. Lowest common denominator, if you'll remember from your old math classes.
The stats crashed. Page hits are way down. I think most hits come from Russian Mafia Server Farms scraping content to add to their slowly growing artificial intelligence emulators anyway. Or whatever they are doing with the data. Building the Singularity, I guess.
But you know what? I don't care.
Okay, maybe a little. But nowadays, I write the blog to write the blog. To me, it's performance art. It's not the end product, it's the DOING. I write. I write for my own pleasure. If people are reading it - that's just peachy. If no one sees it - if no one posts - well - someone might one day. It's not a big deal to me anymore.
So to all you other bloggers who are writing out there, feeling like you are yelling into an echo chamber - I hear you. And I probably read your blog. And no, I didn't respond to that post where you said the thing about the thing. I'm lazy and I read too many blogs.
And if you are not enjoying stringing words together for the sake of stringing words together, maybe you need a new hobby. But if you do like to string words together - keep on doing that. I'll probably read it. And no, I probably won't respond. But I do wish you the best of luck in blogging.