The Blogosphere is Sort of Raping You

For a long time I thought The Blogosphere was a network of personal blogs hosted by the blogging platform Blogger.com. Lonely people that found each other through blogrolls on the sidebars of poorly designed and now-embarrassing looking templates and commented on posts that were poems or short stories or reflections on current events or perhaps timeless archetypal expressions of ‘life,’ ‘tragedy’ and/or ‘change.’

I thought maybe LiveJournal blogs were included in The Blogosphere, and that all blogs that were aggregations of individuals posting articles under a common name such as The Awl or Huffington Post were vague ideas of internet magazines or things trying to be media outlets.

I understood this network of personal blogs as what people, what the mainstream media, spoke of when they referenced The Blogosphere. As this network was closed and did not seem to attract outside visitors, I often found it hard to imagine how one individual could be featured on CNN for her blog, for example. And how one might rise to such heights. To write a blog post that garnered 132 comments. Or to have a readership and a voice so powerful that his Blogspot address commanded over 10,000 unique visitors every day. It was the year 2007 and I was 23 years old. I was unemployed, single and depressed.

I maintained the blog brandon-alien-fine.blogspot.com (and still do) and one of my intentions was to drive traffic to this address. Typically I posted the poetry of a depressed young alternative male on my blog and within three weeks of creating the blog I could see that perhaps five people a day were visiting my webpage. To me this was a significant and exciting number. I had StatCounter and I studied the metrics of each unique visitor that happened upon my blog. I sought to know these visitors more intimately and I waited impatiently for their first effort of outreach. I commented on others’ blogs in an effort to make first contact.

Within around three months of creating my blog I had summoned an average of 20 unique visitors every day and sometimes these people would even comment on my posts and I was very excited when the number of comments reached over three. I began to take interest in unique visitors versus returning visitors and sometimes I noted patterns in pageviews and saw that there were instances of individuals Googling “brandon-alien-fine” to visit my webpage. I began labeling IP addresses when I had reason to suspect a link between a pageview and an internet persona who owned a blog. I felt more focused on knowing who my visitors were.

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://twitter.com/JosephErnest Joseph Ernest Harper

    Please go on my blog.

    josephernest.blogspot.com

    This is a joke. But only a 'half-joke'.

  • http://copaceticusa.tumblr.com/ David
  • http://www.baconismagic.ca Ayngelina

    Interesting perspective on blog writing and how it changes as you evolve. I'd say I struggle with something quite similar with my own blog and the direction I want to take the writing – for personal fulfillment or traffic driving.

  • Josh Henderson

    Unless you have unlimited resources (and very few people do), it is inevitable to sell out, in one sense or another. Acceptance of this fact may not make you feel better about what you're doing, but it may provide necessary clarity to see what you've gotten yourself into and evaluate the reasons you're doing it.

  • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

    You missed the important angle of the pleasure of specialized conversation, having nothing to do with status and/or money-making (ie, traffic). The Bloggoblob is refining itself into its myriad hives, some of which are centered around Special Areas of Knowledge (SAK), and, in cases where the SAK is not by nature a controversial one, you'll find these little communities of people indulging in the kind of spirited-but-friendly conversations you'd find happening at rural social functions in the early 20th century, before every fucking activity on earth became centered on money-making and the material spoils thereof. And that's a pretty marvelous socio-historical corrective. Post-Industrial developments scattered and isolated people, intellectually, and now a post-post Industrial development is re-introducing these people to a sense of intellectual community.

    I've bookmarked about a hundred Blogs that each offer a certain aesthetic POV or experience or collective reservoir of knowledge and just this tiny number of sites represents a People's Virtual Library of Alexandria that it would take me years to get through… and the material is arranged and offered for free! The value of knowledge-for-knowledge's sake is alive and well on the the Internet (along with every form of digitizable sociopathy on earth, unfortunately), even as it vanishes as the foundational ethos of Institutional Education. The only price/caveat being that you have to know where to find it. Only takes a few years' experience.

    The must-drive-traffic-at-all-costs model of blogging is the most unimaginative use of the technology imaginable: ie, to get (or simulate having) a job.

  • Curt
  • Mylum

    I don't know. This seems kind of boring.

    I hope you make money in a “non-corporate” way, I guess.

  • http://timothypresence.com/ Timothy Willis Sanders

    Pretty good article.

  • WestVillager

    How is one sort of raped?

  • JOHN DORIAN MARSHALL

    this is really good
    i enjoyed how the last couple paragraphs mocked 'ironic' & 'self-depricating' writing at the same time
    gunna check out this guys blog, a really good writer this guy

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    really good article…

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