There is a great evil among us. It has destroyed online life as we know it. It has permeated every corner of the blogosphere. It is the feed reader. Bloglines, Google reader, whatever your poison, it makes no difference. It is still poison. Would you sooner die by strychnine than by arsenic? The result is the same.
Like nearly every modern convenience, feed readers have promised us efficiency and ease of use, but have stripped us of charm, individualism, even our very personalities, in the process. Instead of clicking on a blog and discovering the writer through her choice of colors, backgrounds, and fun links on the sidebar, I scroll down through a long series of identical, bland white pages in my reader window. If I want to leave a comment, I must click to open the blog in its own window. That's an extra step I find myself taking less and less frequently lately. I used to enjoy reading everyone else's follow-up comments the next time I visited the blog. Now that no longer happens. Unless I take the time to click on the entry I already read to check for new comments, which of course I don't. I no longer experience blogs. I simply read them.
The feed reader has given us the ability to read many, many more blogs because it's so much faster and easier now. But who has time to comment on all of those blogs? Not I. The more I collect, the fewer I respond to. And I have noticed the same thing happening with my blog. I still get approximately the same number of readers as I used to, but the comments have gone down significantly. Why? Well, I can only surmise that the emergence of so many bloglines and google readers in the referring links of my stat counter have something to do with it. It could also be that I have begun writing inane, boring, or offensive posts, in which case, I can only praise the good taste of my readers in not commenting on them.
This is not a veiled (or unveiled) attempt to solicit more comments. This is me, admitting that I don't comment like I used to, and stating that others do the same. It's a sickness. The mass reading of blogs has destroyed the intimacy of the blogging process. Quantity has won over quality. The decline has been gradual, but its progress is inexorable. Perhaps it's merely that the allure of blogging has faded. But I don't think so.
A friend of mine went private with her blog, which meant my feed reader would no longer pick it up. I've had to start clicking on her blog in my bookmarks, instead of reading it along with all the others. It reminded me of how much I miss the full blog experience. Another friend completely redid her blog, but I didn't know it until I clicked to make a rare comment one day. The colors! The style! The links! The titles! All different. But I didn't know, because everything is black and white in my reader world.
I miss my more colorful world.
guest post by Denise of Aiming High