State of the Blog – Summer 2009

Semantic Drift is a personal blog in the sense that it is just one guy (infrequently) writing about whatever’s on his mind. I operate it largely as a hobby; it this blog started as a way to keep myself writing even when I don’t have to do so in the service of my academic pursuits. At least that was the idea. I have no hopes of monetizing it and don’t give a great deal of thought to the traffic it draws. I check the numbers more out of curiosity than anything, and over its lifetime Semantic Drift has chartered a steady course of low but consistent readers.

One problem that I’ve encountered is that the blog isn’t nearly niche enough in that it doesn’t cover one area especially well. The best blogs tend to carve themselves a specialty. It gives readers a good idea what to expect when they fire up their browsers. Boing Boing is all over steampunk/tech/copyright news. Kottke covers the odd bits of coolness that pop on the liminal edges of the internet. They might stray from time and talk about other areas of interest, but for the most part you know that reading them is reading about the things in their wheelhouse.

Part of the problem is that this blog has come to largely mirror the way my mind works: Scattered, unfocused, lazy, and occasionally pretentious and unjustifiably sure of itself. I suppose it was inevitable.

I am something of a polymath in the sense that my interests run wider than they do deep. I love comic books, movies, and television but I also dabble in law, politics, and literature. That’s not to mention that I love to hear myself talk (see myself write?) about my law school experiences or the occasional bit of travel. My writing is autobiographical. All writing is. But I maintain something of a distance between my personal life as I live it and as I write about it. Despite putting up links to my social networking hotspots, I try to keep a vague anonymity to my stories. I generally obscure or leave out names and the details remain fuzzy. I am of that certain age where I get freaked out by the vulnerability of putting my life into the public space of the internet. I did not grow up tweeting my every activity or communicating with my friends largely through status updates. I was an early adopter of Myspace, but the idea of putting up personal details is unsettling and applications that reveal your real world location via geotags give me the fantods. As a result, I’m hesitant to get truly raw or go into my emotions at any given time. That is, if I actually have any. Does “hungry” count as an emotional state?

I initially entered the blogging fray with the idea that Semantic Drift would operate as a place where I could self-publish essays, sort of like my own personal newspaper column. I never intended to exhaustive descriptions of what I had for lunch or cute pictures of my nephew. I haven’t, but nor have I turned this blog into a modern day Algonquin roundtable where I create thoughtful and incisive pieces of writing into the public consciousness where they interact with the blogosphere intelligentsia and place me within a larger discourse.

No, Semantic Drift has tended to chronicle the movies I saw over the weekend or the amount of stress I go through during finals season. The end result is a blog that has no clear area of interest, full of personal stories that aren’t terribly personal. I’d say I’m still trying to find my voice, but that isn’ exactly true. I have my voice, I’m just trying to decide what to say.

4 Comments on "State of the Blog – Summer 2009"

  • The polymath label could well apply to me too. I seem to flit from subject to subject, ultimately learning a little about lots of things, with the operative word being “little”. I have been quite successful in keeping really personal stuff out of my blog, but strong personal *opinions* are a different animal entirely.

    A thought provoking entry. Thanks.

  • Yeah. I suppose polymath is also a nicer way of saying “the attention span of a flea” but I can’t help it if my interests run far and wide.

  • I just read this to boost my self esteem.

  • Thats very good to know… thanks

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