The Blog that Broke the Camel’s Back

The other day I had an exchange with another blogger here on WordPress, during which he told me that there are some 600 million blogs in the world.

Later on, I read a recent survey that put the total number of blogs at WordPress alone at close to 74 million. FYI Tumblr hosts over 100 million blogs, as well.

It’s mind-boggling, really. Or should that be mind-blogging? Boggling and blogging are, after all, anagrams of each other, aren’t they?

Anyway, whether the initial figure of 600 million blogs is accurate or not, I did some rough calculations about how long it would take to visit every single blog in existence. As part of this equation I allowed 10 seconds per blog view and the number I got was 190 years.

In fact, to be honest, I actually got 19 years, but now I’ve re-done the sums I think the answer should have been 190 years. If it is actually the latter, then this would be proof enough it’s in no way humanly possible to see every other blog in the blogosphere.

Who cares? I hear you cry out in despair at my lack of a discernible point.

To which I reply, all right already! Be patient! For here is my point. Are you ready? OK. Let me ask you this, how is it out of the literally hundreds of millions of other blogs (that are just blogging around out there) you ended up here, reading this?

Think about it…Life’s short, and it would take you somewhere between 19 and 190 years (trust me, math is not my strongest suit) to visit every blog in existence. And yet here you are reading this.

Is it fate or kismet or synchronicity, perhaps? Pure chance, maybe? What is it that makes us visit and follow the blogs that we do? I’m sure, most of us would like to think we exercise the power of choice in such matters. But I’m not so sure.

My primary criteria in selecting blogs to follow is a perceived sense of like-mindedness. That and curiosity. By which I mean, if a blog diverts me from my habitual preoccupations, in some interesting or unexpected way, for long enough, I might also give it a go.

Whatever. What I’m really trying to get around to saying is that what we’re seeing with this whole blogging phenomenon is actually the next evolution in writing. For in many ways we are currently witnessing the end of the novel and other more traditional forms of the written word.

And so, ultimately, I believe, the next big shift in writing will be towards a more collective approach. And that’s exactly what I would argue is taking place right now within blog-writing communities more generally. People are aligning with each other and forming small collectives, whereby they can freely exchange comments and feedback, almost immediately after a piece of written work is posted.

In the past a new idea would find expression through the writing of a single individual, be it the societally critical insights of a Charles Dickens’ novel or even the evilly distorted vision of something like Mein Kampf, for that matter.

But is it possible that maybe humanity is now moving towards a point where new ideas will find their expression through the kind of “writing collectives” that blog-writing communities naturally engender?

So put another way, are we really choosing the blogs we follow? Or is there a larger purpose bringing us all together? Because, sure, while it might prove to be an extremely long and gradual process, it’s entirely possible there are certain yet to be formalized ideas actively seeking new modes of expression through our various collective on-line groupings. Just what those ideas might be is only limited by the extent of our imaginations.

It’s either that, I guess. Or that instead of 600 million blogs, there’ll soon be 6 billion and not a single one of them will be read by another individual because we’ll all be too busy blogging ourselves into oblivion.

Makes you think, though, doesn’t it? 600 million blogs…

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About Lorem Ipsum

Just some guy trying to figure out where the "on" switch is hid on the remote control—ah, forget it. Because, you know what, I'm also the kinda guy who always likes the book waaay more than the movie! View all posts by Lorem Ipsum

17 responses to “The Blog that Broke the Camel’s Back

  • amberskyef

    What brings me to blog posts is not only likemindedness but also snappy titles and posts under 1000 words. That’s how my choices work. But still, it’s cool people are reading at all.

    • Lorem Ipsum

      Yes, I agree a catchy headline and brevity goes a long way. But do you think it’s also possible something larger than us is trying to work itself out through the whole blog-writing phenomenon we’re caught up in?

      • amberskyef

        I don’t know, really. I know I’m naturally drawn to blog posts by writers talking about their lives as it relates to writing. It could be something innate within each of us that draws us to one post and not another. I don’t like to read poetry or flash fiction on blogs because I want to know the writer first. I don’t know why this is. I’ll readily by a book online without knowing the author, but I suppose with blogs, I expect that bloggers will blog about their lives.

        • Lorem Ipsum

          What you say is interesting, because it took me a while to realize that there is more of an expectation in blogging to share personal ideas and information. Basically, I’m still in the process of exploring what having a blog is all about. When I started I saw it as a way of honing my writing style etc. But the real surprise for me has been the “community aspect” of belonging to a blog-writing community. What about yourself?

          • amberskyef

            I love to write about all of me, to expose every raw part of myself because I want my followers to know who I am as a human being and a writer. I’m not afraid to write about my feelings or what I’ve suffered through or whatever. I mean, having a blog for me is not only about marketing myself, but also reminding myself that I have self-worth, even if I am just one person.

            • Lorem Ipsum

              I suppose, I’m coming from a very different place to that. My main focus in writing thus far has been on ideas, although of course there is also an autobiographical element. However, because some of the ideas I explore are controversial (even inflammatory possibly, at times) I have chosen to maintain a fair degree of anonymity. I do think it does present a barrier to people connecting to what I create, though. I mean, what is your impression of how my site presents to you? Be gentle, obviously…

            • amberskyef

              I love it. It’s clear from your posts you’re an intelligent individual, and intelligent blog posts happen to attract me most. I think my favorite line from all your posts is this: “Is it sane to stress about the small stuff?” So rest-assured that I’ll keep tabs on your blog.

            • Lorem Ipsum

              Thank you for your kind comments! Although part of me would still like to be more open about who I am as a person and not just as a writer, as well.

              I am also intrigued by your blog, too, more generally. So I definitely look forward to reading more on it. BTW I couldn’t agree more with you about your Twitter experiences!

            • Lorem Ipsum

              Hey, Amber,

              I see from their website that you’ve just joined AEC stellar as an author. I just submitted the concept of my novel to them and was wondering what they are offering authors, like yourself?

            • amberskyef

              They offer 50% royalties. No advances, but the independent route really doesn’t offer that in the first place. They also do marketing and give you contract managers for that. I haven’t started all this yet, but I’ll be able to give you more info once I do!

            • Lorem Ipsum

              Cheers, thanks for the intel! Do they publish in traditional book form or only electronically ie eBooks?

            • amberskyef

              Yes they do! It’s POD though, but if you sell well online there is a slight possibility of being in B&N.

            • Lorem Ipsum

              Interesting. Hey, congratulations, by the way! It must be great to be one step closer to being a published author. Well done!

            • amberskyef

              Thank you! I had planned to do the self-publishing route, but I subbed to them on a whim and now it’s nice to know I have some control with a safety net.

            • Lorem Ipsum

              Yeah, I’ve self-published through Amazon and B&N etc, and just can’t seem to generate any real sustained traffic. Having a marketing arm behind you would be a great help, I’m guessing.

              Well, who knows what AEC will think of the submission I’ve sent for my seriously oddball novel. (Ok, comically oddball novel, let’s say!)

  • whiteravensoars

    I have to say, what draws me to a blog is the creative way they express themselves. Brevity has also become an important aspect. I want to know about the people behind the writing. More often than not writers look at their life as a solitary thing and I don’t think writing is solitary! Look back over time, when the storyteller would enchant the crowd with their tale… Writing is about sharing a story, and our blogs can more often than not help us connect with others who maybe think similar, or maybe even challenge our thoughts and make us look at the world a bit differently!

    • Lorem Ipsum

      It’s certainly interesting that blogs seem to offer a more personal dimension, whereby a blog’s author can reveal more of who they are, as a person etc, to their readers. And it’s also been interesting for me, as a writer, that readers should want to know these kinds of details. I think the word you mentioned that is the key here is “connect”. People are seeking to make a connection with others, while also sharing their creative endeavors. It’s a really fascinating recent development in human communication and interaction. I’m just intrigued to know what will develop from it over time. Think of the social revolution produced by the printing press, as a case in point of what these kinds of developments can lead to.

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