Sunday, June 10, 2018

death of (my) blogging

I've obviously nearly quit blogging at this point. That's ok; it's a clear waste of time but one that I got a lot of addiction-like joy from for... most of my life, at this point. I'll still post occasionally I'm sure.

That's the necessary context but beside the point. I'm curious why my blogging addiction petered out, and I can't put my finger on it. I think there's a lot of factors actually, but "for a lot of reasons" isn't a satisfying story and often indicates aimless rationalization (we're by nature amazingly good at coming up with endless plausible hypotheses, and less good at narrowing them down to the truth).

Contributing factors, in no particular order:
  1. Specialization. As I've gotten more specialized in my career, what I read is also more specialized, and what I spend time thinking about is more "cutting edge" for lack of a better word; that is, there simply aren't answers or data available, or sufficiently conclusive, for me to reach some coherent idea that I want to write down. Fluid brainstorming isn't as fun to write down as solid conclusions.
  2. Brainstorming with Matt, however, is very fun, which lowers the relative price of thinking-out-loud versus thinking-with-keyboard. (It's so great having a partner who is also very STEMish, also very INT(P|J), but not specifically an economist.)
  3. I'm less argumentative than I used to be. I've mellowed out generally and simultaneously grown weary of trying to persuade anyone of anything. Good or bad? The way it is.
  4. Photography. At the end of grad school I got a DSLR camera, which was gasoline on the fire of my lifelong love of (very amateur) photography. Taking and developing photos has replaced many of my former free-time activities, especially those that also serve as life record-keeping or creative outlets. Blogging is both.
  5. Facebook. Brief thoughts or links or whatever that I want to record or share more naturally go on facebook now. (Others use twitter for this.)
  6. Death of blogosphere. Blogging has dramatically declined overall; my desire to follow blogs has declined dramatically since only a few don't get stale (MR, Econlog, Kottke, SSC); my skimming-the-newspaper-over-morning-tea attention has drifted from my RSS feed collection to facebook. Following blogs => wanting to blog.
  7. This isn't and has never been a "professional" blog, but it's a fine line, since most of what I write about is naturally related to economics. It's become harder to maintain that division since people I meet at seminars and conferences and such google me and find it. My comfort level with that waxes and wanes.
  8. Relatedly, let's face it, saying anything in public is dangerous lately. I love my job and am not willing to risk it, but I inadvertently do anytime I discuss anything controversial.
  9. Intentional change in time use. It probably all boils down to this. I think of something I want to blog, but work is more pressing. Each instance is trivial, but of course it adds up.
Until next time, whenever that may be.


Rebecca te Velde said...

I am going to miss hearing you think, even though a lot of the time your thoughts and topics are way over my head or out of my sphere of comprehension. Somehow you make complicated stuff and theories seem natural and somehow understandable. But I'm totally with you about time spent at (this) keyboard vs. time spent otherwise being productive or creative.

JohnRaymond said...

Don't forget: It was all worth it because Paul Krugman cited one of your blogs once !! (haha)
But seriously, I get what you're saying and can only say I admire you for all the blogging you've done. I'm sure there are many intangible ways that lots of people have benefited.

Joe Fec said...

Darn, I literally just found you. But your reference to "anything said in public is risky" is 100% true. I blog as well, but unlike before, it's now self-help kinda stuff. Which is safe. I think. :)
I'm trying to help people with my words, share some wisdom, etc. I think monetizing blogs is basically done though. Its impossible to get real traffic.

BTW - loved your piece on the broken windows.

Vera L. te Velde said...

Thanks Joe! I'm sure I'll keep blogging off and on. Yours looks very intriguing as well.

Dad, HAH I completely forgot about that actually. True, that was a highlight...