Looking Back, Listening Ahead: A Year in the Blogosphere

Well, the clocks appear to have stopped to mark the occasion. Promptly as I commenced my second year as a web journalist, on 21 May, my counter turned contrary. Until I caught on, it suggested that broadcastellan had at last slipped into the ditch of oblivion at the edge of which it had been precariously poised since its inception. Now that the Black Sunday woes over at StatCounter have given way to business as usual, I am taking this opportunity to so some summing up, to reflect upon my niche market appeal (as I prefer to label my inconsequentiality) and share what I have learned, what I refuse to learn (or learned to refuse), and what I’ve got planned for the weeks ahead.

Once again, I am calling on the prickly, probing Wally Windchill to interview me. He’ll do what I am at a loss to accomplish if left to my own devices—give it to you straight, that is, and force me to be succinct. Here we go . . .

Windchill: Dr., er, broadcastellan, you . . .

broadcastellan: Call me Harry. It makes me sound more like a real person.

Windchill: It’s that easy, huh? Do you get the impression that people in the blogosphere are not real?

broadcastellan: Yes, sometimes. I mean, invisible visitors, faceless templates, nameless writers. I often wonder who’s behind what’s on the screen and what is not; what they are trying to tell me or dying to sell me . . .

Windchill: Before you slip into verse, tell me what you are trying to sell.

broadcastellan: I am simply sharing what matters to me, what I know and would like to know more about. My blog is a concept blog. It has a subject, a project, and a fairly well defined format.

Windchill: The subject is western popular culture of the past, as your profile tells us. Isn’t it a problem to keep a journal about the past? A journal is supposed to be current, no?

broadcastellan: That’s where the “project” comes in—to relate the past to the present, whether it be my personal present or current events. It doesn’t always come off, but I enjoy the challenge. I try not to come across as a lecturer, some know-it-all; I learn while I write. I enjoy being edited. In fact, I revise my work while it is online. Sometimes it takes me a few days before I am done with an essay. For instance, it took me a while to realize that I had been wrong about Joseph Cotten’s date of birth. I was off by a year. And when someone came across my essay via Google, I noticed that his name had been repeatedly misspelled as well. According to my computer, “Cotten” is a fabrication gone against the lexical grain. If I waited to surrender the definitive version, I’d never get to share anything.

Windchill: That’s one way of excusing carelessness. And the “format”?

broadcastellan: I treat each entry as an essay; generally, I begin with something personal—what I have been doing, experiencing, how I feel. Then I try to relate the personal to the topic of the day. I enjoy finding patterns in the seemingly arbitrary. Writing, to me, is an opportunity to turn life into composition. We have no influence on our beginning and, unless we do away with ourselves, don’t determine its conclusion. Writing allows you to give shape to your everyday existence.

Windchill: Do you ever make anything up just to make an essay work, if indeed it does work?

broadcastellan: No, but I am selective in what I relate, even as I revel in the challenge of relating the seemingly unrelated. Why not compare apples and oranges? Or apples and elephants, for that matter? “Only connect,” as E. M. Forster put it. It’s a mind-opening motto.

Windchill: Are you satisfied with your work and its reception?

broadcastellan: It has been a quiet year. I know why that is so and learned to accept it. Call it integrity or idiocy, I am pretty much doing now—183 essays on—what I set out to do on that lonely day in May 2005. I live in a rather remote spot, you see. Most days I only see one person and talk to no more than two. It’s quite a change from New York City. On the web, I can be approached by anyone, which is not to say that I should endeavor to appeal to everyone. There wouldn’t be anything left of me.

Windchill: Only disconnect, then?

broadcastellan: No, but accept that others may choose not to connect because they don’t like what I have to say or how I put it. I have had one rather irritating experience. Since I carry no advertisement, the number of visitors is not as important to me as the number of readers. I still use traffic generators, but my current VARB rating tells me that such services and their clients are generally not for me.

Windchill: I see. You have a short blogroll, which probably means that you prefer to stick to what you know.

broadcastellan: I do look at a lot of blogs and leave comments on some. There are political blogs, diaries, and hobbyist sites I enjoy even if they don’t end up on my list of links.

Windchill: Your blog is rather low-tech. Any plans to jazz it up?

broadcastellan: I am working on my first podcast, which I hope to turn into a weekly feature.

Windchill: What’s it about? Old-time radio?

broadcastellan: Yes. Something playful and amusing, I hope. The first episode (if indeed it turns out to be episodic) features Ms. Tallulah Bankhead. I am going to share my fascination with sounds and voices, rather than just playing recordings. My voice will be heard as well, interacting with those voices from the past.

Windchill: Voices from the past, eh? I’m not sure whether to get out the Ouija board or the straitjacket. Well, good luck with your projects.

One Reply to “Looking Back, Listening Ahead: A Year in the Blogosphere”

  1. Hello HarryI enjoyed this. If you feel the need to see a different face one day soon, let me know. We can have coffee and cake and discuss podcasting (or cake).Mxx


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