Monday, January 19, 2009

Five Years of Sky-Writing

I nearly missed it, but my blogular salute to the late Patrick McGoohan and Ricardo Montalban marked the close of Whisky Prajer's fifth year in the blogosphere.

Right from the get-go I considered blogging to be little more than a form of sky-writing. I expected technological glitches to occur, and figured my words would likely disappear in some unanticipated internet shift. I did not expect the record to remain chiefly intact for five years and counting. How nice to still be alive and occasionally taken with thoughts that prompt expression. And how very nice to have the platform for it.

I still view it all as sky-writing, however. It certainly ain't painting on the walls of our cave. The apocalyptic in me expects to wake up some day and discover the slate wiped clean, without notice. With that in mind, this summer I collected a bunch of my favorite posts and started formatting them for print publication.

What I discovered -- what caught me off-guard -- was a marked difference in style and content that, for the most part, did not translate well to the page. All those links to other websites, articles, illustrations remained firmly embedded in the internet, refusing to budge when introduced to the page. These links didn't merely inform the content but were frequently used to justify the content. Precious few of them work as footnotes. In other words, even a cheerful Luddite like yours truly is changed when engaging the new media.

So it goes, and so it likely should be. Every essayist wants their words to become a permanent fixture in the public record; every college kid wants to be the next Matthew Arnold. There's no reason why seriousness shouldn't be an element in the blogosphere, just as it is in Zen gardens -- and perhaps even sky-writing. And there's no reason why most of these expressions shouldn't evaporate with the waning of attention.

Thanks for dropping by and reading. And a sweeping tip o' the hat to Michael Blowhard, whose early words on the 2Blowhards persuaded me to give this medium a go. Here's hoping we all get another five years of this!


Joel said...

I just passed my 5 year blogiversary recently myself.

It is interesting to consider what the future of all our words will be. If they'll bounce around the walls of cyberspace forever, or if google will decide to end this little experiment next year. Or (perhaps more likely) the energy crisis will make blogging not quite so free, cheap, and easy.

Hopefully most of the stuff on the internet will get preserved in some form. And I don't just say that because of my big ego (although it is nice to think of our words living forever, as you say), but all of these blogs and Bulletin boards will be a huge resorce for social historians in the future. Which is no doubt why the internet archives got set up.

But I agree, it's smart to keep a backup print copy.

dan h. said...

Congrats on five years!

I, too, have often expected a disappearance to occur at some point. It would be a shame now.

Cheers for five more!!!

Whisky Prajer said...

Thanks, gents. And back atcha!

DarkoV said...

Five years and Forward In All Directions! No rust developing, no gathering of moss, not even a detection of creakyness. Whatever WD-40 you're using to keep the soul vibrant, the words electric, the phrasing tight, the spirit strong, and the ever present orenda, WP, How 'bout sharing some with the lesser beings?

Congrats for getting there!

Yahmdallah said...

Congrats! Looking forward to the next five.

Peter said...

My first four years of blogging was lost in cyberspace when AOL Journals shut down. True, there was advance warning, but the instructions on saving materials were difficult to follow and there was no automatic transfer to Word Press, my new blog post. Perhaps if I'd had more time I could have figured something out, but I dilly-dallied until the day before the shutdown took effect. It no longer really seems to matter.

Rumor now has it that Live Journals is not long for this world. Word Press is being quite helpful by making it easy to transfer.

Cowtown Pattie said...

A tip o'tha Stetson and a glass of Shiner on me when you're next in Cowtown, my friend.

I, too, am a long-in-the-tooth blogger. It is friends like you and the rest of the erudite gang that hangs here that keeps me coming back and keeping the faith.

What a way to meet other people and chew the fat!

Old style cafes with steaming early morning coffee and low playing juke boxes might be preferable, but the blogosphere is certainly more far-reaching and inclusive.

Congrats and thanks for sharing with of all of us.

We are family.

Whisky Prajer said...

Yes, indeed CP. I was wondering aloud to my wife what it would have taken in years gone by to amass a circle of friends from places as geographically diverse as is represented in these comments. We considered "letters to the editor" or the past phenom of "pen pals" but concluded that these were pale substitutes at best. Quite a gift, this blog-thingy. All I can say is, "Get up everybody and sing!"

paul bowman said...

Loving these comments, I've got to say. : )