I have been a failure at blogging. In the past eight years or so, I have had three blogs on three different platforms, and by and by, each of them has become defunct. Nearly.
My first blog was created on a whim. I was in college then and had been introduced to the word ‘blogging’ in a media studies lecture. It was 2006 and most Indians were new to the concept (and world) of blogging. Indian bloggers were few and far between. Our professor had simplified a blog to us by calling it an online diary. Something in me had decided that anyone who liked to write must have a blog. Thus began my uneventful journey on Blogger, the most popular blogging platform in those days.
I remember writing about college days — the good, bad and ugly, books I read, cricketers I loved, things that made me happy and sad and so on. Mostly stuff that no one but I would read. I shared some posts with a couple of friends, and that was about it. Social media wasn’t as roaring then as it is now; hence, there was barely any scope for promotion beyond your own friends. And of course, why would anyone else want to read a college kid writing about projects and examination pressure? After graduating, I stopped updating that blog. Some years later when I went back to it and read those posts, I cringed. Such naivete! Such poor writing! Such ordinariness! I deleted the blog.
After some months, or may be a year, I began my second blog — this time on Wordpress. This was 2010 and my interactions with people made me believe that Wordpress was the ‘in’ thing. Anyone who wanted to be read/heard, must write on Wordpress. Blogger was for kids and Wordpress was for professionals. I created that simplistic distinction in my head. But, I found Wordpress utterly bewildering. The dashboard was a mess, and the interface was dull and boring. I spent about three days setting up my blog and customizing it. Then another week following blogs of my interest… because every Wordpress blogger I had interacted with kept harping about the Wordpress community. By the end of it I was so exhausted that I did not have the wherewithal to write anything myself. After a fortnight of non-activity on Wordpress, I quit. Not a single post. Yes, you read that right.
My third — and most successful (by my awful standards) blog — has been on Tumblr. It began in 2011 and still exists, though it’s been a quarter of a year since I last posted. I loved Tumblr’s simple interface. Posting was easy. Sharing was easier. Words, pictures, audio, video — everything could be managed seamlessly. I have nearly 400 posts on this blog. I have written on subjects close to my heart. I have even bared my soul at times. But in 4 years, I haven’t even managed 40 followers on the blog. That’s not just godawful but terribly demotivating.
There’s something about blogging that eludes me. Yes, I don’t promote my blogs very actively because I always wonder why would anyone want to read me. There’s so much being written about every little thing. There’s an overdose of information and opinion already. Why would anyone lend their ear to an utter nobody? Also, I think I exhaust myself by tweeting. Exhaust ideas, exhaust words, exhaust feelings, exhaust everything. I realize that every tweet is a blogpost lost. I speak for myself.
Some days ago I had a lengthy discussion about blogging with folks on Twitter. A few of them included avid (and heavily-followed) bloggers. Few things that emerged from that conversation: First, one must be clear about the intent — why are you blogging? Who are you blogging for: yourself or others? Second, one must blog everyday. Even if it is a para or a couple of paras, writing every single day is essential for a following of any kind. (Take Amitabh Bachchan for instance. That man is incredible. He blogs every single day. May be, he numbers his posts by days because every missed day implies a missed post. That’s one way to motivate oneself.) And third, one must blog about a mix of subjects. If you write a poem everyday, no one’s going to read you after a week. (Ask me!)
So, coming back to where I started. This is my fourth attempt at blogging. I get bored so easily that I have decided to try a new platform this time too. And thus, I Googled ‘top blogging platforms’. This is what I got. Since I am done with the first three, Medium was the one to go with this time around. I like how it looks. I don’t want too many widgets and tools on the blog. Words should stand out. And this looks like an ideal place for serious, long-form writing. Here’s more on it. I am hoping this one sticks. Or rather, I stick with it. There’s something important I plan to write soon. And it requires a simple, uncluttered space like this.