The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Life After Blogging - A Unique Alias

[Ed. note: Today's post is the first in a Life After Blogging series. (Be sure to check out the fascinating discussion in the comments to that intro post.)

A_Unique_Alias was one of the first friends I made strictly through blogging. I didn't know him before nor was I linked to him through law school. He simply showed up one day and commented. He was my biggest online supporter when I closed shop post-Katrina to start a charity. It sounds strange for me to call AUA a "friend" considering I only met him once. That could be what makes the blogosphere so fascinating: forging bonds through this strange community of online diaries and comments. Who'da thought? AUA, the mic is yours...]

What was the name of your blog?
Direct Current

How long did you blog? How long since you left blogging?
I was blogging regularly for about 10 months. It's been closed since February, so about four months since I've left.

How did you leave blogging?
Essentially, I popped up a sign that said "Sorry! We're closed." I did it without any ado. On the one hand, I was reluctant to surprise the readers, but on the other hand, I did it that way because I feel like a big douchebag saying things like "I was reluctant to surprise the readers." There was no smooth way to do it, and frankly, trying to find a smooth way made me feel like a self-important prick.
[Ed. note: Although AUA didn't cause a scene, someone out there caused it for him.]

Why did you leave blogging?
There were several factors/incidents influencing the decision:

> I'd been working on a project with a friend for about a year, and I was diverting a lot of energy into the blog which would've been much better spent on the other writing project with a higher ROI.

> My blog was discovered by the Bartender at my neighborhood dive. He and I had never talked about blogging before and as far as I know, his involvement with the internet is essentially limited to the Google search engine. When someone who isn't very "plugged in" finds you, you know there's too much out there.

> I was inadvertently "outed" at work. One of my coworkers reads The Rock Creek Rambler, and found a link to a link to a set of pictures that I was in. I don't obviously don't need to elaborate on the risks there.

> There was a different coworker whom I considered a close friend. He knew about the blog from the start; I'd occasionally have him proof-read posts and things like that. I wrote something that rubbed him the wrong way, and he trolled me "anonymously." With all the site-stats, I had 100% proof it was him, and I called him out on it. He denied it and fabricated some thin story about his laptop getting stolen. On one hand, it gave me insight into his character and I'm glad we aren't friends anymore. On the other hand, I wonder if it even would have happened if I didn't have the blog; if he didn't misinterpret one of my lines.

> I started getting picked up by the Express and DC Blogs with increasing frequency. My hits were going up logarithmically - - 2x as many as the preceding month, then 4x, then 8x, then 16x. The asymptotic readership curve, at the end, encompassed every facet of my life - - my DC friends, my military friends, my family, my bar, my office, my girlfriend - - and it came to be a greater liability than a benefit. For instance, what would happened if instead of trolling me, my former friend and confidante decided to scan through my blog for the nastiest thing I wrote and forward it to my boss?

How do you think you and your blog are remembered?
In my eyes, my blog was a blip on the radar. While there is constant attrition in the world of blogs, I'd like to think those who read Direct Current remember it as "worth the time it took to type in the URL."

What is the most important thing you got out of or took away from blogging?
Tough question! So, other than meeting my kick-ass awesome brilliant supermodel girlfriend?

It definitely made the city a lot smaller for me, in a good way. I learned more about the types of people in DC than I would have by chatting with drunks before last-call. Some of my preconceptions were dispelled and others were reinforced. From the aspect of social research, it yielded great fruit.

Do you miss it?
Not really. I've had the opportunity to guest post in places. I was invited (and I accepted) a membership on a group blog under a different pseudonym but I seldom contribute. I certainly don't miss the sense of responsibility to a heterogeneous readership. I certainly don't miss the risk. I can still shoot my mouth off without a blog :-) It was a nice outlet for creativity.

Would you change anything?
I would not change a thing! I met a lot of cool people and had some really good experiences.

If I were to start a new blog, though, I would do it differently. I would adopt a completely fabricated persona from someplace in the Midwest or something. I would not allow it to intersect with my personal life and would retain 100% anonymity.

[Thanks AUA!]