Back in the days when blogs ruled the earth – well, when they constituted pretty much the sole medium of digital interaction – it used to matter to me greatly that I was reaching out to a regular and reasonably substantial readership. The raison d’être of Dick Jones’ Patteran Pages was the maintenance of an ongoing dialogue with both my fellow bloggers and those readers who were consumers rather than producers.
So happy days were when I posted an item over which I’d taken some time and trouble and the comment window came alive with responses. Approval, admiration, crowd-pleasing weren’t the objectives; communication was the principal aim. And many vigorous and free-flowing dialogues resulted back in the day from the combination of stimulus and acknowledgement.
To some extent, that kind of dialectic does come about via status updates on Facebook. But such is the fast-food turnover of posts, many promising threads go cold within the space of a handful of comments, or simply don’t register at all, the subject matter and those reactions that it has, in the instant, provoked slung out with the pizza crusts.
This now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t phenomenon is particularly evident with more personalised material. Poems rarely pick up any response; the same is true of home-brew musical items. Yes, they might be universally perceived as crap; I acknowledge this possibility. But both garnering some approval when shared in other contexts has me walking the narrow path between ‘tread softly because you tread on my dreams’ and ‘stand back, genius in the room’! So I’m motivated thereby to find a home for these less patronised products where anyone so inclined might be able to access them at their leisure.
Hence the revival of the blog. The old days are past. Only a tiny handful of those bloggers with whom I once shared densely populated hillsides and valleys are still in original residence. Most have, like me, moved house and home to the vast and noisy condominium that is Facebook. However, three of them – Natalie, Beth and Dave (all of us close friends now) – have managed to coordinate dual residence, their blogs remaining rich resources of enduring quality and their Facebook pages acting both as interactional media and conduits to those blogs.
I started blogging behind the shingle of Dick Jones’ Patteran Pages back in February 2003, using the fearsomely clunky weblog technology employed by the liberal/left media giant Salon, operating back then in its earliest incarnation but innovative enough to want to host one of the first blogging platforms. The original notion was to use the Patteran Pages simply as an online diary, but over time as both the technology and my own expertise gathered strength and range, it became a great deal more than that. I kept going until 2015 and then, increasingly conscious that I was at the dark end of the street in something of as ghost town, with few regrets I moved out. Liberated now from any need or desire to stretch communication between the slow-cooked, marinated blog post and a regular constituency of eager readers, I’m powerfully motivated to return to the blog, this time functioning as a repository of material that will, as time passes, archive itself for my own satisfaction. And once again the intention is simply to maintain a regular, if not absolutely calendar-bound, diary whose content may be witnessed by others but whose purpose and value will have priority first and foremost for myself.