For someone who has had a website for going on nine years (NINE! YEARS!), I've become accustomed to the ebb and flow in my creativity. There are times when I'm fabulously inspired to share every tiny thought, nuance, particle of my very being, and then there are times when I find myself much more reserved. The dichotomy is brought on by many things; happiness and elation, inspiration, and – though it sounds ridiculous – falling firmly in 'like' with someone; alternatively, frustration, depression, and a well-founded sense of being firmly stuck in a rut can cause me to go silent, sometimes for days and weeks on end. And yet lately, I've not experienced one extreme nor the other, and find that I still don't write on here very often. Even posting photos is like pulling teeth, though it only requires me to add another email address when I'm sending them to Flickr or Twitpic. The problem, I think, is that I share so much during any given day in much smaller doses that I rarely take the time to recap on a larger scale. I'm living tree by tree and ignoring the forest. It's a disservice to this website, but I'm not sure I necessarily see it as a problem; more, an inevitability.
Communication as as whole is evolving. My friends that brought you some of the first weblogs have identified this in kind; Blogger is going strong and is certainly a mass-media product (as are blogs from the company of my choice, SixApart, which powers this site) but Ev and Biz and the crew identified early that attention spans were changing. That they were getting shorter. That people like me, who first started this website as a forum to launch her freelance writing career, may also want to evolve to smaller, quirkier updates. And – as loathe as I am to admit it – I close-mindedly would have bet against it two years ago. "I'm a WRITER!", I likely would have exclaimed in my naivete. "I write ARTICLES. This isn't a BLOG, it's a WEBSITE." For me, it was about making it authentic. I wanted to be regarded as a 'real' writer (whatever that was or is), and at the time, blogs were something that people used to broadcast their mundane daily happenings, or at least that's what I thought I'd be judged as. I wanted to stand out! I wanted to prove that I – the genetics major whose Dad thought that journalism was a dead-end career yielding $21,000/yrto a disgruntled newspaper writer – could pursue my own type of writing and make a go at it.
And it worked, for a while. While always holding down a full-time job, I happily accepted freelance opportunities and had 2 weekly columns in an Atlanta paper writing about fashion and relationships. Nice little payment at the end of the month to help fund my Sephora addiction and sushi predilection. I had a strong following here on my website, had people engaging with what I wrote (which has always been really important to me) and found my niche. AubreySabala.com was my foray into writing, and if nothing else, it got me comfortable in speaking my mind and not apologizing for my 'unique' take on the world.
And yet today, it seems outdated. Old-school. SLOW. I've found that I've transitioned into a shorter, yet more frequent medium, be it Twitter or Facebook or even email. Communication, to me, is more than just written; it's now taken on more of a visual aspect too, as Flickr and Twitpic and Qik often convey what I'm doing or thinking or saying more effectively than my words. And they do so in collaboration; it's not a podcast vs. a blog post. It's both. It's the integration, and the embrace of, the technology to provide a fuller picture of who I am and what I want to convey.
I don't think I'm the only one whose changed; my 'traffic' on Twitter (noted by number of followers as well as the influx of @ responses when posing a question to the masses) far surpasses even the hugest days on my site, now and even years ago when I published it more frequently. People are open to having conversations online and in a public forum, whereas before they saved those for phone calls or emails. Now, with a quick Twitter question or Facebook post you can find out the best sushi place in a foreign city as well as who your ex is now hooking up with. The free-flowing communication, once one-to-many, is now many-to-many, and exponential at that (as many services allow for search and tracking that forever expand the overused term of 'social graph.')
Resultingly, this website suffers the most from my this new take on communication, because it doesn't truly address the 'many-to-many' standard as it provides me just one channel (albeit multi-faceted) to communicate. Futher still, I haven't yet found a good solution for this all. I have Tumblr set up to automatically post a lot of my 'activities' but certainly that's not perfect, nor do I want to have to add another 'network' to update. I feel similarly about Friendfeed. (I've complained about this before, so won't repeat myself, at least not until I have a solution.) So until then, I will remain the parts as opposed to the sum, and hope that one day soon I'll be able to reverse that equation.