As a member of the unemployed set, I have a fair bit of time on my hands. For a while I was doing little else than sitting around and reading; burnout is a horrible thing. Now that I’ve recovered a bit, though, I’ve actually got more energy, and so I’m working on a number of random projects, including this blog.
I also still read a lot, but more news and blogs than fiction now. And trending towards blogs; the “news” just plain sucks these days.
I was just taking a break from my latest project when I came across this article on Hacker News, and it asks a question that I actually find fairly interesting: what has this blog done for me? It actually made me stop and think.
It also leads to the corollary: why do I keep trying to blog more, even after literal years of silence, and with so little to show for it?
The History & The Why
While floating.io has only been around since 2016, I’ve actually been blogging (that I’ll admit to) since early 2012. Yes, there were earlier attempts. No, I won’t comment on them (partly because I can’t even remember most of them – yes, getting older does, in fact, suck. Far better than not getting older, though).
I honestly can’t give a single answer as to why I started. I suppose some part of me wanted the attention – my fifteen minutes of fame, if you will. Partly it was the idea of building a business, and a vague, undefined hope that I could eventually turn it into one. Partly it was because I more or less exist to build computery things, and I need computery things to build.
Really, it was a mixture of things. Perhaps if I’d been more diligent about my writing, I could have a nice chunk of change coming in from Patreon and be doing this for a living today, but alas…
It ended up as nothing more than a hobby, and I’m okay with that.
The truth is, I get no obvious benefits from my efforts – or at least, not in a way that anyone else is likely to recognize. Sometimes benefits can be very hard to quantify, and this is one of those times. To wit:
- I don’t make any money off this thing.
- I get maybe a hundred or so views a day, 99% of which are bots or RSS feed readers snarfling updates (and I’m not kidding about that percentage, either).
- It actually costs me money to run. Not much, mind, but it’s not nothing either. And I’m ignoring my own time investment.
- Out of the few comments I got when I still had them, more than half were hostile – most of that on one post that a lot of people disagreed with. And that’s discounting the endless spam that got blocked.
- It doesn’t currently have a hope of earning me a job or something; it’s actually a fairly poor showcase for my abilities (outside of writing), mostly because I don’t work professionally as a programmer or web designer.
The truth is that nobody really cares about this blog at the moment. And really, why would they? Fresh content has only recently started appearing again. Even then, how many people want to read about the Hugo static site generator? There’s probably a few, but…
So yeah, no obvious benefits, minimal utility, and a bit of a time sink.
Sometimes it’s the less visible things that actually matter. The things that this blog actually does for me are subtle. It’s not going to to make me rich. Heck, it’s not even going to help me make friends.
But then there’s my personal reality.
I am, by my very nature, an introvert. I’m not at all in the habit of forcing myself into the limelight in any given setting. In fact, I’m not in the habit of entering social situations of any kind without a very good reason. It simply costs too much in terms of energy, and leaves me thoroughly drained afterwards. These days, I rarely even leave the house (and no, I’m not agoraphobic) unless I have to.
The wacky thing is that it’s likely that very few people would recognize it in me. Introversion is not the same thing as shyness; this aspect of my personality is fairly well hidden in public. Most of my acquaintances probably assume that I’m off hanging out with someone else rather than talking to them, but they’re wrong. I’m hanging out with myself, enjoying the solitude.
This blog gives me an outlet. It allows me to express myself into the world in whatever way I happen to feel like doing at the moment, and without the heavy energy expenditure that being social requires. Rarely is my expression personal – this isn’t quite anonymous enough for me to be willing to elaborate on my more personal beliefs with strangers. It’s more akin to art; it allows me to add something to the world, for better or worse.
Or for indifference, as the case may be.
In the end, the simple truth is that the world does not cater to people like me, and as such there is little for me to do most days. Watching TV can have the same effect as being around other people, so that’s right out. What is someone like me to do for entertainment?
One of the things I do, is write.
Welcome to floating.io.