As I tread onward into my fourth year of maintaining this blog, it's an appropriate time for reflection. To say that I've learned some things about film and particularly about blogging over the last three years would be an understatement so great as to make it a meaningless statement. I've absorbed so much I feel like I can't even remember what I knew or thought I knew about film three years ago.
And I haven't just learned about movies, and how they are made and why they are made and how people talk about them and why they are important, but also about the nature (and sometimes disturbing power) of blogging, about how to efficiently use the internet to find trustworthy information, about how to write HTML code, about the future of online media, about professionalism and respect, and about social networking (in the truest sense: developing real friendships with people thousands of miles away). But what overwhelms me more than what I've learned so far is just how much I still have yet to learn.
At any given point I might be tempted to take what I've gained from this and turn the lights off, as I've seen an unfortunate number of very talented bloggers do over the last year, or I might be re-energized to keep at it, even if aimlessly. I'm attempting to do the latter. It's no coincidence that I've written fewer posts in 2010 than either of the last two years - I've also seen significantly fewer movies than any year in the last decade. This is the result of a variety of factors that probably won't change in the near future, but nonetheless I still have a passion for film and, I think, a passion for blogging; the two have kind of blended together at this point and it's difficult for me to imagine one without the other.
So I'm continuing on, not necessarily guided by a set of clear goals but by the strange sense of enjoyment that I still get from watching movies and trying to coherently explain what I took from them in some kind of interesting combination of words on a virtual page. In doing so, these are the lessons I want to keep in mind:
Quality over quantity. More than ever before, I have come to embrace the fact that post quality is much more important than post quantity - for myself, for my readers, and for the health of the internet, which is rapidly accumulating so much daily garbage that the idea of "green" or "sustainable" contributions to the global web is probably not far off. Some bloggers are in the unfortunate position of having to post frequently enough to meet some sort of quota, imposed either internally or externally. I do not envy people in this situation, and I definitely do not strive to be a full-time blogger and essentially be handcuffed mentally, if not also physically, to a keyboard and screen.
However, considering that Getafilm is an unpaid and actually rather expensive hobby when time and movie tickets are calculated, maybe I'm just as crazy for keeping this up. But, if I don't have glory or greenbacks resulting from this, at least I still have my sanity - and I hope to keep it by not driving myself mad trying to recapture the post frequency that I had early on. Besides, readers (you) don't have the same perception of my postinq frequency that I do, particularly since many of them (you) are reading via an RSS reader.
RSS readers are essential to navigating the blogosphere. If you haven't yet learned about subscribing to RSS feeds, I'll suggest it may completely change the way you interact with the internet. It took me a while to get the hang of it, develop a reading pattern, and efficiently manage the number of blogs and websites that I subscribe to, but at this point it's a steady breathing apparatus in a deluge of online content. I check my Google Reader almost every day and am able to read a lot of great writing (not only from film blogs, but also from other topical blogs that I subscribe to) without having to actually visit dozens and dozens of websites. It may occasionally prevent me from commenting and getting involved in great discussions, but at this point I'd rather access the content in an indirect way than completely miss it in a direct way.
Writing for myself is often more rewarding for myself - and everyone else, too. With the exception of local film happenings and other rare occasions, I don't do much in the way of promoting upcoming films, posting marketing materials (posters, trailers, stills, etc.), or passing along casting news and box office numbers. This is partly because I could never keep up with that pace, partly because so many other blogs do provide that information, partly because I'm not always interested in that information, and partly because I don't feel I'd be able to apply my own voice to that information in a meaningful way.
The last reason being the most significant, because I'm really only interested in my own thoughts. Just kidding. The truth is that I most enjoy reading other bloggers when they write about, well, themselves, and their movie experiences and memories and complaints and questions and opinions. I can get a lot of the other movie news from a variety of sources. But that's not what I'm seeking from "the blogs of others" - I'm seeking unique insights, opinions, and personality quirks. I expect others are after the same thing (Exhibit A: the popularity of Roger Ebert's Journal), so to the extent that I'm comfortable disclosing personal information, I really do want to include myself in most of what I write. And if what I write isn't always interesting to others anyway, at the very least it's an incredibly helpful way for me to process my thoughts and, ideally, sharpen my critical thinking and expository writing skills (which include, of course, being
more pithy pithier).
Thanks for reading.