I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions but I think I need to address a problem that has started to get out of hand. I’ve been in denial about it but I think it’s time to face the issue head on. I’m addicted to blogs and they’re taking over all of my reading time.
It all started innocently enough. My friend Jim Donahue’s The Velvet Blog was as wryly funny as he himself is and I started checking in on his random musings regularly. He started TVB in June of 2004 before the blogging craze became the internet equivalent of Chia pets and rubber bracelets, but something about the seeming spontaneity of the format and the feeling that you’re privy to someone’s intimate thought process hooked me – after all, doesn’t the best fiction (and some narrative nonfiction) achieve that same effect?
Soon, however, the bug had spread and exhibitionist writers everywhere took to the Internet in droves. Agents and publishers got clued in and all of a sudden there were big book deals for everything from Stuff White People Like to our own Daily Coyote (based on the eponymous blog) and A Homemade Life. It was quickly obvious that blogging was not only here to stay but potentially a great source of untapped writing talent.
But then, the whole thing started to become institutionalized and fun sites like Daily Candy and Boing Boing became part of the media establishment. So now, aside from my print magazine habit, I started collecting blog bookmarks by the dozen justifying my addiction by telling myself that it was my business to be “ in the know.” There was PerezHilton (no, I’m not proud of it), Politico, The Onion, Gawker and all its spawn, Slate, Salon, etc. During the feverish election season, there was 23/6 (for comic relief), The Huffington Post, and Tina Brown’s heavy on flash, low on substance The Daily Beast, and, well, too many to list. Problem is that one link leads you to another and, well, a person could spend all day going from one site to another, down endless, exhausting pathways.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up my blogs. We’ve found too many great authors by sending a fan letter in response to a particularly strong post or neat concept. But, I do have to rein it in before I find myself in a 12-step program for blog abusers. Otherwise, my reading piles will get dusty and yellow while I follow the saga of the lady who lost all her money to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme or lose myself in the possible designs of Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown on Mrs. O. Losing weight? No problem. Cutting back on the cocktails? Okay. Giving up the blogs? This could take willpower.
What are your favorite blogs and are they taking over your life too?
(And, btw, what’s the correct usage for blog titles, do you italicize as you do titles of full-length publications?)