6.01.2008

Dog years ('Hundejahre'): Marking the beginning of the third year of this feeble document

Dog years (it sounds better in German: 'Hundejahre', title of a novel by Gunter Grass): The misbegotten idea that a one year of a dog's life corresponds to seven 'human' years.

This weekend marked the beginning of another year in the existence of my small site (I dislike the words 'blog' and 'blogger'), it was originally launched -- with little fanfare and few readers -- on May 26, 2006. I won't recount my motivations for dipping my toes into the world of social networking and online community building, and in retrospect, they were all highly suspect anyhow.

To tie this anniversary to the above image, lately keeping it going has seemed to be more of a burden than anything else. Stretching a metaphor, I feel like a stand in for the knight and the figure of Death represents the need to create content -- good content, original content, any content -- on a semi-regular and ongoing basis, until such a point as I've finally had enough, or I die. (I saw the Seventh Seal for the first time over the winter, thanks Stowe Library). Even if I have the time, energy and imagination to come up with something even slightly interesting, two or three days go by, and then it's my move again. Another more obvious comparison would be Sisyphus and his rock.

At work, I spend an awful lot of time on LinkedIn, and maybe 10% of the profiles will have links to personal pages of one sort or another. I always check these pages (blogs, flickr streams, pages about extra-curricular activities, etc.) out. I speak to people from India very frequently and I've learned a lot both about life in India and also about the experience of the Indian diaspora by doing this, but I digress: Many of these sites have been abandoned, projects (professional or personal) started but not kept up. I've run into some examples of blogs that never made to five posts, total (and yet the author hasn't bothered to delete it). Unless one is 'blogging' about a specific, time-bounded event (a bike race, jazz festival, election, whatever) it is pretty much like getting on an endless treadmill and requires some persistence and imagination -- and a high degree of self-absorption -- to keep it going.

Going forward, I guess I will keep 'Midnight Modern Conversation' (I'm not even sure I approve of the conceit behind the name at this point in time) alive, Google is such a force in the world today -- and not necessarily a force for good -- and I have learned quite a bit about how how content is found and other workings of the Internet by writing posts on diverse topics. I know that nothing that shows up here matters too much and that this site is fundamentally of no importance whatsoever. With this sentiment in mind, I thought I would repost this clip from April 2007 -- shadows moving across my patio on a spring morning, it doesn't get much less dramatic or meaningful than this:

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