Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wither IVIC?

By: UnrepentantNewDealer

For your Halloween pleasure, a morbid parody (all apologies to Monty Python):

The Dead Blog Collector: Bring out yer dead! Bring out yer dead!
Large Man with Dead Blog: Here's one. [placing it on the cart]
The Dead Blog Collector: That'll be ninepence.
IVIC: I'm not dead.
Blog Collector (BC): What?
Large Man (LM): Nothing. There's your ninepence.
IVIC: I'm not dead.
BC: 'Ere, it says it's not dead.
LM: Yes, it is.
IVIC: I'm not.
BC: It isn't.
LM: Well, it will be soon. It's very ill. No one has posted on it in more than 3 months!
IVIC: I'm getting better.
LM: No, you're not, you'll be stone dead inactive in a moment.
BC: Well, I can't take it like that. It's against blogosphere regulations.
IVIC: I don't want to go on the cart.
LM: Oh, don't be such a baby!
BC: I can't take it.
IVIC: I feel fine.
LM: Oh, do me a favor!
BC: I can't.
LM: Will you hang around for a couple of minutes? It won't be long.
BC: I promised to be over at MySpace. They've lost nine today. [mutters] Bloody format, it's no wonder--
LM: Well, when is your next round?
BC: Thursday.
IVIC: I think I'll go for a walk.
LM: You're not fooling anyone, you know? Is there anything you could do?
IVIC: I feel happy. I feel happy.

[BC glances up and down the street furtively, then whacks IVIC with a club.]

LM: Ah, thank you very much.
BC: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
LM: Right.

The End of IVIC?

Wow. It has been a long time since I or anyone else has posted on this blog. As you can see by scrolling down, Akerman last posted in July, myself at the end of June, and Ed not since March. Thus far this year, we have posted 3, 7, and 3 times each, respectively, for a grand total of 13 posts, thus far this year. Contrast that with last year's total of 19, 23, and 9, respectively, for a grand total of 51 posts, concentrated in the first half of that year; 2004: 32, 19, 11, respectively, 62 total, concentrated in the second half of that year; 2003 (which Akerman only started the blog in August of that year): 19, 3, 4, respectively, 26 total. (I think I did that counting right; higher math's never been one of my strong suits.)

Why? Why the drop-off? I can only speak for myself. I have been busy, to be sure, but somehow I was able to make time before. Recently, that's not been the case.

I believe this blog originally grew out of the deep (and not-so-deep) conversations between Ed Snyder, Michael Akerman, and myself at the lunch table freshman year of high school. When Akerman founded this blog at the beginning of senior year, it duplicated our conversations at school, providing another forum for them. Perhaps for this reason, I didn't really feel the need to blog much senior year; if I had a thought or witticism I wanted to share, I could tell Akerman or Snyder at school. This state of affairs changed after graduation; I wound up contributing to the blog again after a long absense, really in order to maintain the old friendships from high school, as well as to provide an outlet for my thoughts, now that those daily in-person conversations were gone.

The "Golden Age" of IVIC thus began, lasting from roughly August 2004-April 2005. This was the period of maximum blogging by all parties, as well as maximum commenting by non-IVIC bloggers, mainly fellow classmates from Ragsdale's class of '04. Then, starting in May 2005, a long, slow die-off, the EKG readings spiking briefly, every now and then, but with decreasing frequency. The yearly totals tell the sad tale: 26, 62, 51, 13.

Again, why has this happened? I can only speak for myself, but it is not that I have not had killer ideas for posts in recent months. No, it is simply that I find myself deriving less and less pleasure from blogging. I derive some pleasure from crafting a well-written, well-reasoned blog post, but I derive more pleasure from the spirited give-and-take in the comments from fellow IVIC bloggers, as well as other bloggers. During its "Golden Age," IVIC provided a forum, not just for Snyder, Akerman, and myself, but also, through comments, for old friends from the Ragsdale diaspora: Kristen, Angela, Philip, Adam, Maggie, etc.) as well as for various "others" (namely Scott and "Man from the Mountain"). And of course, we commented on their blogs. I guess what I'm getting at here is that there was a sense of community then on IVIC, a community broader than IVIC itself, a community of friends and acquaintances from high school held together by exchanging ideas and sometimes insults on this blog. I am coming to realize that the loss of this community has not only harmed this blog, it impoverished my own life immeasurably.

That accounts for why it has been so long since I posted. The community spirit is gone, as is even the give-and-take in response to posts. In truth, I do blog for my own sanity and enjoyment, but at the same time, blogging without getting any kind of a response from readers feels pointless and depressing. As I pointed out in January, "It gets really discouraging when you post an entry and... you get no comment. So, then you post another entry and... you still get no comments. When this continues for month after month, it really gets depressing.... This long-running conversation--really going on since the lunch table freshman year at RHS--has fallen silent."

Honestly, I'm at a loss for what to do. I do enjoy blogging, but only if there is a discussion going on, rather than a rambling monologue, which would bore me as much as it would bore you. I want that old IVIC community spirit to return, but I know not how to achieve that, nor even if it is possible at this point. I once contemplated creating a separate blog of my own, and my thoughts return to it now. Perhaps on it, I could at least release my thoughts and clear my mind.

While I am not willing to give up on IVIC just yet, we need to find a way to resuscitate it, to revive it. Again, speaking only for myself, I am open to any and all suggestions from any and all comers. I will do my part over the next week by posting at least one post on the upcoming midterm elections. The last election did wonders for this blog's activity and traffic; perhaps it can again. Only time (which, of course, does not exist!) will tell.

In Peace,

Michael J. Smith