Sunday, July 30, 2006

Decisions

I've spent the past day deciding what to do with this blog. The simplest answer would have been to delete it entirely, but it left an unsettled sense that I would be running away from things and leaving them half done.

I've now deleted all of my archives except three posts which have been highly linked-to and the posts from this July. I wanted to make sure my more infrequent readers had a chance to see the progression of this, and what has led to my current state of blogging malaise. I made backups of all the content for my own personal use and stored it on my harddrive.

I think the turning point, for me, was the earlier debacle with my post about what kids need. The part that I did not mention publically, at the time, was the behind-the-scenes behavior of the woman whose post I deleted. I had decided that her post was inflammatory and unfortunate and rude, so I chose not to approve it. I simply deleted it. She then posted five more comments, each one increasingly rude and abrasive, calling me a coward repeatedly for not posting her comment. I then banned her IP range. She responded by emailing me, telling me again what a coward I was for not posting her comment and making other increasingly unhinged remarks.

And I am thinking, as I deleted her email, that this is what the blogging world brings. People who are seemingly "normal" who engage in behavior that is in no way acceptable, simply because it is the internet and they have lost their sense of boundaries. Everyone has an opinion, and they insist that it must be aired, must be heard, someone has to KNOW what they think, dammit.

It's madness. This idea that our individual opinions are so sacred, so important. Four million people on the internet shouting ME ME ME in various keys.

It reminds me nothing so much as a huge "Letters to the Editor" section crossed with a private diary and filtered through a boring account book.

And I am as guilty of it as anyone.

I am not, however, guilty of stalking and harrassing someone who refuses to post my comments on their blog. And I don't really want to have to deal with those people anymore-- I have had many trolls, over the years, and they have all been unpleasant. I'm tired of expressing my opinions in this format-- if you see them anywhere, from here on out, you can be assured that I will be expressing them for pay. I would deal with trolls a lot more cheerfully if I knew that I'd been paid for every word I'd typed and they were merely blathering for free.

At this point, I feel that Scattershot Direct will probably migrate to a passworded webspace, where I will use it to keep a journal of my life, available for close friends and family members to read. I'm not sure when I'll do that, however. I know that my blog is going to be much more personal and much less socio-political. All my ideas about social issues are going to be used for books and articles-- assuming I can get some editor to pay for them, which will probably come with time and credentials. I am still considering getting a second bachelor's degree when my first is finished. But again, that is in the future.

It's been a long strange journey, writing this blog. I read through the archives as I deleted them, following the progression of my own thoughts and the maturation of my children. I said things, three years ago, that you would never hear from me now. I'm older, a little wiser, and I'm more experienced. And, frankly, I don't buy into it anymore-- blogging, American culture, simple answers, and the popular ideals among my Catholic brethren. There are things, at this point, which I can only begin to understand by the sort of careful in-depth study that requires advanced education and good sources. The popular media isn't enough. The latest bestselling non-fiction isn't enough. Blog links and rumors aren't enough. I want more.

I've spent too much time indulging this hobby. The time would have been better spent with my family, or studying, or working. It's time for me to cast off the water-wings of uninformed opinions and venture into the deep end of real adult discourse. It's intimidating-- man I am starting so late! But reading blogs lately has left me hungry for the real data, the real information, the people and statistics and science that describe the real world in a meaningful way. The way it is now, scientists conduct some important research or longitudinal study, they present it to their peers, some AP writer turns it into a 250 word article for dissemination around the world, some commentator turns it into a soundbite, and then the blogging world argues about the soundbite. It's just not enough anymore.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading. If you're still interested in following the blog as it becomes more a journal of nursing school and such, shoot me an email at mlynnish @gmail.com.

Until we meet again . . . .

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