Monday, March 27, 2006

Blogiversary Reflections

One year ago I began blogging. My first home was The Yellow Line, a blog I left when I became disenchanted with the whole blogging experience. After a few months decompression, I returned with this blog and also began contributing to the excellent centrist-oriented Donklephant.

Blogging has been a bizarre, thrilling, frustrating, emboldening, enraging, enlightening experience. I would have never guessed that so much could come from the little act of hacking out short, often half-formed essays and placing them on the Internet. In the last year I’ve had my words quoted many times by mainstream media sources. I’ve met through correspondence a large number of intelligent, worthwhile people whose words have often enlightened me. And I’ve become actively involved in a netroots Centrist movement that is actually gaining some steam.

Of all that I have learned (and I’ve learned a lot) the biggest lesson has been this: it is far easier to anger others than it is to connect with them. There are many whose minds are so closed-off that, when they disagree, they will refuse to treat you with even a modicum of respect or dignity. Such people are the midges of the world, constantly irritating and sometimes drawing blood but never amounting to much. They must be suffered if you want to make a difference in the world.

When I walked away from blogging, I did so out of frustration over the midges. Hurricane Katrina had just struck and I was disgusted with the swarms of people whose first reaction was to protect their political party or blame the other party—even before they had shed a tear. The Katrina spin game really upset me and I decided that I no longer wanted to be a part of an environment that fostered such small-mindedness.

But I was wrong to place the blame at the feet of the blogosphere when the blame belonged only to those who had the sparseness of heart and shallowness of mind to spin tragedy. There were many who did not and never do engage in such puerility. I should not have taken my blog and gone home. That was an overreaction and it wasn’t long before I missed being a part of the centrist/moderate/passionate-yet-reasonable community. So I returned, thicker of skin and clearer of vision.

For me, blogging is about connecting. I don’t often check my traffic stats (although I used to be obsessed) and I don’t often market myself to others (although I used to e-mail articles around). I just write and debate and know that even if only 100 people are reading, that’s a hundred people who I would not be reaching without this blog.

When I started a year ago, I wanted to be the biggest, best Centrist blogger around. And while it would be wrong to say I am now devoid of such ambitions, I am much more reasonable with my expectations and accepting of my status as a small voice fighting against the animosity, partisanship and spin of our times.

Thanks to all who read me and all who link to me. Hope you keep hanging around.


Blogger cakreiz said...

I remember 'The Yellow Line', of course. I also recall your withdrawal message- several commenters said you couldn't stay away. Suspect your more minimal approach here fits your life better. Frankly, I don't know how you bloggers summon the intellectual energy to stay in the game over time. It seems most daunting. But I'm glad you stayed in. Congratulations, Alan.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous GN said...

I have been visiting Donk for relatively short time and learn quite a bit there. I am glad you didn't stay away ... because you have something to say.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I cant remember when I discovered The Yellow Line, but I'm glad I did. Through the yellow line I found Donklephant, the Mighty Middle, this site and others. It's been a welcome relief to find passionate debate on politics tempered by intelligence. Thank you.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

I'm a frequent Donk commentator who's recently started my own blog too. I've got you in my blogroll. You've always got something worthwhile for me to read every time I visit. Keep it up.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I've communicated with Alan several times and his insight is something that the blogosphere is proud to claim. I, too, have been disgusted with the "midges" and the sheer amount of time necessary to keep up my blog, The American Moderate Party.

I've taken several hiatuses to decompress , but I don't believe I'll ever be blogging like I was during the John Roberts-Hurricane Katrina era. Too much time.

Which Centrist online group have you joined, Alan?

2:20 PM  
Blogger JBD said...

Congrats, Alan. What a long, strange trip it's been, eh? Keep up the great work!
- Jeremy

2:28 PM  
Blogger Paul Silver said...

Well said and Happy Anniversary. I value your committment to moderation and civility.
Perhaps one of the central hallmarks of the Centrist community is disagreeing without being disagreeable.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


That group would be the Centrist Coalition.

And thanks to all for the kind words.

2:38 PM  
Blogger M. Takhallus. said...

Hah. You call yourself a centrist? I think you're an America hating traitor and a tool of the Hillary-Santorum-Halliburton industrial war complex that wants to hand this country over to communist Mexicans. You know who had three names? William Jennings Bryan who crucified our Lord on a cross of gold as Jews, Blacks and Irishman danced a drunken jig, that's who. And you call yourself a centrist!

I thought maybe you missed the midges.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Charles Amico said...

Congrats on your first year anniversary and hope you are celebrating many more to come. While I don't always agree with you, I do read your opinions on the Yellow Line. Best regards.

6:28 PM  
Blogger amba said...

Happy blogiversary, O Pillar of the Centrist Blogosphere (you can be an Ionic or a Corinthian column, and I forget the third kind, take your choice). And especially, many more.

11:41 PM  

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