Not Like Other Blogs

While I was perusing weblogs and journals via BlogExplosion on Thursday, I came to realization that my vision for the SoapBox was inherently flawed. The trouble with starting any sort of group blog is that anyone who wants a place to speak their mind online already has one. Or, if they don’t have one, they can get one in a second. Unless you have a clearly defined vision for a niche you’d like to fill, trying to start a new group blog is simply destined to be a doomed endeavor.

With that in mind, I watched, with great interest, the building buzz for a weblog I helped to build for work that launched yesterday. People came flying out of the woodwork to comment on the first post. There were trackbacks and referrals galore, from places like Metafilter, Crooked Timber, and Maud Newton. It was amazing. Someone else came up with the vision—I only helped to build the backend of the thing—but I felt validated all the same.

But what I came to realize about my own site, what I’ve realized several times already over the course of its history, was something I should make a big poster of and hang above my desk to remind myself not to make the same mistake again: My journal is not a typical blog and it should stop trying to be.

My journal, however poorly written, however poorly conceived, has always been primarily dedicated to the documentation of a single human life and the lives surrounding that single life on the periphery. It’s narcissitic, often shallow, but it works best when it simply acknowledges what it is.

Will I abandon the SoapBox? No, I probably won’t. I like the idea of having some place to post my thoughts on things totally unrelated to my life. But I might move it off of the front page, maybe into a sidebar. And I might take away the ability of others to post to it, since nobody has done so in months.

Of course, I don’t really have time for any of this right now. So, for the foreseeable future, the site will stay the same. I have a novel to work on, a 45 minute lecture to prepare, and, as I’ve been going on about far too much, a baby to make. So, this is just a realization I wanted to share with the few of you who have been goodly enough to stay on as readers.

That’s it, for now.