Monday, April 17, 2017

State of the Blog, 2017

Hello out there.

Something interesting happened to this blog last October that I've avoided talking about until now. After several years of operating in quiet obscurity, I was separately linked to by both a New York Times article and director Whit Stillman within the same ten days. The Times article was a profile of writer Max Landis, that linked to "Must We Hate Max Landis?" as an example of the online vitriol that Landis had inspired. Stillman linked to my review of his most recent film "Love and Friendship." I only knew about either because I noticed that the traffic to my blog went way up for a few days, and a couple of extra adbots attached themselves to my feed.

And frankly, I didn't know how to react to this. My first thought, upon learning about the Times article, was hoping that Landis's fans didn't come after me. My post wasn't all that critical, and I'm barely active on social media, but I've been watching some awful things unfold online over the past few months over similarly benign media criticism and want no part of it. While I've always enjoyed following the critical conversations that go on around films and television, it comes with some risks. I'm perfectly happy these days being a hobby blogger cheering on one side or another from the sidelines, and having my arguments with other movie nerds on the smaller forums and sites. Being in the spotlight just seems to be asking for trouble.

When I started out in 2010, I had some hopes of following the lead of Mendelson's Memos and eventually parlaying my writing into something more high profile. However, I have a good career in real life that I'm very happy with, and far more personal responsibilities these days. Even if I had the opportunity to pursue a professional writing career, frankly the economics would be prohibitive. Unless you're top tier, writing about media pays next to nothing. You have to juggle multiple assignments and constantly be scrounging for extra funds through other avenues. Practically every podcast I'm listening to these days has Patreon or Kickstarter campaigns, or both. To put it bluntly, I am too old and too set in my ways for that. I simply don't want it enough.

Well, then why am I still posting to a public blog? To tell the truth, there's no need for the blog to be public since I'm mainly writing for myself. However, I've gotten in the habit of it, and I do enjoy Googling myself and seeing where people have linked me for one reason or another, looking at what made an impact and what didn't. Comments are few and far between, but still nice to get. If the blog being public ever does become a problem, however, I'd probably keep writing it privately regardless. I enjoy putting this blog together an awful lot, and it makes for a fun hobby. I have the sneaking suspicion that if I had to write the blog as a real job, I'd lose my enjoyment of it quickly.

So, for the time being I'm just going to keep chugging along as I have been, writing all my reviews three months late and writing my angry old nerd lady rants about whatever is annoying me about Hollywood at the moment. But seriously, uncoupling myself from usual hype cycles has been working out very well for me, and I've never felt better about avoiding popular dreck and staying focused on the media that I really want to talk about. Heck, even the last Oscar cycle was more fun because I wasn't rushing around trying to watch absolutely everything before the ceremony, like I usually do.

Finally, I'll also add a little note to say that this blog will be having another hiatus later this year, probably in the fall. I'll do my best to at least post something every week or so, but the rate of posts is definitely going to be dipping pretty low for a few months. As much as I love blogging, the real world takes precedence, and the name "Missmediajunkie" hasn't been an accurate description of your humble writer for some time now.


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