This service is no longer live. Which is a shame because I really wanted to see a few year on year comparisons of active users on the site. I think it would be funny..
At some point, this place got weird. I fondly remember a time fourteen years ago when I knew every single UK-based person on this site, if only casually. It helped that there were only 10,000 worldwide users, and UK users were a fairly small proportion, active ones even less so. There was a directory page where you could order all UK users of the site by last update date, and it was reasonably easy to keep up with all of them. Half were my friends on here anyway.
Which, given the age in which we lived, probably means I knew every person in the UK who was into social networking on the web. Hard to imagine saying that now.. Even on LiveJournal alone, there are about 1,000 people who have updated their journals in the last day from the UK, which is an unmanageable number, and that must be well down from the peaks of old.
These days, it looks like most LJ content is some form of slashfic, which may well have been the case for a good decade for all I know, as with all social networks the emphasis is on network rather than social, in that one is generally insulated from anything not immediately relevant to one's own interests.. Feels strange to even be typing something into this box, for about the fourth time in 18 months..
I don't use this thing because it never occurs to me to sit down and write about myself any more. Often I'll be out and I'll see something and still have some vestige of that impulse to write something down about it, but by the time I'm in front of the relevant input device (still can't bring myself to write anything longer than an SMS on a phone) I have absolutely no motivation to do it. How I'm writing this is a mystery really..
Sometimes I wonder if therapy (correctly) taught me to stop treating my own life as a piece of performance art, to pimp out and try to get reviewed, which is a worthwhile transition if you can manage it in the right way. But it sometimes feels like I've always been a boring person who managed, for a brief period, to translate that into the illusion of being interesting. I've probably acquired plenty of friends over the years who imagine me to be in some way fun, and sometimes I can switch that on. But fundamentally, it's not me, never was, probably never will be. It's not that I don't have fun, you understand, it's that I find it completely impossible to translate my own sense of fun, amusement, excitement, engagement, etc., into something that has any sort of contagious or relatable qualities..
There might have been a time when I used to write here about what I was doing at work, for example. It was probably never interesting, but I put the time and effort into at least trying to make it interesting. I'd translate "things that happened" into "stories", and in doing so at least provide some sort of narrative that was more engaging than a bulleted list of disparate events.
But of late (and by that I mean for several years now) it feels like that sort of thing was only ever really a means of trying to attract attention to feed my own ego, not motivated by a desire to share what's going on in my life but by the need for other people to pay attention to it. My sense of self worth is much more sustainable now and I don't need that external validation, so the motivation to dress up the mundane into a story has left me, and all I'm left with is bullet points, a "what I did on my summer holidays" list of things that nobody really cares about (and nor should they).
I'm no longer under any illusions as to whether I have something novel or exciting to contribute, which sounds awfully self-pitying, but in reality it's just a fair self-assessment. Nobody needs to hear about how my day at work went. The interesting parts involve people that "the Internet" doesn't know, the bits that I feel most passionately about relate to a subject area that nobody but me takes an interest in, and there's only so long that the remainder (generally details about my commute, things I thought of during the day, that funny thing that happened) can sustain some sort of "blog"...
Of course there are times when it makes me sad to think that I've documented with reasonable detail the end of my teens and start of my twenties, and have no equivalent record for my later life. I had hoped to keep this thing as an enduring record of my life, when as it turns out it sort of tails off towards the late twenties. If anything these last few years have been the ones that have been the least embarrassing, whilst still containing a healthy set of milestones (getting married, buying a house, selling a house, buying another house, getting a dog).. These are things I ought to have written about, but the habit of not mentally rewriting one's experiences into blog-able narratives is a tough one to get out of..
This isn't going anywhere, there's nowhere for it to go.. Of course one can never say never about these sorts of things, it's entirely possible that the urge to share stories about life will return at some point, perhaps like Christmas it's the sort of thing that finds new life if/when children come along.. But in the meantime, I expect to find that the occasions when I feel like I have something worth musing on, and the occasions where I'm in the right frame of mind to write about it, and the occasions where I'm actually sitting in front of a computer with time to write, will rarely intersect.