If you are following Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes, which is posted every Saturday morning, you may have noticed a subsection under the Writing section entitled, The Lisa Chronicles. These are entries that had been offline for years for whatever reason and I was finally incorporating into the grand scheme of EPbaB. This weeks CCC will have over 50 entries of old-new content that has gone up. I felt like it was time to explain why.
This is the project I’ve talked about for a very long time, dating back to at least 2006 or so when TheEx and I had gotten together. With him, suddenly, I didn’t feel the need to write so much anymore. Without him, I had a whole lot to stay and I’m still trying to play catch up.
The whole process is basically a jumble of the following:
- Incorporate entries from LiveJournal
- Started the import process and it turned into a huge colossal mistake. The import was not cohesive and skipped many months (and years). Will have to import by month or few months, slowly at a time.
- No decision made on what to do with my LiveJournal account, if any, once this is completed.
- Import old entries from previous website databases
- Done for the ones that could be imported. Currently doing a lot of hand entry work for ones that could not be imported.
- Import from old hand coded entries that were neither in LiveJournal or database driven.
- Usual admin work: Make sure tags, categories match. Update links, if possible. Replace images, if possible. Spell check, if possible. Things that are obviously missing or broken, like likes, images, and URLs I have fixed. But the rest I have left alone: grammar errors, stylistic choices, all left just as the creator intended.
Getting this project off the ground feels good and to see the content fleshing itself out as the years start to fatten up in the archives is thrilling.
The archives are stored on my main hard drive and backed up to two different cloud services. Since this is all text, despite the sheer amount of files, the weight is tiny. Plus the bonus is I can do this work from anywhere.
This weekend I found a gorgeous plugin that allows me to have true, easy to use and navigate archives page. Better than any widget that collapses or piecemeal summary on the archives page (whether by category, tag, or month), it’s brilliant. Clicking on by month still gives you the monthly entries on a single page in all of their glory, but at least with the landing archives page, it is much more inviting now to read the past. And it’s easier, for me, to see what months and years are not quite filled out.
Also, a discovery! While entries exist back to 1995, it was on July 16, 1998 I decided to buy a domain and turn this into a THING. So now I have an anniversary, of sorts, and it feels incredibly intimate to have shared my life online for 16 years.
In the past, the arguments I’ve made for this project, this getting all of the content together in a reasonable archive (even if I wasn’t working on it at the time) was for curation, preservation, and historical access. I now I’m going to add postmodern literacy to the mix.
For the last couple of years, at least, I’ve noticed the tipping point of the web becoming heavily in favor of multimedia over written content. Twitter has 140 characters. Instagram is about pictures. SnapChat and Vine are about videos. Tumblr and Facebook is about all of those things as long as it is done in a microformat. These are social networks and their brevity is accepted and expected.
On the flip side, in terms of written content supposedly not attached to flash whiz bang, massively popular websites like BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog, Jezebel, and their ilk who should be writing engaging articles or pieces anymore, are not. No, it IS about an image, a GIF, a video, or the hated listicle like “9 Things To Torture Your Cat With While Standing Naked On A Balancing A Ball.” These sites are typically peppered with ads in the article, before and after the article, in the header and the footer. All of these articles come with bylines, the text is usually under a 100 words – and that’s a long article in their world. The longform content has now become quickie.
The question to me is: are these really articles? Sure, not all pieces should be Joycean in nature, but at the same time, do they all need to have the brevity and abstraction of cummings? If it contains image macros, preferably of a cute animal, a witty tagline, and a line or two, it is an article and why is that enough?
Best of all: someone got paid to do that work and put their byline on that piece.
MTV Geek has a call out for an editor for their blog requesting, Build and edit approximately 15 blog posts per day of no less than 300 words each. That’s 4,500 words. A day. And their ad requirements are a glimpse into what we get when we read our RSS feeds: dozens of articles a day from various sites around the web that are almost all brainless and thoughtless. Why post 12 articles on upcoming movies when you could have ONE article on upcoming movies. Because then you wouldn’t get the clickbait. Clickbait is what brings in the money, honey.
Not all sites treat content as a commodity to be brokered. Longform, McSweeney’s, PaidContent, and to some extent Salon are several notches ahead of the aforementioned link bait sites, but even they have their own problems. And don’t get me started on Huffington Post and how I do wonder, everyday, we’ve decided that site was fine and acceptable for news retrieval.
My point, as I wander around about shaking angry fists at everything, is that the days of writing on the web, for the sake of writing, seem to be disappearing quickly. A look through WordPress’ themes directory is filled with responsive, light, minimal themes. But only if you do video or photos. Dig around looking for a theme to showcase written word and you’re hard pressed to find anything worth using. Or you could hack apart a theme, as I often do, and make it bend to your will but that isn’t the point.
So I decided I’m going to have a quiet little revolution. In addition to rejecting the type of so-called journalism listed above, I will continue to write about my fancy, fill in my archives when I can, and present a pleasing text choked content filled site. I may not get the hits, or the money, or the fame from what I’m doing but when the rest of the world remembers only cat videos and fake Twitter accounts, this will be an always on reminder of the time we text used to exist.
Lisa (Day #25)
This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2003