Ryan over at Good Hodgkins has a great essay about the importance of blogs. He states his reasons concisely (complete with statistics!) and this gets me to thinking some more about blogs in general. Most notably, I think about why I have way more blogs on my blog list than any other websites. This leads me to think about why I blog in the first place and why I read blogs more than anything else.
I started this blog strictly out of necessity. At the time I started (October '04), almost every single website I read talked about the World Series and the upcoming presidential election. Not to say I wasn't interested in those matters, but I didn't care to read about this stuff everyday. I like reading about music and movies, but at the time, I didn't really know of any websites that talked about music and movies the way I liked to read about them. In college, I would read sites like Pitchfork, Punknews.org and Ain't it Cool News for music and movie news and reviews, I would always get annoyed whenever a cheapshot would be thrown. Be it a nasty review that seemed incredibly uncalled for or just a little catty comment tagged at the end of a news story, I disagreed with what I saw.
Roughly six months after I started writing and researching Post, I wanted to spread the word in some fashion. I was a regular reader of Are You Wearing a Wire? and decided to model my blog after that. After a few months of reposting links with commentary, I kept thinking about why I said the things that I would say in the comments. That, in a nutshell, is what inspired the blog to be what it is today.
In my time of blogging, I've found a whole treasure trove of blogs (most are listed on the right sidebar). I still read sites like Pitchfork, Punknews and Ain't it Cool, but they are just the beginning of my daily reading (as compared to when I was in college, where those were the beginnings and ends). Blogs are a really great asset to me as a reader, fan and writer of music and its culture, but I can understand the downsides too.
I still have the same gripes about music blogs, but I've learned more about them in the time that I've been blogging. I am someone that, when it comes to listening to music, I tend to go with something I already know rather than something I don't. For example, if I'm feeling in the mood for some Converge, I'll take a listen to You Fail Me or Jane Doe right away. This is much more timely than spending hours scouring search engines for bands that may or may not be of my liking. I don't mean to imply that I'm not open for bands to be introduced to me, but whenever I'm not in the mood for exploration, I go with what I know.
Finding music and listening to music are two completely different animals. I don't explore as much as other people I know, but that's the way I go about my ways. If a song like "Kentucky Ave." by Tom Waits moves me every time I hear it, then I want to listen to it on a regular basis, but not to the point of overkill. I'm not a huge fan of trial and error (especially when it comes to stuff that eats up hard drive space) and I can be rather impatient. I try to not pass judgment on something on my first listening pass, but I'm guilty as everyone else. Some bands wow me and some don't. Sometimes they get more chances, but sometimes they don't.
Blogs are crucial to me because of this: it is the sharing of what we like and dislike in an open environment. The world of blogging has enabled me to post what I think without people cutting me off mid-sentence. Nobody is sitting in the back of my room laughing at what I'm saying. There is no middleman telling me, "Nobody cares about this!" Nobody is telling me that what I write about isn't for a target demographic. The fact there is nobody else blogging on this blog makes this a lone endeavor, but I'm not alone in speaking my mind. Yes, the number of blogs out there is staggering, but I find comfort in knowing that I'm not talking to a wall here.