I’ve been finding myself in a weird space with regard to blogging recently. My posts have become more and more infrequent over time, and while part of that is that I’m easily distracted and frequently lose track of my ideas before I have a chance to put fingers to keys, it’s also because my relationship with social media has been undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts.
I live on the internet, to an extent that’s probably somewhat unhealthy. I’ve become uncomfortably aware that I’m rarely parted from my phone; despite headaches that get worse while looking at a screen, I don’t seem capable of going more than an hour or so without staring at one. It’s inevitable that I’d look online for social interaction, having moved home to an area where I have few friends, none of whom are particularly keen to talk about medieval literature for hours on end, but I still feel I need to start rationing the amount of time I spend online.
My internet activities have changed, though. I’ve found myself leaning strongly into the medievalist aspect of my identity. I didn’t talk a huge amount about that stuff in a recreational context while I was at uni — I guess because it seemed too much like work. Now that I’ve graduated, though, I don’t seem able to shut up about it.
Like, I have a YouTube series where I talk about medieval literature. Mostly, I do retellings of various stories, but recently I did a Q&A video based on questions people sent in via Tumblr and Discord, which was so fun I want to do it again in future.
I thought I’d left YouTube long behind me, if I’m honest with you — but now that I have something to talk about, I’m really enjoying making videos. I enjoy watching my own videos back, too. I think I might possible be quite good at this, now that I’ve found my niche, and I want to keep digging at it to see what this potential could turn into.
I also talk a lot about medieval lit on Tumblr, although this can backfire — turns out medievalists are not the only ones using the #tuatha de danann tag, nor even the main group, and it’s very easy to step on the toes of polytheists if you’re not careful about what you say. Oops. While I was at uni, I didn’t post a huge amount on my Tumblr, periodically popping in to share pictures of answer questions, but I’m substantially more active now.
Although many of my posts are brief jokes and bullet points, often with several replies to myself as I think of more things to add on, sometimes I find myself posting substantial text posts. And every time I do that, I find myself thinking, This is a blog post. I should just post this on my blog.
For a while, I thought it was because my Tumblr posts tended to be more spontaneous. Posts on this blog usually live in my head for a while before they ever go on the page, which means I’m less likely to change my mind two days later and post something else contradicting what I just said. But I think it’s also to do with how I’ve come to think of this blog.
Although my Tumblr is publicly linked to me and easy to find (it’s literally just called ‘Finn Longman’), it doesn’t feel Official in the way that this site does. This is my site. It has a .com domain name. It’s the first thing people find when they’re looking for me. To a stranger, it probably gives the impression that I roughly know what I’m talking about.
Sure, so those who’ve been reading for a while know that I’m a 23-year-old with a BA and a lot of opinions on medieval lit, but it would be easy to give a misleading impression. I’ve seen enough Wikipedia articles and poorly-sourced webpages that cite somebody’s random blog post from 2008 when discussing medieval lit, to feel like anything I say here has the potential to be taken as some Official, Academic Response, as long as it’s packaged professionally enough.
Tumblr isn’t like that. It’s social media, just like YouTube is: a place where it’s clear that what I’m saying is my opinion. Do people believe bloggers and YouTubers about stuff? Absolutely, but it’s harder to get away with citing a vlog made by a baby-faced nerd than a website that could belong to anyone for all you know, isn’t it?
It’s almost like I’m afraid to admit to my ideas. Like I don’t want anyone to take them seriously, so I only share them in places where that doesn’t feel like a danger.
I think the issue is that this has stopped being something I think of as “just a blog”, and something that feels more like “my website”. The difference between the two is subtle, but it makes me afraid to put things out there that aren’t 100% polished and certain. Which means, inevitably, that all I end up posting are bits of news and soul-baring personal posts. Because hey, at least when it comes to the inside of my own head I know I’m the world expert.
It’s also probably because I haven’t ruled out the possibility of one day pursuing further study in the field of medieval Irish literature, and I’ve got some nebulous, half-formed fear for my academic reputation, so I put my opinions where they’re less likely to be found by a cursory Google search.
I guess it would be easier to blog if I talked about anything other than medieval lit, but the reason that’s become 90% of my internet identity is because I really don’t know what else I’d talk about. I don’t particularly like to discuss my political opinions (right now they are Make It Stop Before We All Die Please, a useful catch-all for all the madness of the world at the moment), and I don’t have much else going on in my life.
The one thing that makes me different from the majority of other 20-somethings on the internet is that I know a lot about medieval Irish stories, so if I’m not talking about that, what else have I got to contribute? I don’t watch much TV and rarely have enough opinions on pop culture these days to talk about that kind of thing. I guess I could talk more about Irish dance, but I’ve never been entirely convinced that anybody much cares about that, and how much is there to say, really?
There are books, of course, there are always books. I have a separate book blog, but I’ve been considering whether maybe it’s time to merge the two and just talk about books here — it’s not like I ever update that blog, so maybe it would be a way to keep both platforms active. That blog’s primarily been reviews until now, though; do I want to keep doing that, or just talk more generally about bookish topics? I don’t even knowwwwww.
So that’s where I’m at with blogging, and I’m not sure what path I should take. Is it about admitting I will never be a regular blogger and just using this as a website where I post occasional musings? Is it about learning to admit to my thoughts and theories and research? What about having the courage to be unapologetically political? I doubt the latter will ever happen in a form that’s suited to blogging…
And, truth be told, part of me suspects it’s not worth it, that blogging is a dying art and I’d be better off putting my energy into other forms of social media. So. Yeah.
I just… don’t know anymore. I’d be interested to know what you guys think — my handful of regular readers, and the irregulars who pop in now and again. I’d like to know why you’re still here, and what it is you look for in a blog — and, if you’ve an opinion on the matter, what you’d like to see from me in the future.
I’d also love to hear from other bloggers, especially those who are active on other social media platforms. How do you maintain a blog alongside everything else, without too much overlap of content — or do you just overlap with impunity? Has your blog content changed substantially since you started posting?
Let me know in the comments, because I could really use some other perspectives here.