Friday, September 14, 2007
In a few clear, reflective, and ultimately painful paragraphs, Laura Axelrod looks back over her time as a blogger, paying particular attention to her time as a theatre blogger. As one of the earliest members of the theatrosphere, and as of a month ago one of those who has given up writing about the theatre, she offers some trenchant remarks about her experiences. The one that particularly lodged like a burr on a sweater was this: "I noticed how my very best entries got little response from [the theatre] community." I have noticed this as well. As someone who often checks my hit counter and tries to figure out what the readers seem to be responding to, the answer too often seems to be "dustups" -- my hit count soars the minute someone finds something I've written offensive. Nevertheless, posts that the recent ones Tom and I have been doing about theatre education have seen a consistent growth in readership. So I find it puzzling how few comments there have been both on my site and on Tom's. While I am frequently enjoined to provide thoughtful posts rather than jeremiads, the fact is that many members of the theatrosphere only seem to respond to the jeremiads. As a result, I am beginning to lose faith that blogging actually leads to dialogue. Increasingly, I see myself as providing "content," as if this were an academic journal and one never knew who was reading the material or what they thought about it. It is disappointing, because I feel that the exchange of ideas is what is most lacking in the theatre scene overall, especially for those who are not centered in NYC but rather scattered across the country and the world. My best and most responsive readers ar often Canadian, and I truly appreciate their interest and willingness to share. Perhaps the best way to encourage comments is to follow Isaac's model of short questions that open up a topic for discussions without the blogger initially taking a position himself or herself. This would be the Socratic approach to blogging. But blogging as, essentially, an exchange of letters seems to not be taking off. At the same time, I value the series Tom and I have been doing. We have begun a friendship that, I hope will continue once the final "publish post" button is hit. But it puzzles me why the theatrosphere is so different from the way theatre people interact in real life, which often is lively. I have no answers, and I include myself within the observations.
Posted by Scott Walters at 8:40 AM