This is not an obituary.
Are you sitting comfortably ?
… then I'll begin. This post is not here to deliberately try and annoy anyone, it's just to get it off my chest and let you know what I'm thinking, in case you were interested. It's been a draft for a long time, but drafts have a destiny and this is fulfilment. A year ago I loved poker and I loved blogging about poker, if you've hung about you'd notice they've both pretty much dried up. A lot of stuff has happened in that year. I bought my own property, went on holiday, went out with an ex, split up with an ex, made some poor decisions about x, y and z and followed through on those decisions in indescribably ungentlemanly ways. There's been good times and bad times, often I've been an idiot. Occasionally I've been a genius !
Mostly the last few weeks I've been wondering why I haven't felt "connected" to poker, for such a long time. I haven't posted anything where I thought "That was a good one" in a year. The thing it boils down to for me is, how shall I put this, commercialisation and organisation. I loved playing poker before I had a blog because it was all me vs the enemy. Then I happened across Iggy's blog one day and started to read about other bloggers. Tao of Poker, April, and Al Can't Hang, are just a few of the first blogs I started checking daily to get my fix of blogger updates. Before long I was emotionally attached to stories about people I'd never met, like EastEnders or Corrie. Eventually I got my own blog, and many of these wonderful people linked to me, commented, even IM'd and chatted. Over time I read some British poker blogs and my list of readers and reedee's spread. As I type there are over 180 blogs in my google reader, and because of how they were discovered I love to read nearly all of them. Don't worry I am getting to a point here.
For me the brilliance about blogging is the freedom of it. I found a blog and I could tell I liked the person writing it. Because the writer is a good blogger she links out to other blogs, she expects nothing in return except hopefully regular updates. Maybe there'll be a link back if the feeling's mutual. By following link thru link thru link I found a network of like-minded people. It felt like I was a part of something, I'd found it, I was now contributing to it and I didn't care who was reading because the chances were they were like me. I was welcomed into a community with open arms.
Then someone had an idea. They could get a load of bloggers onto a forum, and make a couple of bucks from the site traffic. They could even get the uk blogs under one banner, so they were all in one place and easy to find. Fair enough. It was a good idea and well implemented but unfortunately for me, it broke something. Not only was I no longer part of something that was "mine" but our regular weekly game between friends became an open tourney with attendees who I didn't know and who didn't know me. So it didn't take long before there were arguments at tables and on blogs and I soon got detached from the scene as the comradery disappeared. None of these fracas involved me directly, but it did taint things.
There is a certain respect that exists between bloggers who find each other through friends. We fight on the same battlefield night after night against a common enemy and even though it's an every man for himself game, we still want to see our friends and friends of our friends do well. I loved poker because I was playing for myself, I loved blogging because I was blogging for myself, and I loved reading blogs because they were blogging for themselves, but they were speaking to me.
You don't need to comment and tell me how it wasn't meant to be like this. I know it wasn't, and believe me when I say "It's not you it me". Truthfully. This piece of the web is on life support at the moment. It needs love, attention and a little hard work. I just need to remind myself what made me love it in the first place, and go back to build on those solid foundations. This post has very likely turned into an very dramatic version of events, with far more gravitas than is necessary, so thanks for reading it and just "check yerself" before you start responding to it. This post is for me, and I just feel better getting it written down.
Hope to catch you on the IM, or at the felt if you're feeling lucky.
This is not an obituary, this is a blog reborn.