LINKS TO THE PORT MANTEAU OF HORROR

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

IS BLOG DEAD!?

I'm sure anyone who writes a blog or contributes in some way to a site gets an uneasy feeling in the middle of the night that somehow startles himself from a sound sleep. Is blog dead? Is this thing on? Is there anybody out there? While there are a few different ways to answer this question, as many ways as there are subjective opinions, I'm going to say it is not. I'm going to say that blog is alive, doing quite well and in a state of constant flux; this flux of course is the main reason so many of us feel like readerless word dump trucks, and most likely is the cause for the question of the mortality of the written word as displayed on this here internet machine. A friend and reader asked me tonight whether I thought blog was dead, and I said no, and then I told him I would blog about it.

There's a technical answer I'm sure. Number of page hits. Number of "uniques". Number of PR companies who find your site worthy of devoting review copies of their product. Number of comments left, Facebook page likes, Twitter followers. All these metrics and quantitative measurable stats serve nicely to reinforce our delicate egos or at least let us know if someone even viewed a single word on the goddamn page. I think there's a more personal answer to be had here, so let me throw my hat into this ring.

1. The better question might be are the major horror news media sites dead?

Ever since I've been reading horror news on the web, sites have been letting me down. It may take a week. It may take longer. Whether it's an overabundance of rumor based "news reporting", Nancy Drew mystery expose pieces, lists meant to tackle obscure subjects that focus only on major horror releases in an attempt at providing the most accessibility or simply filling pages with content that is unrelated to the genre or is a loose attempt at baiting an audience for likes or page views, the majors will always show there true colors. They'll report a lie, knowing it's a lie only to retract it after the internet drove their clicks through the roof. They'll appeal to the absolute worst in us. That part of us that can't help but read the headlines on the cover of the tabloids and somehow believe a part of it. There's enough content in press releases to republish without offering back story or perspective and fill these sits with enough content to keep the advertising revenue coming in. It's so easy to report the same old shit. The same news everyone else is reporting without thought given to context or consequence. This is bad for horror and secures the best reason to for the existence of the blog and why it is a fundamental necessity. It's why the personal blog or even the semi-pro blog or even the pro-blogger with pads and helmet won't be turned off any time soon. There has to be an alternative. When the major horror sites have filled Hell with articles of the lowest caliber, the blogs will inherent the Earth.

2. Blogs don't necessarily require a whole lot of money to create and maintain.

If you don't have to depend on corporate sponsors to pay for your site's upkeep then you can truly keep an open mind and provide a unique, uncensored perspective filled with unpopular opinions and genuine love. That's a great feeling. To be free of constraints. The sites that I include on our main page and friends section for instance are by choice. These are companies I love who put out a good product who I like to support. The blogs and sites included on that list typically provide me with valuable info, great reviews or original, creative content worth enjoying. Even the News tab that I have is simply used as a valuable service to people looking to see all the headlines at the same time. Think of it as an aggregation of what the biggies are saying and usually it's like a bad game of telephone. Sometimes it's good, sometimes... see number 1. It's a service I like to have for horror people. No one pays me to review a movie. No one dictates my content. When I get movies to review from companies, you'll get exactly what I think of it. What's the worst thing that happens? I devout more time to watching old favorites over new movies that are untested after a company gets pissed that I reviewed their movie negatively? Sure, I like to advertise the site and shell out some of my own money during big weeks like Italian Horror week so that I can promote the writers and companies that sponsor a giveaway or two, but that's because everyone works so hard and they deserve to be read. It's all out of my pocket. Even in the event that this site every put ads up it would be to reinvest in a giveaway or a promo item...something that would be valuable to the reader and offer me a chance to be creative. It's all at the writers discretion.

3. We choose the content. There is no man behind the curtain. No Big Brother. No Tick Tock Man.

Bloggers can post what they want, when they want it. No sponsors means no one to answer to except for ourselves as writers and the readers we care about. On DOCTERROR.COM I like to write positive reviews. I like to find things in movies that everyone can identify with or promote the good. If you see me attacking a movie it's because a marketing company, filmmaker or studio is doing a disservice to the fans of the genre. Sure, that's subjective, but bloggers are free to write about just the opposite. Not all blogs are sponsor free, but let's hope they choose the sponsors that will help them create the vision of horror they would like to see in the world. I can post at midnight. I can post at whenever. No one makes me punch their clock. The worst thing that might happen would be a PR rep who needs our review up at a specific time/date. Easy to accommodate, and typically we want to do that anyway to support their release.

4. Blogs are like talking to friends around the world when we're asleep or when we don't have voices to speak.

If there's one thing the internet has taught me it's that there's a whole lot of us out there, and the right people to form our own personal Losers Club aren't always the people around the block, in the office or even the people we chose to connect with on social networks. Sometimes it takes a venue, like a personal blog to connect with the greatest of compadres and collaborators. Like a dating site for horror nerds. Like a classified for contact.  Sure you can always pick and chose who to friend request or follow, but the written word in an open space seems to be like the bat signal for like-minded individuals.  Blogging has lead me to many friends; I hope to meet them in person someday. Some of them I may not even know exist; readers who never interact, but we share a bond.

5. The Forum is moderated. The social network has an algorithm. There is a box to contain it all. How do you escape?

While there's plenty of censors in the great big wide world, we have ways to get our words out there. Now I realize that most blogging sites have the ability to edit content in some fashion or another, but my personal experience has been a positive one. I say fuck. I post the occasional boob. The blood flows. The gore is good. The blog is the home for free rant and expression and I can do it in as many characters as I want. This is a place that has virtually limitless potential. Blogs allow for that kind of flexibility and adaptability, faceless if desired and complete. Your horror news site cannot necessarily hope for that. Too many dollar signs (and that's their business so it makes sense and is actually perfectly okay).  Horror sites may be more forgiving then others, but at the end of the day if you lose the big sponsor as a writer, you best hope you have the right people in your corner when the pink slips are under the pen.

Blog isn't dead because it can change, is ever changing and creates its own space. The flexibility and malleability can often times be confused for decline, but truly it's just evolution. Some time ago I decided I wanted to start creating more of a site that had content outside of the journal feel that Dr. Terror's Blog of Horrors seemed to have. So I renamed this thing, and lo and behold is started to feel like I was developing a part of me I never knew existed. It's still the same basic premise, right? Horror and genre related content with me talking like I'm twelve years old and looking for boobs behind every frame. I can change it back if I want to. It can be anything. "Everybody can change" - Rocky.

Hell, even social networks feel like extensions of the concept of an online journal or blog. Pouring life and limb into the internet with a long status update might as well be blogging-lite. This medium allows for free expression of ideas and thought that allows for contact with others even in antisocial environment. It conveys the unpopular, the writing on the virtual bathroom stall.

I'll close this fucker out now with my friend Happy Harry Hardon. Probably one of the reasons I wanted to start writing in the first place. Before I started podcasting I always wanted to do radio, but couldn't bring the confidence to the table to do it. This is my pirate radio station (called a blog), and I might as well be playing the Pixies and Leonard Cohen songs.


Steal the Blog. Keep the Blog Alive. Blog Hard. 
Blog the Planet!

-Doc Terror

6 comments:

  1. Outstanding piece, Doc!

    You absolutely nailed it on the head. When I first started in the blogging game back in 2010, I created The Wizard of Vestron Blog and it was cool....a little of this, a little of that....but it was lacking something. Then, much like you, I decided to try and make it more...and so Midnight Cinephile was born. Still ever evolving, still transmogrifying into some nightmare butterfly that I call my own.

    The blog is alive and well and I'm glad to be part of this big weird circus!

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  2. I agree, this thought goes through my head time and again as I observe my stats fluctuate, my Facebook page go dormant, or notice the lack of comments. But then I think about what I'm doing, how I love to do it, and how it would feel if I just stopped, and then I realize it would be like going cold turkey with cigarettes. I can't stop, and I won't even when shit gets difficult.

    Blogging can be quite bipolar and frustrating, but at the end of the day it's important to love what you're doing and not dwell on the frustrations but the accomplishments and people you've met because of it, and I think you've hit on that with this post.

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  3. Massive congrats, this post is awesome. I often think about the state of blogging. Is it relevant? Is it of any importance? Is it just a waste of time? In the end, I always come back and do some writing because I enjoy doing it. Sure, popularity is awesome and I love watching my pageviews, but even if no-one would read my blog anymore, I'd still do some blogging because I love what I'm doing

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  4. Ryne, I'm right there with you. My stats may be steadily climbing, yet save for one or two people, my comment section is largely dead. My Facebook page isn't exactly a hotbed of social interaction either. I've been trying to grow Midnight Cinephile into a brand, but most days it feels like an uphill climb that absolutely no one notices or cares about. I can't stop though. Like you said, it would be like quitting smoking cold turkey.

    Some of us are born to do what we love. Damn right it's hard and frustrating.....and it just goes to show that those of us who truly believe in what we are doing will stick with it. We're a community and a family and damnit I'm proud to be a part of it! Okay sappy speech over.

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  5. Stat watching is totally fun. I always wonder why people read certain things over others. I never understand why people read the articles they read on this thing. They NEVER read the ones that take weeks of research. Ever. I still love to write them, but I've been enjoying reviewing lately. I'm sure that phase will come to an end at some point, but right now we have so many cool things to experience. Blu-ray is evolving and titles are becoming available for the first time in years. I feel like we're cataloging it all. This is the experience of being a horror fan now.

    Through blogging I learned that I love doing graphic design and photoshop mods. I love to write fake movies and write them up and create scores for them and posters and plots. I love to run Italian Horror Week. I love to create 3D iages of 2D images that are gory or have great tits.

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  6. Stat watching IS fun! As a matter of fact I check my stats first thing when I wake up and it's the last thing I check before I go to sleep. Funny you mention that you can't understand why people read what they read. One of my all time top posts is a review of a REALLY low budget flick called Mummy Maniac. Why is everyone reading that one? I wrote up this big impressive dissertation of the history of Halloween. It got some hits. Mummy Maniac? In the thousands. I also enjoy keeping track of what countries are reading my stuff! Man, again, you've hit it on the head: We are cataloging everything....and it's something that I think is pretty important. There are so many films that are on the verge of becoming nothing more than a memory. So many waiting to be discovered.

    I've learned that I'm absolute crap with graphic design (my cookie cutter, cut & paste website design speaks for itself!) but that's okay. Though I do wish I had the chops to make awesome fake posters and such. 2014 is the year that I've set to start expanding out Midnight Cinephile into a brand.....we'll see what happens. I've got some cool stuff in the pipelines!

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