Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Nerve Center of Atticus Sawatzki's Blog

To write a quick blogpost these days is not typical of me, but I do not want anyone to fear my disappearance from the written world of the internet. I am slightly busy with what we call "Sea Projects", due in a month, and representative of two trimesters of correspondence work at the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). But I have the time to knock out a post. Just have to pull up Blogger and start typing.

 Perusing the instantaneous source of knowledge and brain-numbingness that is the internet, I have come across many dead blogs. Ones with insightful posts, and a sudden end; others, a quick decline, as if a feeling of guilt overcomes the negligent blogger before he or she give up his or her virtual ghost. Others, oh, they have such a great beginning, but only two posts were written before abandonment. And mine should not be one of them, though I seem to spend an awful lot of time between posts these days. So what am I doing today? An impromptu speech; a thank-you to my dedicated readers; and to the spike in readership that occurs when I choose a "hot" keyword for my post. (The most recent spike was written in reaction to my surprise at the "Excessive Profits Board" that President FDR had proposed).

At one time, my blog had founding principles: 1. To shake up the concept of the "news room"- aka citizen reporting 2. Provide a hyper-local news source for my close-knit middle school (St. Thomas Choirschool, NY) and high school (St. Anselm's Abbey School, DC) This was back in 2007, when Facebook had just opened to high school students- and, as high school freshmen, it felt like going to a party without a chaperone. People wanted to read about each other, and they turned to this blog to hear of the day's communal happenings. We also have to remember that smartphones were a novelty at the time, and it was easier to check into my blog (through RSS feed, or by clicking on "Favorites") than it was to enter Facebook, which required a username and password. Communications evolves at a steady pace, and, by Senior year, "everyone" had a smartphone with a Facebook app- and this allowed for 'spontaneous combustion'. In 2007, your status was: "Atticus Sawatzki is (fill in the blank)". In 2011, my graduation year, your status post could consist of that day's personal news. (Ditto with Twitter). Again, people want to read about each other; and Facebook was the medium where you could read about all your friends- daily, including Sundays; a media euphony. The last holdouts gave in and got a Facebook account, giving our class 100% attendance on the internet site. (The number of active users in my high school class has declined some since then).

 So now, my blog had earned the charm of print media. Near-daily posts, loved in 2008, were no longer necessary, since you could read 'all about it' on Facebook. So you could say Mr. Zuckerberg killed that aspect of this blog. So the natural inclination was to write longer and more thoughtful pieces- at a less frequent pace. 2011 was my plebe year at USMMA, and I had learned the message of "don't stick out". So only a few classmates knew about my blog- and YouTube channel. But in fact, there had been two plebe bloggers before me: one in the Class of 2013; she wrote thoughtfully of the emotional context of plebe life and a classmate, Jeff, who entertained the young men of the Academy. Both had the support of a sport's team: Softball and Lacrosse, respectively, and were therefore buffered from peculiar attention. Now the Class of 2014, through a friend, found access to my Youtube channel, which I had set on "Private" mode to avoid the publicity. So then I had to relearn the "Don't Copy my Bloggy" rap to satiate the sophomores. Then they went out to sea, and that was the last of it.

 Essentially, during those four years of high school, I had satisfied the founding principles. But it was also a greater force than my blog-- Facebook- which took the baton, and let me re-purpose this treasured piece of internet real estate called Atticus Sawatzki's Blog. For those of you waiting for my Blog Book- the print edition- I'm working on edits. I'll admit here that I'm a little shy about the cynical tone that resonates through some of those early posts.