Last night, a small group of the editors of Blogcritics huddled around their respective monitors waiting for SiteMeter to tell them that the ten-millionth visitor to the site had arrived. Fleeting though it was, it was a pretty nifty moment in time. Blogcritics publisher Eric Olsen commemorated the occasion here.
Blogcritics encapsulates much of what is wondrous about living in the digital universe. This virtual community, which is comprised of over 1000 independent writers living all over the world, offers continual commentary on pretty much everything that's going on around us, whether it be politics, media, tech news, or the arts. My own involvement came quite some time ago as I started visiting the site on an occasional, and then daily, and then hourly basis. The writing was good, I could always find something of interest to read, and the open-ended comments forum made for some lively and entertaining discussion. Since writers and commenters come from all over the world and post and visit round the clock, it was nearly impossible to find the site in stasis.
I've been writing since I was a kid, but with the exception of having to share my work in school, I've always been reluctant to let people read my stuff. I thought blogging would be the perfect antidote to that - it's a compelling mixture of exposure and anonymity, depending on how you go about it - so I set up this blog and began to post a few things to Blogcritics. I find writing to be a painfully time-consuming occupation - I edit and re-write and edit some more, endlessly - but I was hoping that being a member of some larger group would encourage me to be more productive. At some point during the early fall of 2004, I volunteered to do some behind-the-scenes work for the site, and a couple of months ago I became an editor. I still don't write nearly as much as I would like to, but neither do I feel as though I'm going to give it up, and for now, that's enough.
When one stops to consider the logistics of this place - a huge bunch of writers, a small group of editors, and a nearly endless stream of readers and commenters who participate and make the site buzz with relevancy - its success is mind-boggling. As technology continues to make the physical barriers that separate us irrelevant, we can all continue to hope that the ideological and cultural barriers that separate us become increasingly permeable as well. I think that's a pretty good reason for keeping on.