October 25, 2011

Considering a Return to My Blogging Roots

rem koolhaas dvd

Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect

I find myself at a moment of crisis, one whose details I'm mostly keeping to myself, but a crisis that I hope will become a productive turning point.  I could certainly use one of those!

Faced with my weariness at high volume industry blogging, something I pursued for a little over five years at a hip hop business blog I launched in 2005 called ProHipHop, I'm realizing I can't do that kind of thing right now.  I sold the site and a related web property last year.  That gave me some breathing room as I battled with this multipronged recession but it has not led to a new blogging business as I anticipated.

Instead, after exploring numerous possibilities including two that would make fine business blogs in areas that have not been glutted, I find myself incapable of turning on the machine and building such businesses.

Oddly enough, my recognition that I need to take a break from such attempts and return to blogging as a means of communication and self-expression is inspired not just by my difficulties digging in but by my viewing of a documentary about Rem Koolhaas, the Dutch architect, called Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect.

It reminded me of my love of big ideas and meaningful details brought together productively in real world projects.  But also of my love of thinking through concepts for the sheer joy of creative thought.

In a sense, that's where my blogging began, back in 2002 with a blog about hip hop, culture and politics called Hip Hop Logic.  The earliest version of that blog is lost and a later version became part of a web project called netweed that was intended to be a platform for alternative culture and was inspired by a number of influences that I discuss at that site.

Blogging at Hip Hop Logic and building a variety of resources at netweed, some that are no longer available, taught me a lot.  I went on to create other blogs about politics and alternative culture but eventually became best known in the world of blogging for ProHipHop: Hip Hop Business News.

Honestly, I thought of ProHipHop because I realized if I wanted to make money blogging, I should probably write about money.  It was the first dedicated hip hop business blog and allowed me to become surprisingly well known among "tastemakers" and "influencers" in the world of hip hop.

I left that world for many reasons, including the fact that I had to deal with a lot of negative attacks and mishandled my response in a manner that undermined the business I was trying to build.  But it was also undermining my love of certain forms of hip hop music and my desire to help other bloggers.

During the early years of ProHipHop, I boosted many unknown bloggers, some of whom went on to become quite well known.  And some of those were the ones who either attacked me viciously once they had the attention they were seeking or stabbed me in the back the way self-centered careerists are prone to do.  I'm past most of my negativity about those betrayals but they also keep me from returning to that world and made me happy to have a successful exit.

In any case, having learned quite a few lessons, my work there led to my current parttime position blogging about the music industry for Hypebot.  But it has not led me to a new phase of industry blogging as I anticipated.

In fact, I've decided to return to blogging about things that interest me because I need a platform to share those thoughts and to open up possibilities beyond processing huge amounts of daily news, jumping on breaking news and generally wearing myself out as have so many people in professional blogging.

But I still love blogging and still think it's a great way to build a business, build a brand or just build a platform to share one's thoughts.  And the latter looks like what I'm going to do.

Update to follow!