The Society of Elderly Bloggers
I read a review of The Runaways that said that everyone who sees it will leave the theater feeling like a lecherous old man regardless of age or gender. And it’s really true. Everyone left the theater blushing and giggling nervously.
Wait…what was I saying?
Joan Jett is my hero because she made it happen, and by “it,” I mean she kicked doors down for her music career. She made her entire career happen whether it was not hearing the societal “no” at the idea of an all-girls’ rock band or not hearing 23 recording studios saying “no” to her solo career and releasing the album under her own, newly-formed label. She is the equivalent of the self-publishing fairytale–a woman who believed in herself and believed that people would embrace her art if given a chance to meet up with it and was right.
But what she had the entire time was age on her side. If Joan had been in her forties when she met up with Kim Fowley, would he have given her the time of day?
For example, if you saw that a newly-formed group of fifty-year-old women were going to be playing a rock concert in your town (in other words, it wasn’t an already established band who has aged), would you go? Even if they were as hot and buff as Joan Jett is right now in her fifties, do you think people would give this new band the chance (without mocking) to slither around the stage sing “Cherry Bomb?” Of course some will answer yes, but I think we can all agree that the vast majority, if the band hadn’t already gathered attention for themselves at a young age and was now performing it while standing on the foundation of that career, would probably not take a chance with a newly-formed band of fifty-year-olds.
Rock-n-roll isn’t only a young person’s scene, but it’s hard to establish yourself once you pass a certain age.
Though who knows who defines that age or what it is.
Which brings us to blogging and a thought I have from time to time. When will I be too old for blogging?
Unlike rock-n-roll, which is a very visible medium, I can age behind my computer and you’ll never know how much grey is in my hair unless I post a picture. Writing, in general, is a pretty forgiving art form. And blogging itself is such a young piece of technology, under fifteen years old, that many (though not all) bloggers are still under fifty, having started in their teen, twenties, and thirties.
Will people read Dooce when she’s fifty or sixty (if she chooses to keep writing)? Most likely–but will she still have as rabid a following? It’s hard to say since unlike rock-n-roll, we don’t have a medium old enough to know what happens to aging bloggers. Is part of her appeal her youth? After all, take a look at your television line-up: how many Golden Girl-like shows do you see? The vast majority of older Americans are watching younger Americans (even if by younger I mean in their twenties and thirties) perform. Shows that contain older characters have them balanced with younger characters. There just aren’t popular television shows of sixty-somethings-and-older right now.
The reality is that older readers can read younger and get something out of it that doesn’t flow the other way. When Dooce starts talking about hip replacement, she’s going to lose that younger generation who has no desire to think about how one day, they’re going to need hip replacement too. Whereas older readers can still connect with a younger writer who is talking about prom or marriage or wanting to build a family because we’ve mostly been there. We remember prom (if we went) or marriage (if we’re in one) or building a family (cough). And at some point, while it may not be what we talk about anymore with our peers, it’s something we can relate to in the form of entertainment or education. And blogs are, by far, either entertaining or illuminating.
Will the Internet age to the point where we have The Society of Elderly Bloggers, an in-group of early adopters that people look up to as the grandparents of the blog with the respect and reverence the younger generation still gives the Beatles? If I keep blogging, will longevity be what makes me appealing?
Will age not matter at all? Will good writing and good content simply be good writing and good content and it won’t matter the age of the writer? Especially if they’re not writing about their hip replacement but are writing on topics more accessible to the general world such as current events. Will there be enormously popular, clamouring-to-talk-to-them-at-conferences, rock-star bloggers in a wide-range of ages? Or will the most popular be the twenty-and-thirty-somethings as it is in Hollywood?
By which I mean, while Jon Stewart is well-loved, he certainly doesn’t have to dodge and weave like Robert Pattinson. And Pattinson’s groupies are not all teenage girls.
And not only when/if-I-will-be-too-old, but is there a starting point that you need to be under in order to explode into a following if you’re starting at the point of obscurity (Arianna Huffington, for instance, already had a foundation to stand on when she started her popular blog, even if her popularity didn’t start with blogging)?
Of course Grandma can start a blog and have the family read it, but is there an age you need to be under to have your blog enter the world of universal appeal? And forget blogs, think writing in general. When people talk about hot, new authors, are they ever talking about seventy-year-olds publishing their first book? Certainly, there are older, popular writers, but when did they start their career and are their later books being received in the same way as their younger works? Overall?
Do I honestly worry about this? Not exactly. Worry is the wrong term. Muse is more appropriate. Honestly, what I’m more freaked out about is when the ChickieNob and Wolvog grow up and start their own sites bitching about me. But it is interesting to make predictions on how the Internet will unfold over the next twenty or thirty years.