ADIEU TO PROTOCOLS
Last week, the Jewish blogosphere mourned the loss of Protocols. Since it was one of the first blogs to catch my interest, I felt like I should weigh in on the love-hate relationship with the site, a reaction that seems to have been blogiversal.
Back when I first started blogging, I was in awe of Protocols. They always seemed to have the story first, whatever it was. It was, as Sarah calls it, an uberblog.*
By the time I got my Jewish Week, the newspaper was old news--I felt like I was already in the know, and like print journalism was over as a genre. In the same moment, with every post, I felt like they were challenging me to find the story or perspective that they hadn't yet managed to uncover. If I was original enough in my approach, they'd link me, and my life and my ratings would never be the same.
Over the last several months, they linked me twice, I think, and neither had the boost to my readership that I'd hoped for, possibly because, in at least one of the contexts, my writing was denounced as self-indulgent, with the intimation that my writing style is why I am still single instead of married with kids (as if those are the only potential definitions of my inner self). Traffic increased, but not much.
Protocols failed to take notice of me, and more poignantly, as time passed and both blogs evolved, Protocols ceased to be the center of my Jewish blogsurfing. As content shifted--the tone became meaner if not always leaner, I found that some of the contributors professed a deep and abiding love for Judaism at the same time that they were indicting and convicting community leaders, decisions and issues with rumors and hearsay. Lord knows, the Internet's already a hotbed of gossip built on a foundation of lashon hara (evil speech); while public figures to an extent put themselves in gossip's way, I still felt that Protocols often reported the incendiary murmurings, rather than the verified facts, perhaps in a desire to become The Drudge Report of the blogosphere--their aspirations of whistle blowing translated on my screen into vindictive cruelty. With so much negativity already out there, I began to look for news elsewhere.
My romance with Protocols yielded several dividends, both informational and social. It introduced me to the industrious blogging of Steven I. Weiss, and the thoughtful, identifiable blogging of (dare I say it? kindred pop culture and judaism spirit) Miriam Shaviv. I looked to find in the Protocols blogroll a coalition of the like-minded, and for the most part, I found others whose passions closely mirrored my own.
My love for Protocols never did run smooth. But relationships hit snags, and either those obstacles can be overcome, or they cannot.
Protocols is no more. I don’t see the need for one central blog to play the role of Protocols. I think we can all get along fine; there are plenty of quality Jewish blogs out there. Personally, I find the diversity of opinions available one of the most meaningful parts of blogging, and frankly, I‘m not troubled by the prospect of reading more than one blog at a time.
Jews are the people of the Book, after all, and it only makes sense that we‘d also be people of the Blog.
*Another excellent post-mortem by Josh Yuter is here.