That would be okay if I had the sense that the posts, taken sequentially and cumulatively, were shaping a postcapitalist fictional reality that readers could glimpse, interact with, and possibly enter into. Alternatively, discussion might help refine and expand the ideas outlined in the posts, more fully fleshing out their imaginary substance.
Nearly three months and and a full forty posts in, my appraisal is that the blogging aspect of this website has been a failure. The site got off to what I deemed an auspicious debut, generating pretty robust traffic in first week. Those were the good old days: over the past month the site has averaged 1 visitor and 2 page views per day, generating one comment total written by someone other than me. From the first Erdman did a yeoman’s job in engaging with the content, stimulating thought and conversation with his comments — I appreciate it. But I never wanted to burden my old blogging buddies with responsibility for discussing an agenda of no interest to them. But there’s been nobody new.
Since this site wasn’t built to become a blog I’m not too disappointed that it’s failed to become one, failed to thrive as a locus of vibrant and stimulating discussions of mutually salient topics. Still, a blog is essentially what the site has been, and an unsuccessful one at that. To what do I attribute the blog fail?
It’s not the content: the posts have been uniformly excellent, elaborating the rationale and design components incrementally into the rudiments of a coherent framework on which a larger program could be built. I feel fairly confident in this appraisal, inasmuch as quite a bit of the content I had already written and edited as longer pieces months before launching the site. Disaggregating those pieces into blogpost-sized chunks prompted me to revisit the texts from a temporal distance while at the same time transforming them from private meditations into public pronouncements. Overall I’ve been eminently satisfied with the results. Still, the point was never for the site to serve as a stimulus for reflection and self-expression or as a self-publishing venue.
It’s certainly possible that the central scheme around which the website is organized — postcapitalist fictions — isn’t of widespread interest. If there are internet users out there searching for the kinds of things I’ve elaborated in this series of posts, then whatever search engine strategies they deploy would likely have landed on Ficticities at least once in a while. And if the content of Ficticities was in fact what they were looking for, then these visitors would have stuck around, continuing to read new posts as they came up. No dice; snake eyes.
Another possibility: the interest is there, but the blogs are dead. Certainly the blogosphere has contracted significantly since I started posting on Ktismatics over eleven years ago. But that’s just it: Ktismatics, inactive for 4 years now, gets way more traffic than the new and active Ficticities site. So there must be some people out there still looking for content that happens to appear on blogs. They just aren’t looking for or finding the content that appears on Ficticities.
Is it a bad idea, postcapitalist fiction? No, for all of the reasons I’ve outlined in the posts. Is it a good idea that can’t be implemented? That’s what I’d hoped to ascertain. I launched Ficticities with the idea of setting up a collaborative laboratory for experimenting with and simulating postcapitalist fictions, seeing how well the theory plays out in practice. I’ve always known that populating the lab with participants would require a proactive outreach rather than passively waiting for interested parties to show up. I had, however, expected that an initial phases of post-and-discussion would generate some momentum, word of mouth, connections, collaborators — a few narrow trajectories spanning the void, leading into the next more active and expansive phase of the laboratory. That hasn’t happened. What about blowback from critics who think the ideas are bad or impracticable? None of that either.
I’ve got more content I could post, more elaboration of the core premises. I haven’t even touched on the fifth plank of the initial platform: writers and readers running Schools of fiction. I might do it just for the sake of closure. But first I want to explore options for a possible next phase of Ficticities. That’ll be the next post.