R.I.P. smog.net

I’ve been wondering what the purpose of smog.net is for some time now.

Why I’m running it, why I am, in effect, curating or editing, when that’s not my thing at all. I never set out to put myself in the position to give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to an artist or writer, but that’s where I wound up. And as you can imagine, the vast majority of the time, that job really sucks.

I liked all the artists who were on the site, or they wouldn’t have been here. But it was becoming harder and harder to find things I liked. The more well known the site became, the more submissions I would receive, and they would pile up in the hundreds while I tried to think of new ways to say “no.”

To do something like smog.net right, you have to care deeply about poetry or art, and I do not. I enjoy what I enjoy, but that isn’t much. It got to the point where even when I would see things I liked, I wasn’t really enjoying them. I was just wondering how I could get them onto the site.

So on May 16th, I quietly pulled the plug on smog.net at the height of its popularity.

There were other reasons to kill smog.net as well — traffic has tripled over the last twelve months, and continues to increase daily. I recently mentioned that to someone, and while the words were coming out of my mouth it occurred to me that I was (albeit without really trying) engaged in the very pursuit that I find so laughably pointless when I see other site owners doing it; talking about traffic, or ways to increase traffic, traffic, traffic, blah blah fucking blah.

Who cares? Unless you’re selling something, which I wasn’t, what the hell good is traffic?

For that matter, what good is a well known or “popular” site? It’s certainly a stroke to the ego when people enjoy a group of things that you assembled. I don’t know why that’s true, but it is. But there’s no great accomplishment in gathering together a lot of artists and grouping them in one place.

When people would compliment the site, I’d think, “Damn right it’s a great site!” But when they would complain or express their disgust with something, I would blow that off, and chalk it up to the ravings of lunatics, Jesus freaks, and losers with nothing better to do.

If the point is to spread the word about something, fine, mission accomplished. But if I’m going to be honest, the main reason I presented the other artists, writers and freaks was to get more people to the site that could potentially see my work, and realize what a genius I am! Har har.

And really, when you get right down to it, building a web site full of artists you like is kind of like wearing a t-shirt with your favorite band’s logo on it, or driving around in your car playing their music way too fucking loud. While I’ve certainly done both of those things, I haven’t done them in many, many years.

So R.I.P. smog.net. It lasted more than 8 years which is more than 99.999% of the sites out there can say. It was not fun, but it was interesting. I learned a great deal of useful technical crap and I met a few nice people and a lot of assholes. Just like real life.

To all the artists, writers and weirdos who populated smog.net over the years, thanks for getting on the bus and staying on for as long as you did. It was, as world-renowned boxing promoter and philosopher Don King would say, SKD! Something kinda different.

God bless America!

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