Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blogging about blogging and other postmodern meta ontological quandaries

If you kept reading past the title of this post, you are to be congratulated on your determination to learn, though you may not learn anything about any of those specialized terms there (mainly because I don't know too much about them myself).

I recently bought an issue of Wired because it had pretty pictures and it has that nice feel on the cover. And I wanted to be hip. But every Wired article I've ever read in the magazine can be found online. So I'm hip enough to read it in the magazine, but not online.

And now, I'm losing hip points by blogging about it. Because the first article in the current issue is on how blogging is a thing of the past -- its shining star has faded. It's been commercialized. It's lost its face.

Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004

Besides the fact that I enjoy using services that work perfectly well for me (which is why I've stuck with T-Mobile for six years; I redesigned my Blogger blog, [Post]Modern College Life, instead of converting to the sleek Wordpress format; and I will continue to purchase Britt Daniel's music until kingdom come), I have some other qualms about Paul Boutin's urgings. Just because businesses have manhandled the blog format to conduct their own business on the web (with teams of writers spewing out 30 posts a day) doesn't mean that normal people should stop blogging. Because people blogging about issues are going to reach a different network of readers than the big business blogs do. It's just like magazine production -- big businesses (Time, Newsweek, US Weekly) are going to reach their audience, and so are city magazines (Tallahassee, Phoenix) and even smaller, local magazines. Because people don't turn to the New Yorker to see what's happening in their local environment.

Sure, there will be overlap. Amateur entertainment reviewers (games, tv, movies, music, art) will certainly be eclipsed by devoted blogs. But the cool thing about blogs: you can write about anything. Unless you're trying to start a blogging career (which would probably work best by attaching yourself to one of those mainstream blogs that Boutin wrote about), you don't have to fit a format, and you don't have to write about things that don't interest you.

I blog for leisure and assume that no one reads any of my words. This might be dangerous in terms of revealing too much personal information, but that's something that I don't really care about at this time. I honestly think that encouraging average people to sit down for about 15 minutes and compose a post (however sloppily) can only help their focus, their thoughts, their writing. I don't see any detriments to blogging (outside of being "unhip"). Of course it might "waste your time." But if you spend hours on end blogging instead of doing your job or going to classes or studying for classes, shouldn't you reexamine your life and perhaps reconsider what it is that you really want to do? If you enjoy blogging, do it, maybe even full time (though, because the internet has made news instant, you won't get much sleep). If you don't blog, please give it a try. But no matter what, don't slog at people who do.

I must get around to another point. I was searching for this Wired article so I could blog about it, and the highest relevant search return was for another unhip blogger blogging about the blogging article, WIRED: Don't Blog Anymore -- Wait...What Was That?!?. I found what I wanted to in 5 seconds of Googling, as opposed to going to and wading through ads and dicking around on the site for a few minutes until I found the article that I wanted. Imagine that. Another benefit to grassroots blogging. Blogging making life easier in searches.

This Wired is the first thing in a while that has made me want to post on this blog. For me, it had the opposite of its desired effect on readers. I've been off and on with this thing for four years, but I keep it around because I want an outlet that I rule where I can spout off any belief I have, or reveal any information I find without fear of censure or harassment (outside of occasional blogging bots) or death. Yes, people still die for their beliefs in this day and age. And if I were in a less accommodating country with stricter laws about what can and what cannot be voiced, I might be up for trial for some of the things I've written about (or what I might have written about under that type of control). The right to the written word is not a God-given right: human language is not absolutely innate because if you're not exposed to speech or to a writing system, you don't learn it. If raised in the wilderness, by wolves perhaps (it has happened), you may learn a rudimentary system of body language, but nothing to match the complexity of human language. It's a phenomenon, and it's a gift. So use it. And wisely.

(By the way. Have you heard of Kindle? I think we should get rid of books.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm raising my kids purely on Kindles. Sarcasm aside, I agree with you. Great insight, but on such a stodgy platform. ;)

    By the way, there was news recently about layoffs at WIRED. He may have to rethink his position.