Friday, December 23, 2005

Why Blog?

Be warned, before you start reading, that this is a pretty nasty post. So if you have a blog, you can skip this post, if you want, and save yourself the trouble of sending critical comments later...

The very first post I ever wrote on this blog dealt with the question of why I started it in the first place. (Well, okay, that was actually the second post. The first post just said “I have a blog now”. But I’m not counting that one.) Of course, that second post also included the phrase “I’m a writer and writers write!”, for which I lambasted myself in my third post. (Well, maybe “lambasted” is too strong of a word... I might have gone a bit easy on myself.)

Then, a bit later on, I put up another post questioning why anyone would bother reading this blog, since it’s of no importance to anyone. That one was important enough that I included a permanent link to it, off to the side, so that newcomers can go and read it, and realize that they don’t need to read any further.

So here we are, months later, and there is still no good reason why I would bother blogging. All of the reasons I put up earlier for why you shouldn’t bother reading this are still as true as ever (except that I can put up pictures now—but I hardly ever do).

In order to kill some spare hours, on my last work day before Christmas, I was about to start looking over some of my past posts—another task that I’ve made fun of myself for, in the past—when the futility of the whole thing struck me again.

But here’s the thing: It’s not like I’m the only one. It’s not like my blog is boring and narcissistic, while every other blog out there—or even most of them—are interesting or deep. Or useful. Or well written. Take a random sampling of the blogosphere, and see what you get. There’s even a handy Next Blog button at the top of this, and most other, Blogger blogs, that you can use to jump to a random blog. Try it, and here’s what you’ll get:

J. Random Person’s Blog
Monday, January 1, 2005
Another Boring Monday
Today I went to work. For lunch, I had a sandwich. It was so-so; not too good, not too bad. I’ll probably have another one tomorrow.

Survivor
I watched Survivor again today. I love that show!

Sunday, December 31, 2004
Life, Love, and Happiness
Why can’t I find someone to love? I know there’s a perfect person out there, but I haven’t found [him | her] yet.



Blah blah blah, etc. etc. etc. So many of them are the same! And, of course, off to the right or left there will be a million links to other blogs, that may or may not be as interesting as this one. (I think people spend as much time adding links to their blogs as they do actually writing... It’s the blogosphere equivalent of yearning to be popular.)

There are definitely blogs out there that are exceptions to the rule. I find the Raymi the Minx blog pretty interesting to read on a consistent basis, because it’s different. (It also has nudity, occasionally, so be warned if you plan to go there.) Similarly, I read Philogynist’s blog on a regular basis. (He happens to be Raymi’s partner—that’s where I found out about his blog.) His blog isn’t interesting because of the interesting life he leads, but simply because I like the way he writes it. There is also a blog called Self Titled that I read on a regular basis, which is also very not normal. Actually, now that I think about it, I first heard about that blog from Raymi, too. Let that be a lesson, people: If you want your blog to be popular, suck up1 to Raymi, and maybe she’ll put up a link to it.

(For all of my Christian friends, I haven’t yet found a Christian blog which is interesting to read on a regular basis.)

And yet, there are millions of blogs out there. You can go to Blogger and start one for free, or if you’re on MSN you can start a space on Spaces, which will be integrated right into MSN Messenger. People all over the world are jumping on the blogging bandwagon. And a lot of them are using their blogs for interesting things; there are people out there blogging the news, or blogging about politics. I’m planning to publish a book online using Blogger, once I’ve finished the editing process (which may never happen). Some people are using their blogs to meet people.

But I’m not using my blog for anything. It’s a pure waste of bandwidth, to which I add on a fairly regular basis. And which I’ve spent a lot of effort on! I went to a lot of work to create the little “definition hyperlinks”, that you can click on for the little pop-ups. And customizing HTML-Kit so that I could create these [useless] posts as quick as possible. And uploading all of the MSN Messenger emoticons for use when I post Messenger conversations—which I still haven’t used. (That last link wasn’t 100% related; only about 90% related.)

So there. I’ve vented, and I feel better. By the way, please keep in mind that I’ve blasted my own blog as much as I’ve blasted anyone else’s. So if you read this and got personally insulted, thinking that I’ve made fun of your blog, before you post a comment, take a moment to ask yourself whether I’m right. Is your blog as much of a waste of bandwidth as mine is? If so, deal with it first. (Then post your nasty comment...) Not that I’m telling you to stop blogging—I’m sure not going to. Just be self-aware about it. And if your blog is nothing more than an online diary, then don’t be too disappointed if nobody visits it. I’m sure not disappointed if nobody visits mine—as I’ve said many times, there’s no point in reading this thing, so I’m not expecting anyone to.


1 Actually, I don’t know if you’d have to suck up to Raymi to get your link on her blog; I’ve never met her or talked with her—maybe she’d put up a link out of the kindness of her heart. Or maybe she’d turn you down flat, and think you were a loser for trying to be popular like that. Who am I to say? Just because I read her blog, doesn’t mean I know anything about her...

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