Monday, January 21, 2013

To Blog

In a post-Twitter age, what place remains, you ask, for a traditional blog, especially one run by a lone individual writing mostly about his day? Well, truth be told, it probably isn't a space that needs filling. I don't expect the Internet will be made a richer, fuller, more complete experience by the contribution of my blogging. After all, I tried that before and found, ultimately, that I had precious little of substance to say, though no less, I might argue, than most people. Of course, most people also don't keep blogs.

Perhaps microblogging really is the more suitable form of online expression for most. People can share with connections their momentary musings or witty observations through short tweets or Facebook status updates. Maybe 140 characters is as much as most of us can bear to write, or to read.

I dabbled with Twitter myself. I began by tweeting the same sort of material–jokes, mostly–that comprised most of my text messages, only now, with Twitter, I was sharing those jokes with the Internet public. Reading back my own tweets, however, I realized that my jokes were routinely of such a politically incendiary nature that to hear them coming from me would likely have shocked and deeply offended anyone outside my most inner Circle. So, that plan nixed, Twitter became just a place for me to troll celebrities, which proved unfulfilling, because none of them ever responded.

I also tried my hand at Tumblr. Although it seemed primarily a place to share images and maybe very short text posts, it also offered all the features and functionality of a conventional full-length blog service. The only significant difference between Tumblr and, say, Blogger or was that Tumblr was natively integrated with a social network, which made it more convenient for sharing. I posted a few lengthier text posts and was disappointed when nobody would take even the minimal effort to like, let alone reblog, anything I wrote, except for my shortest, most inane, most poorly thought-out text posts, which were really just mirrored tweets. Approaching Tumblr from the consumer side, however, revealed to me a personal hypocrisy. I wasn't altogether (or at all) interested in wading into the Tumblr network to explore other users' posts. Even when I set my Tumblr to track the "Cinnamoroll" tag, hoping it might be a good source of daily cute, after a few days I couldn't be bothered to look at, let alone like or reblog, any more Cinnamoroll pictures. I did not have the time to keep up with all the images that would come my way each day, and, more importantly, I totally did not care. Was it any wonder then that other people weren't bothering with my much lengthier text posts?

Oh, I'm on Facebook too, of course, but my news feed quickly became just a place for "friends" (read: people I met, like, once at an event) to plug their ventures. That's perfectly fine and valid, but what's slightly irritating is when occasionally they ask me to help shill for them. I mean, I'm usually all about going to bat for my friends, but if I hardly know you, please don't message me asking my help to promote your nephew's baby pictures so that you can win some dumb contest. Yeah, I did "like" that one baby picture, but I don't think I even meant it; it's just that all our mutual friends had "liked" it, and I didn't want to be the one conspicuous holdout. But that's as far as I'm willing to take it. In fact–y'know what?–on second thought, I'm just going to unfriend you and trust that no one will even notice.

As for Pinterest, I don't even know what that is or how it works.

So what has been the takeaway from all that? Well, mainly, I learned that I'm not all that interested in engaging with the social aspects of the blogosphere (likes, hashtags, and reblogging and all that). I also realized that the traditional personal blog does fill a need, even if it's only a personal need, as a journal of sorts (or diary–I'll own to that) for me to collect and record my thoughts beyond 140 characters. And it's public because, well, I've never seen the point in writing something that nobody will ever be able to read, even if, in practice, nobody would ever care to read what I've written. Thus, here I am. Not here to fill any vacancy, but, nevertheless, here I am.

Yeah, yeah, I know–tl;dr.

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