Tuesday, May 31, 2005

You Don't Need A Blog, But You Look Like You Could Use A Drink

Cup-O-Noodles links to this. Give it a look: once your spine is nicely chilled from the very notion of a thing called "Blogging 101" and all that it entails, the text will provide it with a much more extensive tour of the subzero.
But I just want to speak my mind, you say. Great. Don't do it in a blog. Speak your mind to your friends, your family, your co-workers, or your classmates. If you're angry or excited about something, tell them about it, and get them angry and excited too.
No. For Christ's sake, don't I already spend enough time talking to my family, co-workers, and classmates? Why do we have to be angry and excited about things all of a sudden? We're actually quite placid, tedious people, mostly just given to coming up with unorthodox euphemisms.
Don't waste your time hoping some intrepid, like-minded soul will stumble upon your sad, default-Blogger-templated website. After the initial delusion that everyone from Finland to New Zealand will care about exactly how you feel about Donald Rumsfeld wears off, you'll realize that you're talking to yourself. And you'll be more frustrated than if you hadn't started the damn blog in the first place. So turn off the computer and get out of the house. It's liberating.
While I feel anyone who is making money by giving people tips about how to blog more effectively deserves a pro forma curtsey, I must say this is the biggest load of sanctimonius bollocks I've read in quite some time. He's absolutely right that most blogs suck - in which case his advice should not be not to start a blog; it should be to stop reading other people's - and consist of one rather sad person talking to themself. The assumption that this is without value, though, I find incredibly wrongheaded. This might just be because I am an academic, and therefore spend a lot of time talking to myself in a professional setting, but I would like to think there's more to it than that: the challenge is not to reach the largest audience possible (and thereby escape the terrible frustrating stigma of talking to yourself) but rather to find interesting things to say to people, yourself included. It's hard to think of a better venue for this than a blog, doomed to failure thought the venture probably is.
A blog isn't the right answer for most of the reasons people think they need one. But you don't need one. Your energy is better spent conversing with real people, not hoping to be the one voice heard in the middle of a riot.
Of course, the author has divined the reasons people think they need blogs. The simplest possible reason - the same reason people "need" amusing websites, animated distractions, social engagements, tropical vacations, involving hobbies, fun - seems to have eluded him.