24 May 2010

is self-reflexive narcissistic?

Per my usual policy, I e-mailed the ever-cool Cheshin to tell her she had been blog-mentioned. I don't have a perfect record for it, but I figure it's just courtesy to tell the people you mention on-line that you name-dropped them. The only exceptions I make are for a) people whose blogs or sites I can just link to; b) people who are sufficiently famous they sort of expect to be mentioned without knowing about it; and c) dead people, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

Cheshin wrote back to thank me for telling her about the post. "I keep forgetting you have a blog," she said, and that sparked off a mini-discussion we had about keeping blogs. Because truthfully, either my friends forget I have a blog, or else they tagged me on Google Reader so some software could remember for them. And no, I don't mean that in a whiny way. You don't do this stuff expecting to actually get a readership.

Bloggers take a lot of piss, both on- and off-line. Apparently no-one in this world is interesting unless they are either already famous or can blog about what they do for a living. The world's foremost amateur enthusiast about Topic X has a steep cliff of credibility to climb before they can be considered a worthwhile source of information, no matter how many citations they include. Basically, no-one cares about your opinion so long as you give it away for free and don't run it by a professional editor.

Sturgeon's second law applies to blogs just as well as it applies to everything else, to be sure. It does not, however, apply to blogs more than anything else. Humanity has gone through previous phases where large percentages of the literate population got on their hobbyhorses and rode towards whatever battle they beheld in their minds' eyes. It's happening again.

There's nothing especially wrong about it, but each individual has to manage their own blog-reading and -writing load. For someone who posts about three times a week (or tries to), maintains not one but two blogs, and has subscriptions to dozens of blogs by other people around the world, I try not to take the whole thing too seriously. You have to treat it like Twitter, or TV shows — if you miss it, you miss it. There are some amazing blog posts out there, and some consistently amazing blogs, but there are many paths to whatever intellectual enlightenment you can get from them.

1 comment:

  1. ha, yes, I have Google Reader but there's too much in there so I created a folder for people like you whose blogs I want to know they're updated when I take time for blog-reading. I love the concept of blogging by I'm not "special" enough to have many readers, le sigh. I've got some ideas to add more about learning Swedish to my blog and maybe other Swedish language learners will start reading and interacting with me. Interaction is the whole point of Web 2.0!

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