To Blog or Not to Blog
To blog or not to blog, that is the question, as you-know-who might have said (but didn’t). After some serious thought my response is, yeah, why not?
Please forgive the literary reference in the very first sentence. It isn’t that I am trying to set the tone for what follows—fat chance. But living just a few miles from the Shakespeare Theater in Ashland, Oregon, quoting William is nearly irresistible. (And yes, that is a dangling participle. I’m afraid the tone of this blog is already ruined.)
It seemed to me that one would start something like this with a few assumptions, such as that one knows something worth writing about, and that others might find what one writes worth reading. But in a haphazard yet extensive review of other blogs being published on the web, I found such not to be the case.
Oh sure, there are probably hundreds of entertaining and informative blogs out there. (I’ve posted links to a few on the right side of this page.) But believe me, there are thousands which, if they were ailing patients, would be prime candidates for euthanasia. In doing research for this paragraph I read that there are an estimated 34.5 million blogs on the internet. Numbers are not my strong point—I’m more of a word person—but that is a lot. I’m not sure what precious natural resources these things are wasting, but really people, we’re gonna run out.
Let me say here, early on, that I find the term “blog” to be, well, shall we say, ungraceful. According to “Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia”, the term “weblog” was coined in 1997 by Jorn Barger, editor of an early blog called “Robot Wisdom.” In the spring of 1999 another early blogger (another ungraceful permutation) named Peter Merholz cleverly broke “weblog” into two words—“we blog”—thus turning a noun into a declarative sentence, for any grammarians still with me. “Blog” became a verb and is now conjugated in all sorts of unnatural ways.
So, picking up where I left off, I was talking about some of the other blogs out there—which in the blogging world is called “navel gazing,” a pejorative reference to meditators who spend their time contemplating themselves, though probably not their navel specifically. For that metaphor to make sense one has to imagine the entire “blogosphere” (I’m not making that up) contemplating itself like a giant Buddha. Other metaphors compare bloggers to citizens of the country of “Blogistan.” It’s linguistic chaos out there. Where are the language police when you need them?
Some bloggers refer to other bloggers quite a bit, and link to other blogs (see my list in the sidebar to the right. Out of the 34.5 million other people who have a blog, I actually know one of them. If I can figure out how to link to his blog, I will)
But most just talk about themselves. I’ve read some blogs where, after just a few paragraphs I knew way more than I wanted to about the author. Thoreau said “I would not talk so much about myself if there were anyone else whom I knew as well.” (I only promised not to quote Shakespeare.) I suspect that if Thoreau had read some of the blogs out there now he would amend his statement to point out that sometimes there are reasons one shouldn’t talk about oneself at all, much less anything else.
I don’t really know what I am going to be writing about in this blog. Obviously I can carry on quite a bit with very little information.
I also don’t know how often I will be posting new entries. Jorn Barger—remember, he’s the guy credited with coining the term “weblog” –said “The more interesting your life becomes, the less you post…and vice versa.” We’ll see…