Jan 01 2006

What’s right & wrong with blogs?

Published by at 1:39 pm under Family,Uncategorized

I wrote to my friend, Rick Lewis, telling him about my blog, saying “Yes, I know its silly, as I have very little to say, but I have a blog. Why? Because I can.”

To which, he responded:

Blogs. Your comment last night got me to thinking about blogs, and what’s right and wrong with them. I can’t say I reached any profound conclusions; only mildly interesting observations. In the heyday of network television news, not so long ago, approximately three major anchors reached 50 million or so viewers or a regular basis. Blogging seems to have turned that equation on its head. I don’t know the numbers, but what if it’s now five million bloggers, each reaching a regular audience of 100 people? Clearly we are no longer describing the same model at all. Meanwhile, network television news as we knew it is vanishing before our eyes; just not fast enough.

The big TV anchors had enormous egos, of course. That’s a given for air talent. But it was really about the viewers, without whose attention in vast quantities the Cronkites of this world would have been insignificant. In blogging, it’s about the blogger. It can’t be about the readership, because that is almost always miniscule.

I have known a few blog writers who used the medium to work out profound personal issues, as if talking with themselves, while a few incidental readers eavesdropped. Others treat it like a vanity press, or a form or artistic expression where size doesn’t matter when it comes to audience. Some columnists find a cop-out in blogging, like Dave Barry. During this indefinite period when he has suspended his syndicated column, he effortlessly tosses an amusing link onto his blog each day—almost always supplied by a reader, in the same manner that Scott Adams is fed ideas by readers to keep Dilbert going strong. And sometimes a blog really takes off and becomes widely popular, in which case the writer has finally become an ordinary columnist once more.

Interesting. I will have to write more on the subject sometime. But I won’t circulate it. That would be like starting a blog! And I won’t do it today, because it’s New Years, and I have important loafing to do. Yours, by the way, has some intriguing stuff.

To which, I replied:

Dear Rick,

Thanks so much for your musings… May I post them on my Blog? That way, I can gaurantee that no-one but me will ever read them!

I, quite frankly, agree that blogging is, fundamentally, silly. I especially think that daily diary keeping, while a noble pursuit and of some personal value, should remain private, not because we should hide our thoughts and feelings from others. Rather, because we should not once ever believe that our inner-most thoughts, feelings, and opinions are of interest to anyone, anywhere, ever.

My brother is a blogging advocate. He has been celebrating the blog for years, long before anyone except a few sticky nerds had heard of the concept. Whenever the word is used in ‘legit’ media, he gets a woody. To his credit, however, he’s pushed the envelope a bit, finding new and *gasp* even useful ways of using blogs. For example, he’s talked about Klogging (Knowledge Blogging) and other varients. My all-time favorite blog, one I recommend to everyone, including you, is:


Here, you’ll discover all the bad things that happen to people who blog. My brother, who’se twisted idea this was, believes that as the blogosphere (another silly word invented by sticky nerds) expands to include more and more people, it will encompass all the good and bad aspects of the non-blogging society. (he sees this as a good thing, I think) I, on the other hand, believe that, at some point, there will be a critical mass of bloggers where everyone will be too busy recording each and every passing thought to ever read anyone else’s musings. Then, we’ll have a true democracy (of idiots.)

For me, I have no pretense or expectation re my blog. I use it for one purpose, and that is to share my music, art, and other creative output with my friends and family. It is far easier to use a blog for this than to hack out HTML code every time I add something.

The only comment (unless you left one) is from my dad, who kindly pointed out a spelling error in one of my poems. (Thanks, Dad!)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “What’s right & wrong with blogs?”

  1. Marvin Wolffon 02 Jan 2006 at 2:35 am

    Dear Sander, Aside from the need to spew out personal thoughts in a vain hope that someone will read them, take note and respond, I believe that random blogging is an egotistical waste of time.

    When we are born we are given a precious quota of time that is finite. We should try to use every second of it in worthwhile and productive ways. Obviously “all work and no play” is not healthy so time has to be allocated for those things that help us heal such as the visual and performing arts. Your work in this arena has been outstanding and a service to all.

    I too have discussed blogging with your brother who does not use it for vomiting up his innermost thougts, as so many bloggers do, but rather to communicate and share ideas with others regarding a wide spectrum of subjects.

    If one has something to say that he feels is important and will be of interest to others,then one has many ways of trying to bring this material before a specific target audience. The random shotgun approach that most bloggers use to publish their drivel is nothing more than mental onanism.

    Keep up the good work with your music and continue to share that journey with me and others. Love, Dad.

  2. Administratoron 02 Jan 2006 at 4:41 am

    Ah, you do have a way with words, Dad! The phrase “mental onanism” is, in my humble opinion, the perfect phrase to describe 99.999% of blogging, mine included.

    The problem arises in this sentence, where you wrote, “If one has something to say that he feels is important and will be of interest to others…” Some people feel that their every passing thought is important and of interest to others and, in fact, it may be to some.

    As sad as it may be, many people live vicariously through others. This is nothing new. Blogs have made it easier.

    Anyway, I think this all goes back to the fundamental human need to be understood, to be known deeply, and to be loved. It is an urge that lays deep within our emotional core, and blogging somehow taps into it. The daily self-evisceration feels right, somehow, and simply knowing that someone, somewhere, may nod in some sort of sympathetic understanding makes it all worth while.

  3. Philon 08 May 2006 at 7:44 am

    In the blogosphere, everyone will be famous to 15 people.

    per some, the value to blogging is in the very act of writing, diarying, journaling. akin to paper.

    for others, it’s the feedback and commentary of anonymous strangers.

    yet for others, diarying online is a way to stay in touch with a circle of friends or family. some blogging systems are specifically designed to help with sharing among your circle (sometimes only your circle) not just ideas but also your events, fotos, bookmarks, essays/homework, etc. Microsoft Spaces, LiveJournal, Yahoo!360 for example.

    for some, it’s a chance to mine a specific intellectual curiousity. again, this is not a self marketing ploy, but a way to think more crisply and to store and use your observations and thinking over time.

    some ‘law’ says 99% of everything is shit. blogging per se is just another form of writing, like poetry or essaying or recipes. you’ll judge each according to each form’s criteria. and most blog posts will be uninteresting. to you. now. where you live. in your gender. in your language. like your true love, your perfect blog may be very hard to find, but the law of large numbers suggests it’s out there somewhere.

    sad fact is more people blog in chinese than in english now. sad only because you don’t read chinese.

    blog all you want to.

  4. Angelon 06 Mar 2007 at 8:53 am

    Um, yeah, blogs are just GREAT until you write some things in it about your mom, completely forgetting that EIGHT YEARS EARLIER you had given her your passwords/website addresses (to be accessed in case of your untimely DEATH), and she READS WHAT YOU WROTE ABOUT HER and gets all pissy and stops speaking to you. Yeah, but other than THAT.

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