Blogtober, day twenty seven, when we ask the ever-important question:
Just what the hell am I doing?
A few of you are probably saying to yourselves, “So only now is he asking this…?” But the question takes on a whole new dimension after yesterday’s New York Times piece about diaries in the digital age was uploaded. The were a few things noted by the round table contributors who wrote in that tied in with the Blogtober project that made the timing on the piece perfect for me.
Especially as I was about to run out of content…
The discussion covered a number of points that pertained to what I was dealing with that drew my attention. One of the chief points involved the connection between blogging and diary keeping, and whether the practice of keeping a diary is attended to today with the same care it was before the Information Revolution. I’m on the fence on this point (like I am on quite a few), as there are two considerations that need to be kept in mind:
We all have a need to put markers on the field to prove we came through this way. It’s primal, it’s an inherent compulsion we all have, the same impulse behind our desire to mate, to build an empire, but through an outlet that strokes our minds above all those other organs. The desire to provide testament, to let others know we were here, that we did walk the earth once, is a strong enticement to put something down by writing it up, whether its on paper, on screen, on the walls of the subway-
-though let me tell you, the penalty for tagging a train these days can be pretty steep…
Balanced with that is how close you want to get to your audience. I have a few deep things I’d love to offer, but some of those I would probably want to wait until I’m gone to share it. The problem is, some of the deeper material, I would have to explain that to
the millions/ thousands/ hundreds/ scores a couple of people who would read it here and then be upset that something like that was exposed before its time, coming out too early.
Once upon a time, before digital photography, you had pictures being taken on film, which required that that media be developed in a dark room and have a chance to come into focus. And if the film were exposed to the light before the proper time and conditions were allowed, you ended up with ruined pictures that were nothing like what you wanted to share.
Case in point: Answered Prayers. Truman Capote called it his “posthumous novel,” in that “either I’m going to kill it, or it’s going to kill me.”
Novel 1, Author 0…
Are bloggers diarists without a cure period? Are they just columnists (without the value of an editor), or do they do something that goes beyond just the first draft of history as a primary source?
And does it all matter really in the face of Facebook?
Because that was another point brought up in the article of note, that maybe the days of blogging are done with everyone getting on Facebook and relying on sharing their thoughts through status updates.
I admit, I have a presence on there as well, and there’s some content there that doesn’t make it’s way here, sort of like Bill Murray keeping the comedy and drama films separate from each other.
(Though I wish he’d have done a better job of differentiating which were which for his audience; in case you hadn’t gone through this experience yet, don’t expect a lot of laughs from Lost In Translation…)
But with Facebook going through its own self-inflicted threats to itself right now, with the bad reactions to the seven dollar promotion stunt leading to all kinds of tsuris, it may be too soon to write off blogging just yet.
Part of the reason for that is that WordPress.com is getting more social, fulfilling promises Facebook used to make. The social connectivity routines of WordPress compared to Facebook sometimes feels like the difference between The New Yorker and The New York Daily News; the audience for the former seems smaller, maybe a bit more select, and can discuss the issues in greater detail.
I have enjoyed my times with many of the people I have met through WordPress, and have made some good connections through this confederacy of bloggers. You can blame two of them, Jen and Speaker7, for this writing stunt, and value the example Susan Rocan offered when she did the blog-a-day marathon last month with more panache than I’ve so far shown.
And while I have also made a lot of good connections through Facebook, as of late it’s been getting harder to hang with my homies at the House of Zuck. Lately it feels there like I’m at a party where the host looks at you with cold menace because you grimaced after being poured only half a bottle of beer into your glass at the bar; surely you weren’t expecting more than that, were you…?
And because we are all more than just a few links and cute pictures, we will always have a need for a wider canvass, a desire to share more deeply (or at least deeply enough) our thoughts, ideals and dreams. As long as there are people with something that needs to be said, there will always be means like this to offer such thoughts out there.
There damn well better be, because God only knows how I could shove crap like this into one hundred forty characters…