The blogmeet set me thinking. Blogging is incredibly narcissistic and self-indulgent. Apropos of pretty much nothing at all, you write your little posts, your little opinion pieces and tales of your life, petty little rants and amusing stories, and then stick them on the internet, throw them open to the world and ask for comments. As if the world actually cares about what you write and what you think.
But – and here’s the weird thing – they do. And not just the ‘celebrity’ bloggers, like Wil Wheaton, Neil Gaiman and Scaryduck. A person who works for a newspaper reads about the person who designs webpages, and a father of two leaves comments on essays that a girl who works behind a bar has written about one of her customers. Communities form, and in some small way, these otherwise unrelated lives become interwoven in a tangled spiderweb of stories and opinions.
When I started Not A Blog (after my first couple of abortive attempts at writing a web journal, which invariably ended up turning into long-winded whinges about how crap my life was that even I couldn’t bear to read, let alone anyone else) I didn’t really expect anyone to read it. It’s still not exactly widely read – I get between one and two hundred hits a day, and about 30-40 actual individual visits – but the fact that anyone outside of my immediate circle of friends is actually reading at all surprises me. But people do read it, and some of them even leave me little comments, and I probably don’t seem as appreciative of that as I am. I’m not out for a big insecurity trip here – “Hey everyone! Tell me you love me! Please love me!” – but it’s nice to know someone out there is listening.
For me, writing Not A Blog is mostly a way of satiating this nagging feeling that I have that I want to write about… well… something. I don’t have enough dedication to do a novel (although I keep promising myself – as with most bloggers, I guess – that I’ll do it one day) and my few abortive attempts at journalism convinced me that arguing with editors wasn’t something I wanted to spend my life doing. And whilst editing the school magazine (both the official and unofficial version) was fun for a while, the necessity for editorial impartiality was unsatisfying. So, this way, I get to write what I like and when I like. Of course, the freedom that comes with blogging is a double-edged sword – at least with journalism, you’ve got something specific to achieve by writing, but there’s no such target with something this freeform, and writer’s block is a common problem – but at least when it does strike I do have the option to not write something (an option for which you, the reader, should be equally grateful, to be honest).
I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this. It’s taken me two hours to get this far, and I’m still not sure what I’m trying to say. I had a few points floating around in my head (narcissism, communities, soap operas, actually having a readership, etc) that seemed tangentially related in some way, and I wanted to make them into a post; I’ve done that now, I think, but I don’t know whether I’ve got an underlying point to it all – which I guess is quite a lot like blogging, in a way. And on that nicely self-referential point, I reckon it’s probably time I shut up and got some lunch.
Oh, and thank you for reading 🙂