Thursday, January 17, 2008

So, Why Do I Have A Blog Again?

I've been hesitant about, perhaps even resistant to, blogging for quite some time.

Why the reluctance?

For starters, I hate the alleged word "blog." Just what the hell is a "blog?" The canonical answer is: "it's short for Web log."

Well kiddies, back in my day this was a Web Log: - - [13/Jan/2008:06:54:04 -0800] "GET /robots.txt HTTP/1.1" 404 10
96 "-" "Googlebot-Image/1.0" - - [13/Jan/2008:06:54:04 -0800] "GET /poles/
g HTTP/1.1" 200 30075 "-" "Googlebot-Image/1.0" - - [13/Jan/2008:09:02:22 -0800] "GET /poles/Berek_joselewicz.jpg
HTTP/1.1" 200 16566 "
v=2&ndsp=20&svnum=50&hl=en&safe=off&start=40&sa=N" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSI
E 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; IEMB3; IEMB3)" - - [13/Jan/2008:09:04:18 -0800] "GET /poles/Jozef_Pilsudski1.jpg
HTTP/1.1" 200 27906 "
ung&gbv=2&ndsp=20&svnum=50&hl=en&safe=off&start=60&sa=N" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatibl
e; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; IEMB3; IEMB3)"

And as far as I'm concerned, it still is. Once upon a time I wrote software to analyze these logs. Quite good software, I might add. However, this software failed to make me rich, neither through my own efforts at peddling it nor those of my various employers. So not only is the terminology dumb, and wrong, but it also brings back memories of my own "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" escapades (which, admittedly, had much less gunplay than 50 Cent's).

Let me reiterate here: "Blog" is a stupid word.

This practice should really be called a Web Journal or Diary, or Micropublishing, or Digipropaganda, or something along those lines (perhaps all those things, depending on the content).

Next, we have the issue of "early adopter resentment."

Back a zillion years ago (the 80's and 90's) I was quite active on all the predecessor forms of digitally emulating the act of standing on a soapbox in the middle of Washington Square Park and ranting at anyone who passes by. Bulletin boards (BBSes), mail aliases (including ones run via uucp exchanges, and on Fidonet), usenet, mu*s (the social kind), and many different kinds of early web systems for publishing content (including several systems I wrote myself) -- you name it, I was all up in it. In junior high school, I even published a few political writings to some kind of school-to-school BBS system using the school's teletype. (Nerds even older than myself can continue the chain from here. I can only wish that I could rant about having to use punch cards to post my Arpanet invectives against the dangers of hard disks and their excessive numbers of moving parts.)

Not a dang one of these things made me a rich and famous writer / artist / philosopher / internationally hailed genius of all things like Ben Franklin or Buckaroo Banzai.

It was not at all because I was younger, a lesser writer, and prone to long periods of inactivity due to hoarding my writings and artwork in the vein hope that some professional publisher, film studio or gallery would be along with an offer "any minute now."

No, not at all.

It was because technology sucks. Internet, you go to Hell.

The technology really did suck for quite a while. Early blogging software sucked (so does much of the current crop, really). I figured, for a long time, I'd just write better software myself and put it on my Website. Maybe someday I still will. But in the meantime, I realized that while I repeatedly redesign the ultimate Web Micropublishing Software over and over in my head, and occasionally start writing it only to be preempted by an even better idea, perhaps I should see what stopgap measures existed out in the land of suckware.

Finally, I experienced pretty much all the other concerns that hold people back: not enough time / too busy working, hate everything the moment it becomes trendy, don't just want to be part of the meaningless din of Internet stupidity, am perfectly happy actually standing on the street and ranting at people, thanks -- all the usual stuff.

So, then -- why DO I have a blog again?

One day I woke up and realized that, suddenly, people clearly younger, meaner and stupider than I were getting real, creative, high profile writing jobs -- from blogging.

"Fuck that," says I. I gotta get me some of that blogging, yo. (Note the hip and trendy lingo in that sentence. It is a sign of my attempting to signal utter capitulation to the form.)

I mean, I co-authored quite an interesting 600 page book in 06 (The Path to Posthumanity). It was published, and maybe a dozen people have read it. Meanwhile, pretty much every stupid thing that's ever been posted on the Internet gets read a million times, if my e-mail inbox is any indication. We should have just e-mailed out the book under the subject heading "read This and SEXY coeds will want you NOW!"

And after all these years of my mother telling me to be more positive, all of a sudden trite-yet-cynical observations, insistent declarations of unfounded opinions as fact, pithy commentary, and incoherent, curmudgeonly invectives are "in."

Sweet! I can do that. I hate all sorts of things. Like Blogging, for example.

And yet, here I am, doing it.

You may have won this time, Internet. But I'll be back. Oh yes, I shall. I'm coming for you, Internet.


katie said...

man, i missed ya.

Jessica said...

For reals, yo. Everywhere I turn, there you are.

Michael said...

Hey even Neil Gaiman has a blog - I have two but yours are probably better he said humbly
keep it up

hatsumi said...

Know why I have a blog? Even though I know that no one reads it? Because I like to delude myself into thinking that people give a rat's ass what I think. I know they don't. Because I don't give a rat's ass about what THEY think. I have lots of opinions on lots of stuff. It's nice to feel that you have an audience. It's all about pretending. :) Besides... Everyone and his dog is littering the "information superhighway" with garbage. Every once in awhile, though, you pick something up off the ground that's interesting, intelligent, fascinating, or something. And that makes it worth it.

Sorry for the long comment. ;p