In the past, my default answer was “Procrastinate, hopefully, and spare us all.”
Blogging used to strike me as the textual equivalent of streaking, with a fleeting burst of activity intended to generate some startled attention from the crowd followed by a rapid, gleeful retreat into anonymity. If Tweeting was the digital equivalent of belching, blogging was the babbling drunk weaving through North Station, raging out a passionate, solipsistic profundity.
With the difference being the bloggers I had read were far less lucid than the drunks.
(Good for a first blog, no? Compelling metaphors, deep thoughts and a drunk to keep it real! But I am missing a few other things to make this first effort perfect. Great job with the first person, but what about the omniscient narrator? Here, wait a minute:)
The pattern and explosive growth of blogging had a familiar feel to it. Since the first photograph in 1839, we have had about 175 years of shutters snapping millions of images that flowed mostly from the camera to the landfill in surging torrents of anonymity. Precious images of ancient relatives are passed on, stored, augmented by exponentially more family photos and ultimately tossed, as family lines wither and die. Tomorrow’s archaeologists — hoping to find a rare styrofoam Big Mac container — may well consider the superabundance of photos in our static landfills the kudzu of their profession. Future collectors may be more interested in the variety of plastic bottles we made than the visual record of our daily lives.
This pattern becomes fractal with the arrival of digital photography, where even the barrier of cost in developing and printing the images is removed. Now, hundreds of images of a single moment are taken — why not? — and stored away on ever-expanding server farms, because, as it turns out, even we aren’t even interested in looking through our own history to sort the photos. But we assume someone else will be later.
In this context, blogging seems the perfect counterpoint, the captions to paste under our self-obsessed photo sessions.
(Tremendous! Have I got you depressed now? Me too. It’s not my nature, but sometimes you control the QWERTY, sometimes it controls you. And there is really no way out of that corner. Not for most bloggers, anyway. But let’s face it, I’m special. Well, more special. No, really. The only way out of this jam is to interview myself. Like with a question. Watch this: )
So why, then, am I on a blog site crowned with what appears to be a clear attempt to simultaneously violate both the Volkswagen and Waterstones trademark? The answer is simple. Social media, like the Martians, delivers one message: “Resistance is futile. Submit.” Thus a small footprint on Facebook is one small step for Michael and one quick-apple two-step over to Twitter. Twitter forces pith, but sometimes taking a long pith is what truly satisfies.
And thus, to seek, to strive, to blog and not to yield. I now stand shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of thousands of my brother and sister bloggers, singing our siren songs into the abyss. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. But will they sing to me?
(Nice, eh? Bloggers love crowbarring in poetic touches; I score the lay-up with both Tennyson’s Ulysses and Eliot’s The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock. This is fun! But one question before I go: Who are you? )
The World’s First Picture, 1839.
Après moi, le déluge