Monday, June 08, 2009

You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Post Is About You

I'm reading this NY Times article on blogging and finding myself getting more and more irritated. Their premise is that bloggers expect instant fame and fortune and when it doesn't come, they abandon their blogs:
According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.
Dreams? Ambitions? Are we climbing to the top of Mount Everest or writing a blog? They certainly manage to quote a bunch of dimwits who fit their profile of the discouraged blogger with an audience of one. The Internet does not mourn their retirement. But do I believe the stats that say 95% give up?

I'm positive that narcissism is alive and well. The people who think the world is interested in what they ate for breakfast probably abandoned public blogs for a good reason -- it's too easy for your friends to "forget" to check your blog. Instead those types opted for a more captured audience -- like on Facebook, where your friends, family, and distant acquaintances will at least skim your daily minutia and angst every time they login.

But my main gripe is the NY Times portraying that exact caricature of self-absorbed opportunistic bloggers. There are other reasons to blog like sharing what you've learned, pointing out interesting news items, and adding your own commentary... which is, of course, also narcissistic.

I guess you need a little bit of arrogance to be a good writer, but then I see this article about J.D. Salinger. It's a mystery if he's still writing or not. He's certainly not publishing. The article posits "perhaps he's writing not for publication but for God, which would mean there'd be no need to preserve any material traces of his work."

Well, I'm satisfied with a happy medium. Try not to be vain, but don't keep it to myself. Don't dream of fame and fortune, but think about the therapeutic benefits of writing.


Doug said...

Here! Here!

At 1:00am last night when I was trying to get my most recent post together, I said to myself, "Why am I doing this?" And my answer was, "Because you have to."

And then I answered myself, "No I don't." And me said, "You are right, that just sounded like a good answer."

So I guess it's because of my three readers. I'd hate to let them down.

Kristen said...

I was totally waiting for your E3 post and pictures. Your hotel not-on-fire story was scary. Glad I've never been caught in such a situation.

At least California didn't offer you any earthquakes.