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Why I Am Not A Blogger

Some would call these times that we are going through 'the Information Age'.  Personally, I see it as 'the Age of Opinions'.  Nowadays, having and voicing one's opinion is as de rigueur as knowing one's place used to be in the (bad) old days.  Sadly, our opinions are not seeking and finding pertinent targets - this is not a sudden rush of democracy to the head.  Sadly, sadly, it is mostly 'opinion smalltalk' - vox pops, comments to news articles, product reviews... and the more baroque form, the one that might get you your five minutes of fame (sorry Andy dear, we can't run to 15, what with inflation) - blogging.

Occasionally I think to myself, "Pshaw.  Blogging.  How hard can it be?  Umpteen morons do it constantly!  I can string a decent sentence together.  I am opinionated!  I've always wanted to be a columnist!  Maybe I should try it one of these days..."

Then of course I look again at all these blogs springing up hither and yon and something within me sags a little.  There are some interesting ones of course, but the majority seem to revolve around the shoring-up of youthful personalities.  And of course, everything you are can - apparently! - be a 'lifestyle'.  Excuse me, but I hardly think 'being married' is a lifestyle, any more than 'being white' could be a lifestyle, or 'being left-handed'.  Even 'being married to a white, left-handed physicist' does not, in my book, count as a lifestyle!  (Sorry David...)

Blogging also seems to involve an excess of what I can only describe to you as 'twiddly'.  'Take nice photos' is often the first bit of advice given to the would-be blogger; I can see how that is a plus in a visual medium, but to put that above actual content makes me worry about the intended audience.  (It reminds me of when I used to record my songs on cassette tapes and the first thing most people would say was, "You need to improve the sound quality" - yes, all in good time, thanks for that, Captain Obvious, but... what about the song?!)  If one is to write for a thousand pairs of tired eyes, no better than channel-surfers flicking through endless dross in search of televisual titbits, who can only be tempted to linger and read by exactly the right kind of twee photo in pastels and fuzzy focus, then isn't that either terribly depressing (if people are really as jaded as that!) or revoltingly patronising (if they're rather more alert than that after all!)?

Other examples of 'twiddly': you gotta tweet.  You gotta promote yer damn self on Facebook.  You need 'sponsors'.  (That can involve selling ad space or, rather disingenuously, indulging in a mutant-appreciation-society of aw-shucks back-rubs, just you and all your cyber BFFs whom you only 'know' from giving and getting toadying comments on your outfit posts... sheesh.)

In my life, I want as little techno-twiddly as I can get away with.  I occasionally use Facebook but I don't want it using me, thanks.  I signed up for Twitter but I've never used it.  I still like LiveJournal but even that stretches before me like something too large and demanding, some days.  The idea that I could not possibly compete with my blogging peers without continuously pressing assorted buttons, like a rat trained to dispense its own supply of sugar-water, fills me with dread.  Don't get me started now on Pinterest, Bloglovin, Polyvore, Poupee Girl, Instagram and all the rest of that gnonzense*!  (*Worse, friends, so much worse than mere nonsense!)

I balk, too, at this notion bloggers have of 'inspiration'.  Inspiration, for me, is a moment, naked of outside influence, in which truth is revealed; or maybe it's the permission we occasionally grant ourselves to go walkies with a particularly tail-waggy Idea.  Inspiration does not consist of wishy-washy photos of dining tables looking surprised in forests.  Inspiration is very far from my soul when I see platitudinous guff written out in biro on a post-it note.  'Inspiration' of this sort seems to be a euphemism for 'I can't think of anything to say; here's a unicorn instead'!

Yet another source of doubt is the common advice that 'it's got to be about something specific'.  You must be easily categorised.  Ha bloody ha.  In my life I have never been easily categorised.  I don't even like categorising myself.  I boil with despair when asked to tick a box to indicate my nationality... how am I supposed to pigeonhole myself neatly for public consumption?  I enjoy LJ because I can write about anything I want to without overstepping the bounds of some mission statement or schedule.  I also appreciate the opportunity to get to know people in a more straightforward manner than that offered by a 'proper' blog.  I know that if someone comments, it's because they want to say something, rather than to 'drive traffic' to their own pastel-covered unicorn-sanctuary in some cute, homey corner of the little ol' blogosphere.

I have to admit that the tip-top reason why I am not a blogger is that... I did try it once, and I really didn't enjoy it.  I hated feeling that I must 'generate new content' on a regular basis, and whatever content I was generating it did not seem to contain 'essence of me' (I know; eww...) the way these LJ posts do.  I was not managing to be sincere.  My heart, liver, lungs, eyes, ears and spleen simply were not in it.  I think to be honest I could not conceive of anybody being really curious to know about my life, opinions and of course 'sage wisdom' dispensed via cutesy fonts stamped on other people's photographs!!  I feel safe enough here in my little LJ harbour, telling you small things about my life, sharing recipes and photos, and dashing off screeds of carefully-honed phrases designed to titillate and amuse, but... doing so in the open ocean (so to speak) feels kinda dodgy and pretentious.

For that reason, more than any other, I cannot at the present time offer the universe yet another blog, and my Highly Valued Opinions will have to be enjoyed in this quaint backwater.  Anyone who reads my words is much appreciated, not because I want you to see a bunch of ads that will bring me cash money, and not because of some page-view meter ticking round, but because you are a human, connecting with me for a few moments.  'Humans, Not Consumers': there you are, that's my inspiring soundbite of the day!  If you want it in biro on a post-it... you know where the stationery cupboard is, pal. ;-P

I must say, I am thoroughly curious to see what the response, if any, to this post will be! :-D


( 9 confidences — Confide in me... )
Jun. 26th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
I find blogging difficult. I use Facebook quite a lot, but I am thinking of starting a blog for my drawings and comic stuff.
Jun. 27th, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
I dunno, I think your film reviews are well written! :-) A blog to share artwork etc. sounds like a great idea. ^_^

I kind of wish I had a specific topic I could write about, then I might give it a go... but I agree, it's not easy! As it stands, though, I would probably end up writing random blah!
Jun. 27th, 2012 09:34 am (UTC)
I agree with everything you've just said, which unfortunately makes this response equivalent to clicking the 'like' button.
Jun. 27th, 2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
Haha! :-D But so much more eloquent! ;-P
Jun. 27th, 2012 01:31 pm (UTC)
There are a few blogs out there that I think are legitimately good--where the writing is worth reading, where the photos support the writing rather than overshadowing it, and where the photos are actually good rather than the sort of cutesy/deliberately blurry/aggressively trendy nonsense that is so common. So I guess this proves that blogging can be done well, but I'm not sure it can be done well by me. I would feel like I was showing off and/or faking it if I pretended to be an expert in any particular topic, and I totally agree with your point about 'lifestyles.' My blog could be all about the "urban-dwelling lesbian writer who likes to cook" lifestyle! Or perhaps just the "I'm a pretty ordinary person trying to go about my life" lifestyle.

I may end up having to start a blog someday--lots of writers do, particularly as publishing houses have less and less money to spend helping you promoting individual books--but for now I'm much happier with LJ. I still have an awareness of audience when I write here, but the whole enterprise feels much less calculated than blogging. It's still something I can do mostly for myself.

That's a bit of a long response, but I've been thinking about this stuff lately... :)
Jun. 27th, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
You are quite right; to be honest I aimed at an easy target there and it is partly sour grapes on my part!!

Maybe a certain kind of confidence is required to feel like you can or should put yourself out there in blogland... Like you, I would feel awkward and fake putting myself on an expert's pedestal, and what else is left except... lifestyle fluff?! It's odd, there are some people who have very little of substance to say, but still manage to be engaging and interesting. That is rare, though, and I don't think I'm one of 'em!

I imagine there must be blessings and curses in being obliged to keep a writer's blog. Self-promotion - daunting! But connecting with other writers and readers - bonus!

And there's a long response to your long response. :-D
Jun. 29th, 2012 06:08 am (UTC)
I have been thinking of starting a very specific blog on fragrance free products. I've been baulking because I question the bother of it, and making it look lovely, and writing balanced and yet somehow witty things about how bad a soap is :)
Jul. 1st, 2012 09:12 am (UTC)
Well, I'd read it! :-) Say no to parabens and sulfates! ;-P I'm sure you'd be able to make it look lovely (as for me, I'm clueless about that stuff!) and you write well. I always think it must be difficult to make review blogs entertaining unless you are regularly trying bad products. Tons of reviews saying "This is really good" or "This is ok" would need a certain percentage of "Well THIS SUCKS!!!" to provide variety! ;-) Mind you, there are plenty of dodgy products out there... all you need is the dedication to actually put them on your skin! >.<
Jul. 2nd, 2012 05:43 am (UTC)
:) That's it! I've also tried plenty of dodgy ones along the road before I even thought up the idea, so I'm definitely not keen to retry them! I would like to be entertaining, but not at the expense of getting into any hot water so I would err on the positive side, even it was really awful ;)
( 9 confidences — Confide in me... )

Eavesdrop, snoop, and sigh with yearning...

This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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