I’m ambivalent about the value of blogs. Not the value of communication, certainly not the value of writing. I write everyday, and I write everything. Supervisors and colleagues notice (and query and tease). My partner says I make more notes than anyone else he’s ever known. I’ve written since I was 12 years old; it’s how I know what I think. Writing objectifies my experience, allowing me more, better perspective. And writing serves the function of best friend without having to bore my actual best friend with the tedious but necessary side trips between ordinary Monday curmudgeonlyness, and brilliance. Which is another way of saying – most of what I write, most of what I think, is crap. Crap processed becomes interesting, sometimes. That processing, for me, takes place in draft after draft, over years and years, that never gets seen. Consequently, most of my ideas never have a life outside my mind at all and that’s a good thing.
You might suspect an overzealous critical faculty, that surely I have more worthwhile ideas than make it past my trashcan. You might be right (that pesky editor). But, in a world full of solid thinkers, solid writers, I’m loathe to add something mediocre to the mix. You don't need to be particularly interested in information trends to note the terrible volume that needs to be digested in order to stay current in our varied roles. There’s too much coming from “official” sources for to keep track; honestly, I’m overwhelmed by the idea of keeping up with blogs as well. I resist: I don’t have time. Not to weed through all that each person that can hit send might have to say about It, whatever it is.
Now, in this argument with myself (and with my colleagues, no mean writers themselves), I go right to the myriad articles and news stories that have shown up recently on how blogging challenges conventional notions of journalism, the control of repressive, censoring governments and how corporate blogs provide insight into a corporation’s culture (This article, published by Intercom, is available to members only. E-mail me if you’re interested and I will obtain permission to give you a copy.). I’m sure the topic has arisen elsewhere and I’ve missed it.
And those are all good things. I especially like the idea of a less closed commercial publishing world, particularly right now when I’ve got to truck back into Denver to return a copy of a book I found unreadable despite the hype. I’m frustrated and suspicious when badly written books that happen to be written by fashionable critics get a lot of good press. I wonder if the critical community – yes, those same that I rely on to do some information filtering for me – are pandering, afraid getting the treatment Jonathon Franzen recently got. Maybe blogging, like self-publishing, provides a way for ambitious thinkers with interesting ideas to make it past Them and become available to Us.
But I’m not sure. This is only draft three, I’ll let you know where I get with these thoughts in a year. Or two. In the meantime, I’ve learned to use this technology. Check that off my list. Whew.
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