I have decided that when I become Ruler Of The Entire Known World (Except Venezuela), I shall make the act of writing pontificating, self-important articles about blogging punishable by death. Slow, painful, gruesome death — preferably carried out by elves armed with lethal cocktail sticks and small packets of lard.
This evil thought came into my head earlier today when I received a link to this article in my inbox: Linked Out: blogging, equality and the future. The email was accompanied by a comment suggesting that the article might interest me, because I Is A Blogger And That.
Now I will freely confess (albeit with a heavy heart and no shortage of embarrassment) that there was a time when, yes, such a piece would have enthralled me, captivated me and convinced me that we were all pioneers on the road to the Promised Land of Blog Nirvana. But now? Well, as is so often the case these days, I found that I had lost the will to live by the end of the second paragraph. I carried on reading, but then became fascinated by the plant standing next to my desk. Too many distractions from such an entirely tedious piece of text. Oh look, an article about blogging. Yawn. Oh, and there’s another article about blogging over there. Jibber. And strike me down if that isn’t yet another article about blogging (and the amazing thing is, it’s not even in The Guardian this time). I would be so proud, if only I could keep my eyes open and retain any semblance of interest.
In the past couple of years, we’ve been spoon-fed the self-important aggrandisements of blogging as journalism, blogging as diaries, blogging as community, blogging as <insert cultural phenomenon of your choice here>; yet to my knowledge, there have never been articles on blogging as gardening, blogging as DIY, blogging as popular TV sitcom or blogging as high art.
I think that’s very significant.
Blogging — give or take a few variants — is somebody putting their own words on a web page. This is not rocket science, kids. You no longer even need to know that secret web language of strange acronyms and miscellaneous ampersands that kept it all much more exclusive in the Good Old Days. Get over (y)ourselves, we’re really not that important in the general scheme of things.
And shall I tell you how I know we’re not really that important in the general scheme of things?
(Say “Yes, Vaughan” — humour me when I’m in a bad mood).
That’s the right answer. Thank you.
Well — deep breath — we’re not really that important in the general scheme of things because, if you were to conduct an instant straw poll of the next thirty people you meet, a significant percentage of them would neither know nor care what a weblog is. They still wouldn’t know what you were talking about if you offered them the shortened form of the word — ‘blog’. They would remain entirely in the dark if you shouted it with gay abandon whilst jumping up and down on one leg in an excited and scarily child-like fashion: “Blog! Blog! Blog! Blog!” And they definitely wouldn’t know what the bleeding hell you were babbling on about if you said the word ‘blog’ in a supposedly amusing foreign accent — i.e. “bleurgh”. Try it, and then tell me I’m not right.
And what about if you asked another thirty people — yes, I know I’m making the assumption that you meet a lot of people, but stay with me here — whether they actually maintain a weblog. Let’s be honest, we’re talking responses somewhere between blank faces, open-mouthed stares and tumbleweed, aren’t we? Not to mention threats of violence if you don’t stop bothering people in the streets by saying a funny word and trying to gauge their reaction.
(Disclaimer: I appreciate that the highly unscientific poll outlined above would result in exceptionally different and possibly even hideously deformed figures if everyone you were to meet was either a geek or a blogger. Or both. But — hey, call me an old romantic — I have in my mind’s eye the vision of a bustling suburban street filled with happy children, bicycling vicars, whistling milkmen, skateboarding nuns, assorted drug addicts and one very confused old lady with a shopping bag on wheels. Not many of them would be bloggers, I’d wager).
There was a point to this post, but I seem to have permanently mislaid it. Believe it or not, I actually started out earlier this evening with the intention of writing about something completely different — something deep and meaningful and insightful. Hey, analyse that, Mr Chin-Stroking Weblog Commentator.
I think what I’m trying to say — oh dear, you can tell it’s all going horribly wrong when I need to resort to using a phrase like that — is that the Profound Blogging Article has now reached a state of meltdown. I’m bored. I’m sure you’re bored too (and don’t disagree with me, because I will not accept dissent at this point in my rambling soliloquy). If you think about blogging as no more or no less than someone writing their own words on a web page, it becomes rather less fascinating, doesn’t it? (Mysteriously — and annoyingly — it also retains an air of fascination, but in a quite different way that I won’t talk about now because it spoils the clean lines of my faultless argument. Get back to me on this one).
Failing that, we could write about trees. Or clouds. Or kittens. Or the fact that I’m very tired, slightly hyper, should never have started this post in the first place and will regret it in the morning, and should really set about the task of getting some sleep. Now. (Oh, but wait a minute, we can’t write about that, because that would be promoting the theory of blogs as diaries. Damn).
That loud noise you just heard was probably the sound of me shooting myself in the foot. Never mind, I was never too keen on those toes.
You may now pontificate at your leisure, but please do so quietly.