Bandwagons: The blogger’s downfall… jump on board and unless you have something utterly unique to say about what everybody else is saying, you just merge into the background noise. It’s unsatisfying and leaves a sense of unfulfillment, a wholly understandable outcome if – as can all too frequently be the case – the only reason we clambered aboard in the first place was to grab hold of the easy option. Perhaps forgiveable: A slow news week, a few days when the well of inspiration has run dry, or just general fatigue and world weariness can be all the reason we need to churn out what everybody else is also churning out… the same words, just a slightly different order and perspective. And, if you do have something different to say from the madding crowd, the chances are it’ll never see the light of day; drowned out in the morass of garbled white noise spawned by the bandwagon machine.
It can make the blogosphere a very bland and disaffected place, although it’s always handy if you’re short on time, to know you only have to read one or two of your favourites and know you’ve pretty much got the whole of the bigger picture.
Very occasionally however, something rather odd happens – a common theme will emerge spontaneously and flourish briefly – an opportunity to hear wildly disparate voices sharing their wisdom and insight in their own unique and special way. No bandwagon, but a collective of storytellers narrating individual threads of a plot that no-one has planned. Today, as I skim through the pantheon of blogs that forms my regular list of favourites it seemed that a whole host of bloggers are blogging about the art of blogging, in just this fashion… Nobody set the ball rolling, nobody themed it, memed it or otherwise determined that this would be international ‘Let’s Write About Blogging’ week, nevertheless the mysterious forces that direct the flow of the information superhighway have created that altogether special and precious moment when blogs converge.
Until some jerk like me notices, and decides to bandwagonise.
My only excuse is that it’s not something I’d normally do and – for no obvious reason – I felt a strong compulsion to write on the same topic. The root cause of that may well be that reading about other peoples’ experiences of blogging, their reasons and rationale for what they do, is a stark reminder to me that even after over four years of typing away at this thing, there are still two questions I’m still unable to answer:
- What is this blog about?
- Why do I blog?
OK, perhaps the first question is a little misleading – the blog is broadly based around SL, and most of the stuff I post is linked to or directly related to it, but then it’s also an outlet for a host of other things too… stories, drabbles, thoughts on real life, snatches of poetry and all sorts of other garbage that are basically just the outpourings of a slightly deranged, but (hopefully) fairly rational, mind. It’s very much a case of ‘have blog, will splurge’.
I know quite definitely what this blog is not: It is not a tutorial, repository of knowledge or fanzine for SL – it may indeed have elements of all those things occasionally, but that isn’t its raison d’être for being. Similarly, it’s not a review of SL fashion, objet d’art, home ‘n’ wares or desirable destinations – there are more than enough blogs out there to cover those worthy causes and, besides, I have absolutely no interest in pursuing those particular avenues.
It’s certainly not an attempt to secure my fifteen minutes of fame. I’ve never sought to publicise, promote or otherwise raise the blog’s profile – compare this blog with most others of a similar age and you’ll invariably find that if success is rated by followers, hits or traffic, I’m way down at the very bottom of the league table, and that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Neither do I care about all that peripheral stuff… likes, reblogs, comments and their kin. I know that sounds horribly disingenuous, which I don’t mean to be at all: I really do love it when people connect with what I write and it’s wonderful to receive comments – to be absolutely honest, I still get surprised that anyone reads this, so when someone takes the time and the trouble to respond, it’s a real treat, but all that clicking of buttons, thumbs-upping and the usual fare that you’ll find on almost any website these days baffles me. I don’t know what a ‘like’ button does, and if you click one, although you’ll certainly evoke a big beaming smile from me, it’ll be followed by a mild panic attack as I torture myself wondering what on earth I’m supposed to do in response!
Let’s move on to the second question: Why do I blog?
No, really, I don’t.
I never set out to, and I never wanted to. I only started because an inworld acquaintance had a blog and I thought I’d give it a go. As fate would have it, it was blogging that completely poleaxed any sort of friendship between us when she wrote about a mutual friend in rather unflattering terms, which I happened to mention to said friend in passing. Cue one of the most bizarre exchanges I’ve ever had in SL:
[16:46] Serendipidy Haven: that was before you called her a wotsit lesbian carnivore
[16:46] Crazy Blogger: oh please tell me she doesnt know about that
[16:46] Crazy Blogger: you didnt tell her surely
[16:47] Serendipidy Haven: erm
[16:47] Serendipidy Haven: i might have mentioned it while you were in the loo!
[16:47] Crazy Blogger: WHAT
[16:47] Serendipidy Haven: she thought it was hilarious!
[16:47] Crazy Blogger: oh my god
[16:47] Serendipidy Haven: hey – she’s fine about it
[16:47] Serendipidy Haven: agreed actually
[16:47] Crazy Blogger: no no,
[16:47] Crazy Blogger: wtf?
[16:48] Crazy Blogger: you told her something i wrote in private??
[16:48] Crazy Blogger: thanks a f*cking lot
[16:48] Crazy Blogger: f*ck you
[16:48] Serendipidy Haven: pardon?
[16:51] Crazy Blogger: you dont just f*cking tell someone, something i wrote in confidence
[16:51] Crazy Blogger: what kind of sh*tty person does that
[16:51] Serendipidy Haven: in confidence — on a f*cking blog?
[16:52] Crazy Blogger: f*ck off
Moral of this story: never under-estimate the power of words written publicly, (or the idiocy of some SL residents)
So here I am, over four years and more than a million words later, and I still don’t really know why I do it, other than it feels wrong not to, even though it can be damn hard work. Those who have never tried blogging have no real idea of the time, effort and emotion that goes into each and every post – and I don’t put nearly as much effort and dedication into this as many other bloggers do.
At the end of the day, there must be something that compels me to write the nonsense I spill on these pages. I think the real answer is possibly the same reason that I find SL so absorbing. It’s the same reason that I don’t bother reading other blogs that are solely geared to reviewing fashion, or blogs that blandly bandwagon and memetate; those blogs in whose pages you’ll never find an original thought or connect with the consciousness of their authors. The only blogs – even those about SL – that interest me are those that communicate the essence of the person writing them.. the reality behind the illusion. Just as in the real world and the imaginary world of SL, I’m far more interested in the people – their thoughts, ideas, fears and emotions – than in the things that surround them. And, just maybe, that’s what my own blog is all about.
You see, this is me. These are my thoughts, dredged up from where they would otherwise lie hidden away forever. They deserve to be let out to play, and if you want to be their playmate, well I’m not going to stop you from joining in, after all, it’s kinda fun.
Not every thought will be a priceless gem – many will be base metals, lacklustre and everyday, but I’m ever the hopeful alchemist, living in the belief that perhaps one day those dull and prosaic thoughts, combined in some strange and exotic way, will be the ingredients that, combined and refined, might somehow produce pure gold.
Or maybe it’s just words.
Please don’t be a stranger in my place
What if I could be what you wanted me to be
What if I could see what you wanted me to see
Come on and show me
Paper Lions – Travelling