Monday, December 7, 2009

blogging is a waste of time

(I've spent the last two weeks learning a semester's worth of political economy, hence no blogging. So rather than apologize for my absence I'll write a highly hypocritical post at an optimally unhypocritical time.)

Yes, I admit my raging hypocrisy. Not only do I waste hours on google reader every week keeping up on the latest just-deep-enough-for-two-paragraphs blogosphere conversation, I compulsively write my own trove of nonsense as well. It's a bad habit on a rampage. My cumulative blog output over six years is longer than Atlas Shrugged. I could be hundreds of hours younger if not for writing hundreds of thousands of words worth of an itch-scratching sort of pleasure.

But while I can't help subjecting the cybervoid to my thoughts every couple days (they should put that in DSM-V along with video games and shopping so I can blame an official medical condition) and wish I had a more useful addiction such as actually reading all those interesting papers on behavioral economics and political economy that might actually be useful to know about in my career, I even less understand the tendency of many potential bloggers in my generation who write in spurt(s), often about merely their intentions to write, and then agonize about not following through. From my perspective they might as well be announcing to the world "Hello world, I hereby vow to shoot up on heroine on a regular basis" and then following up repeatedly with "oh crap, it's been forever since I shot up on heroine... well this time I swear I will do it more often."

I assuage my guilty conscience with the partial justification that google reader keeps me a reasonably close approximation of an Informed Citizen of my society subset of choice, and that blogging actually does help me organize thoughts, which I find innately enjoyable even if there's no greater purpose for organizing those particular thoughts. But what enjoyment or purpose is there in forcing yourself to keep an online diary? It might make you nostalgically cringe when you're 80, that's about it. Dementia will do that too, and a lot more realistically.

So listen up young impressionables: Just Say No to livejournal, or you just might end up like me.

(Also video games, those are bad too.)


Eugene said...

Hmm, this is an interesting post from you, Vera.

I enjoyed reading your posts, and many posts come to mind from your previous blog (which has since been decommissioned, I guess).

Anyway, here are my thoughts on blogging.

1) No one is forcing you (i.e., the generic you) to blog. Just blog when you feel like it.

2) That said, if you have built up an audience/readership who have come to expect regular posts, then of course it's a good idea to post on a regular basis. I don't know how much readership matters to you though.

3) I strongly dislike blog posts or where the author announces that they will write about something in a future post. Even worse are those blog posts which apologize for an absence. Just cut those out. You can accomplish both things on your Twitter account ;)

And my general feeling about writing/posting (it's a bit different coming from posting daily entries on a photoblog, but I think the idea still holds): I post because I want to post. Sure, there is the element of keeping an audience engaged, but in the end, it comes down to me posting new entries because I enjoy doing it. The most important thing I've realized is that while posting on a regular basis is important, it's also important to be sane and reasonable about it.

I posted a picture a day, every day, for over 1,000 days on my photoblog. I knew that posting every day would be unsustainable, so earlier this year (April 2009), I stopped posting daily. I still post on a frequent basis, but I absolutely do not apologize for "lack of updates."

Not sure if there's anything to be gained out of this response, but I do want to thank you for writing, and I would like to see you continue. I think it was you who, through your blog posts, introduced me to Marginal Revolution and Freakonomics (both of which I now love).



somebody said...