Saturday, April 21, 2007

Blogging about Not Blogging

Blogging about not blogging, as I mentioned in my last post, has become very common. I'd be interested, actually, to obtain some kind of count on how many blogs out there are sporadically maintained primarily with posts about how long it's been since the blogger posted.

This morning, though, I had a revelation about the motivation not to blog (sometimes mistakenly interpreted as the lack of motivation to blog). I thought about a writer friend of mine--one who sends me a dozen or so funny emails a day--saying that she had nothing to say on her blog. I thought about the fact that I'm happily blogging nearly every day on my fake anonymous blog, and I never blog here. That I have a few topics to choose from every day over there, and have to think about what to write here.

Why is that?

Once upon a time I thought that the anonymity of the web allowed people to say things they couldn't back up or didn't want to take responsibility for or were afraid to admit in public, and I think to some degree that's true. But I think the anonymity does something else, too...something I hadn't considered. It removes the question "what was the point of that story?"

That question might be looming larger than usual in my mind right now, because recently a very close friend pointed out to me that my stories were always much longer than they needed to be. Undoubtedly true. I'm a writer. I stop and think during the stories that I tell--I suspect that I often digress into related 'backstory' I think is necessary to really paint an accurate picture, and so on.

But there's nowhere in the world that "why are you telling me this?" becomes more relevant than on a blog. On a blog, the story didn't arise as a part of a conversation. It isn't an answer to a question, or even just a means of passing time while sitting next to someone on an airplane. It's the blogger sitting down at his or her computer and saying, "Listen up world! I have something to say!"

Well, hell.

I don't have anything to say that's of that much interest, really. The early posts on this blog were observations that I thought might be useful to beginning writers, mostly. But I (like most bloggers, in my personal view) have nothing to say that warrants grabbing myself some cyber real estate and telling people I have something to say to them.

Why, then, am I such a prolific blogger on the secret anonymous blog? I think it's not so much that I don't want to be associated with what I say there as that I can't really see any purpose in saying it. Over there, I'm experimenting with search terms and traffic and linking--it's a learning experience, and the "purpose" for every blog post is that I have to keep it active and keep the topics varied in order to learn what I need to learn from it. I'm not writing for anyone to read, and I don't think about whether or not anyone IS reading it. I don't need to wait around for something that's worth saying, "Listen up, world!" for, because I'm not writing to be read, I'm writing for data.

And if you weren't doing that, weren't trying to market something, weren't relating a rare experience or a critical warning...well, how often do any of us tens of thousands of bloggers really have reason to say, "Listen up, world!"?

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