Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Getting A Life

I've heard it expressed recently that blogging must neccessarily be trite and pathetic, because anyone with an actual life doesn't have time to blog. I suppose there's a small grain of truth in there, though it makes it hard to explain the blogs of people like Mark Cuban or William Gibson. I would counter with the idea that people who blog must have some sort of life, otherwise they wouldn't have anything to write about, though i guess the comeback to that idea basically writes itself.

The interpretation of the phrase "get a life" reveals a lot about the person interpreting it. I remember an interview years ago with Nicolas Negroponte, the director of MIT's media lab. One of his detractors had declared that he should "get a life", and Negroponte responded that at the time he heard the criticism he was dining on his yacht off the coast of Greece. By which response i assume he meant to say that he was living well and so he not only had a life, but a life that most would envy. I personally think the original comment meant to imply that Negroponte needed to get a "normal" life, i.e., a stressful job that required him to produce something useful in order to get paid, maybe a family, some crushing mortgage debt, the desire to drink a six-pack of Coors in order to numb his brain. Sort of: "walk in my shoes for a while and then maybe you'll understand how much i value electronic paper and wearable computers".

It's hard for me to argue against the notion that if you have time to blog you also have time to walk your dog, and that the latter is probably the more noble pursuit. But human beings don't seem to work that way. We all wander around to a greater or lesser degree within our hierarchy of needs. Blogging maybe fulfills the needs to exchange information and express one's self, particularly for those of us without the will or capacity to spend a lot of time in more face-face social situations. Since many blogs consist mostly of a compendium of links to other people's opinions or news stories, blogs also apparently serve as a way to express opinions without actually stating them. Blogging is the ultimate act of personalization, if i may borrow a buzzword from my industry. It's less about describing who you are than about describing how you want to be seen.

1 comment:

Postmodern Sass said...

I walk other people's dogs — I'm working on a story about it — and I make time to blog.

The people whose dogs I walk do not blog.

I'm not sure whether that means anything at all. I'm just sayin'.