this blog is girtby.net

Posted
08 December 2004

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Why Bother?

Way back when I started this humble web-log I had intended to write down exactly why I bothered to set it up. The reasons for documenting the answer to the "why bother?" question are pretty similar to the reasons for setting up the blog in the first place, namely: for my own amusement.

More precisely, blogging about something forces you to think "hmm, now is that really true?" It's easy to form half-baked opinions from half-remembered factoids which you can then spout off in ordinary conversation, and get away with it. Hey, I do it all the time. Or at least I think I get away with it.

On the Internet, it's not that easy to get away with it. The reasoning is: Google, archive.org, and the Internet at large, don't seem to forget. There's a small but non-zero chance that your idiotic spray will be preserved for all past, present and future bosses, wives, family members, co-workers, priests, plastic surgeons, therapists and insurance companies. One day one of them will come across your admission that you watch Australian Idol religiously, or photos of your cat's birthday party, or your predeliction for pictures of Japanese women's undergarments, or your too-detailed critique of the movies of Rodney Dangerfield (R.I.P.), or ... do I really need to go on? (all hypothetical examples of course).

To me, the blog has a certain air of permanence which implies that whatever you put out there needs a bit more care than the typical throwaway comment at the dinner table. To me, this means two things: you need to think about what you blog (yeah yeah), but also you need to maintain a degree of anonymity.

It's the thinking and researching which is actually the fun part and the reason for blogging in the first place. Given an idea for a blog post, it's fun to first go away and validate your original idea. It's surprising how often your initial assumptions can be incorrect. Or maybe the situation is just more complex than originally imagined. I've had a few blog post ideas go on the back burner after a lot of research trying to get to the bottom of a certain topic, and failing. Hey there's a lot more in Rodney Dangerfield's movies than you might think.

The degree of anonymity that I have chosen is simply to not reveal my last name. This is just an insurance policy really. Let's say I have too much red wine one night and rant mercilessly about the evils of, I dunno, Rupert Murdoch say. Come to think of it, that wouldn't require much red wine. But anyway it would certainly make things awkward when in five years time I go for a job interview at News Limited, and a Google search brings my indiscretion to light. As it stands now, just about everyone reading this will know my last name anyway, and if you don't know it, it won't matter.

So that partially answers the question of why I decided to leave some of my own footprints on the information superhighway. But who is going to read the bloody thing? Why not just read about stuff you're interested in, form provocative views, and bore people at dinner parties with them, like a normal person does? I guess the short answer is that the blog hopefully provides some amusement for my friends and makes me look witty, erudite, pansophic, and .. umm ... whatever. So I don't have any grand visions of becoming the next boingboing.

Now it's confession time. I am vain. I like to read my own stuff. Yes it's true, please bask in the warm glow of my ego. I confess to enjoying the occasional idle sojourn through old blog posts, particularly once you've forgotten about them. 'S fun, like reading old emails. This is another big part of the urge to blog.

Lastly of course, playing around with webware is fun. It's geek appeal that you probably either already understand or don't give a fuck about, so I'll shut up now.

3 Comments

Posted by
Chris
2004-12-08 22:11:21 -0600
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Surely you do it for my entertainment? :P

I have to agree with your rationale. I'm here to participate; to walk and talk in the 'sphere. I'm not here to become some seminal work for a new ways to think.

Playing with webware is fun. Participation is fun. Self-examination of what catches your interest enough to spend the effort to blog about it is interesting. Winning the arms race with comment spammers for 10 minutes is invigorating. Getting 10 emails a month from GoDaddy.com saying "if you don't want to transfer your domain to us then don't respond to this email" is ... priceless.


Posted by
Melissa
2004-12-08 22:11:21 -0600
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I appreciate that you keep this blog going and allow comments. To me feedback is an interesting part of a blog.


Posted by
bjkeefe
2004-12-08 22:11:21 -0600
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These are all good reasons for having a blog. (I know, because I share them.) They are also especially well-expressed, nearly on par with Steve Yegge's (sorry, I forget the link to the exact post.)

I especially liked "I confess to enjoying the occasional idle sojourn through old blog posts ...," because I thought I was the only one who liked rereading my own old stuff.

One less thing to worry about!