What is the point of a blog? Is it that the blogger thinks whatever point of view or opinion they have is so compelling that everyone should read it? For years I have thought that and resisted blogging specifically for that reason. In fact, I am still not sure that my reason is unflawed, and yet here I am yelling into the world wide web look at me, read me, I have important news that no one else will dare point out.
To say that I have resisted blogging is only partially correct. I blogged offline once, it was a file full of weekly thoughts that few were allowed access to and even fewer read. By the time someone suggested I turn it into a blog I ran out of time and lost some interest in continuing. I called it my Weekly Award for the Most Stupid Person Not Named Michael Moore. Each week it contained the antics of some public figure that was completely asinine and no one called them on. In spite of the name, Michael earned it more then once. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were multiple winners, as was Jacques “Iraq” Chirac. Some of his antics are why I no longer capitalize france. It was all back in the heady days of California’s recall of Gray Davis, a common subject. In fact, my offline blog had a feature that was the recall update for quite some time.
More recently, I tried my hand at blogging politically. Yes, my WAFTMSPNNMM was oftentimes political, but this was on a site dedicated to political blogs from each state. It was supposed to have a monetary incentive to it, but apparently I did not set up the account right because I never saw a dime. That was not why I stopped, but it factored in. Mostly I stopped because of the feelings previously mentioned.
I have been an active viewer and user online since the late 80s. The days of Commodore 64 and 300 baud modems were when I started. If neither of those mean anything to you count yourself lucky. It was the 5 ¼” floppy disk days and was a mere step above actually putting the phone receiver into a piece of equipment like Matthew Broderick in War Games. If that reference is too far back for you then just suffice it to say slow was an understatement. We were thrilled when the 600 baud modems came out, and imagine the speed of a Commodore 128 and a 1200 baud modem—hog heaven. Anyway, they had a system called Q-Link with local access numbers that really seemed to be the start of online chat rooms. It was the start of the emoticons, cybersex, instant messages, email (when it still needed the hyphen) and paying for access by the minute. You could only connect with other Q-Link members, but there were plenty all over the country.
One interesting companion program was called Club Caribe. In Club Caribe you had an actual cartoon avatar, though no one called them avatars or cartoons. Instead of just a text interface, you could see yourself and others and travel through rooms collecting objects and such. Kind of like a rudimentary Mii when the most advanced Nintendo product was just called a Nintendo. Interest in this sidebar of Q-Link had peaked before I found it. When you are working on computers with 64 kilobytes of memory with no permanent internal hard drive storage it just takes too long to communicate. So I would wander around a deserted virtual world searching for something to do.
There was a nightclub in the world of Club Caribe. I don’t recall the name of it, but I recall one night going into the deserted room and taking the stage. I typed, “Thank you, thank you. It’s so good to be back here at the Death de Lake Club. We’re going to do a little number now called Shama Lama Ding Dong, so hit it.” Some may recognize Otis Day of Otis Day and the Knights opening line from the road trip in Animal House, some may not. Unlike me, Otis had a crowd. By the time I got done, I noticed someone had come in and left again. I had never felt quite so stupid, or felt stupid for a more stupid reason.
Until now, I equate blogging on some level with walking into an empty room, picking up a microphone and shouting. It does no good without an audience, but until you pick up the microphone and start talking how will anyone know you have something worth saying?
Well, that’s being kind, even now I equate blogging with walking into an empty room, picking up a microphone and shouting. It’s just that now I’m in an empty room with a microphone in my hand and we are about to see how loudly I can talk.