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Topic Blog #1: Rob K On: Blogging

April 4, 2008 5 comments

So, I started a blog over at Blogger that was meant to be a “topic blog”. Every week or month or whatever, I would post a new blog about various topics. The idea went south when I realized two things:

1: There aren’t enough topics about which I’m passionate enough to write longwinded blog entries about.

2: I have very little talent as a writer.

Anyway, here’s the first blog on… Blogging. Yeah.

What better way to kick off this “Topic Blog” than with the topic of… Well, blogs.

Blogs have worn many very different hats over the years. It started as a form of online journal, where one can write whatever they want and post it for the world to read and judge them for. But since those humble beginnings, the term “blog” has taken on entirely new meanings. For example, in the media a “blog” is usually in reference to some sort of armchair political analyst who shares their views and opinions, as well as news and vital updates, with the world via their webpages. But it’s much more than that now.

There are political blogs, art blogs, photo blogs, even mobile blogs (moblogs), which are basically the same thing as photo blogs, only they’re updated from the road via your cell phone, or blackberry, or iPhone, or whatever other small mobile device you use (I feel old now). But that’s just the beginning. Now, blogs are seen as social networks.

The birth of sites like LiveJournal, MySpace, Friendster, Blogger, etc. have taken the blog from a way to share your thoughts with the world, to a way to make new friends and meet new people, all without ever leaving the comfort of your Laze-E-Boy chair.

Some call the birth of these social networks just another sign of the decline of humanity, claiming we, as a people, are descending a very slippery virtual slope into being nothing more than blobs of fat attached, by wires and keyboards, to the computer. Some even claim it’s the end of socializing as we know it. Me? I think it’s just another way to reach out and touch someone (whether you do so in a dirty fashion or not, is entirely up to you).

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a member of a few of these “Social Networks”. I have a MySpace page. I have a FaceBook account. You’re reading this blog on Blogger. But the difference between me and some others out there is this: I don’t take any of this too seriously. Even this blog, which is kind of a big deal to me, is not something I’m assuming will become a huge success with millions or thousands of even hundreds of readers. In fact, with my luck, I may be the only person reading this blog.

There are people out there who have crafted quite a niche for themselves by blogging, people with real talent in the arena of writing. People like authors Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton and Warren Ellis. The trick, I’ve deduced, to being great bloggers like these fine people, is that they simply do not take themselves seriously. The difference, however, between them and me, is that whereas we all blog like no one’s reading, in my case, it’s probably true. But that’s the life of a Blogger, these days; full of ups and downs.

My blogging career has seen many ups and downs over the years, as well. From the “LOL/OMG/WTF” phase, to poetry blogs, to lyric posts, to accounts of my daily life (no matter how boring it may be), my blog has gone through every change there is. I’ve run the gamut, man.

When I was fifteen, sixteen or maybe seventeen, somewhere in my “the world hates me and I’m going to kill myself” years, I discovered a little thing known as LiveJournal. LiveJournal, or “LJ” as the kids called it, was a godsend to an overweight teenaged slacker like me. It was an outlet, where I could record my thoughts, my dreams, my hopes and desires, all spaced out between the occasional entries featuring the lyrics of whatever Linkin Park song I was identifying with that week. I had no way of knowing what doors I had just opened. No way of sensing what kind of monumental exercise I was about to partake in.

The thought of millions of people having access to my ramblings never even crossed my mind. I was aware of it being a public page, I wasn’t stupid. But the fact that literally anyone from anywhere in the world could stumble across my page and read what I ate for lunch never really entered my mind. My LiveJournal was for me and the few friends who followed my exploits. The notion of anonymous readers was never an issue. But when that notion did come into play, everything changed.

I scrapped the journal that was full of LOLs and WTFs and depressed ramblings. I started a new one, a completely different layout, completely new user icons, completely new direction. This time, I wasn’t just writing for me and my friends. This time I was writing for the world.

Granted, to my knowledge, no one from “the world” read anything I ever wrote. But still, it was there. Just in case. I shared poetry, short stories, and accounts of my daily life. It was all out there, man. All of it, for any poor shmuck, on a laptop half a world away, to see.

During my time at LiveJournal, a new internet toy came onto the scene. The kids called it “MySpace” and it was a hit in a big way. The internet journal snob that I was, I shunned all things MySpace and continued to tweak and customize and update my humble LiveJournal. I stayed this way, happily tucked away in the virtual bosom of LiveJournal, for a few more years. Then I caved.

MySpace was such a new thing to me. It was everything LiveJournal never dreamed of being, both good and bad. It was less about baring of the soul and more about baring of the cleavage. That was probably the biggest reason I stayed away in the first place. Once I settled in, found a layout I liked and played around with all the shiny new toys, I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. I loved the blog features, I loved the ability to share comments with friends, and I even loved the bulletin feature. It just felt right. I’ve been blogging at MySpace for a few years now and will continue to do so. But I now feel like I need more.

That brings us here, to Blogger. I always thought doing a theme blog would be fun, but I could never decide on a topic. Would I blog about geek things? Video Games and Comic Books? No. No, too many of those out there already, most of which are far better than I could ever manage to do. TV and Movies? Music, maybe? Nah. I’m not enough of an expert on any of that. So the idea of writing a theme blog was postponed indefinitely. Until I realized one thing; who needs to be an expert?

It was at that moment I decided to write a blog about life in general, one topic at a time. This will be a first for me, writing about life in general and not just my life, so it should be fun.

In closing, a blog can be many things to many people. It can be an emotional outlet, it can be a conversation starter, it can be a way to share a little bit of yourself or your favorite music, movies or even important information with people you know, or even people you don’t know.

The only thing, regarding blogs, of which I am absolutely certain, is this; whether you’re reading them or writing them, it’s time well wasted.

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