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I read somewhere that there are something like 33 million blogs online. How many of them are active is up for debate, but you have to admit a lot of people are spewing their thoughts, ideas and imagination out into the blog-o-sphere.
The question that seems to be coming up over and over again is, "Yeah, so what?" Like Twitter and Facebook, blogs are just part of the stream of consciousness of humanity. I like to think my inner monologue is interesting and relevant, but most of what people get written down and posted online is somewhere between a therapy session and an acid trip -- relevant to the blogger, not so much to the reader.
I write something every day -- and you'll notice how rarely something ends up on my professional blog. Much of what I write is simply inspecting my own navel -- most people don't care about the amount of lint in my belly, but sometimes I get a brilliant idea when examining that little bit of fluff that seems to have no relevance to the universe.
As I mentioned in Emails, discussions, blogs, wiki and web content, blogs are what we believe "right now" -- they aren't the answers, and they aren't really the discussion. It's kind of like test-driving a car -- your ideas need a little road test before you completely commit to them.
The question I'm struggling with now is balance. Writing, reading other people's ideas, responding to those ideas, participating in a universe bigger than myself is... really distracting. How much we really learn from open introspection and how much we're just blathering is something that, unfortunately, I think remains to be seen.
There can be something almost cult-ish about the blogging world -- you build a core group of people who enthusiastically agree with you and you with them. You have literally billions of people to sift through to find that core group, which means, if there's someone out there for everyone, you're going to find someone and, hopefully more than one or two.
Which makes me wonder... do we really broaden our horizons by reading and participating in social media outlets like blogging, twitter and Facebook, or is it just so much inspecting our navels with an audience?
I'm just test-driving this idea, so don't be surprised if you see me driving around in an entirely different idea later...
Guest: Re: Inspecting my Navel Base
The evolution of blogs was circumvented by the emergence of Facebook and then Twitter.
I'd take issue with casting blogs into the "social media" category. They aren't much different than Editorials and Letters to the Editor, which we don't consider "social media." Facebook/Twitter are "social advertising networks" under the guise of being social human networks.
Will blogs recover and resume their evolutionary growth? Or, will blogs be devoured by the carnivorous social/ad networks, as human dialogue is reduced to Check-In notifications?
It depends on whether or not people give up on blogs, which still hold the promise of thoughtful discourse in the face of extinction.
Bruce Dickson: Re: Inspecting my Navel Base
You must have missed a recent edition of NPR's Fresh Air Michael (no doubt too busy at the time tweeting or blogging).
Latest science re-confirms old science that says there are limits to what the brain can in reality retain.
Trying to tak...e in too much information day in and day out (24/7), the way we have gone, actually causes a range of negative effects. One of them being reducing your capacity to retain and remember things!
So even if you did finally come across an interesting blog or tweet (yes, this is asking a lot), increasingly the chances are that you subsequently won't remember it! (Unless you happen to have a much younger and less 'full and overloaded' mind.)
Another key finding is that human brains are fundamentally keyed to focusing on and paying attention to one thing at a time. So all this nonsense about multi-tasking is just that ... it actually makes people less efficient, less effective and less productive according to most of the scientific findings!
And a final nugget for you which I know you will find personally relevant. The best way to release and foster your creativity is apparently to create a calm space where the mind is able to turn off all these extraneous inputs and 'noise'.
All common sense to me, just as not taking at least four weeks leave for vacation time each year is unhealthy and that doing so actually makes people more productive at work, not less!