Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Facebook and the Death of Blogging

Wow. So my dear brother Sam has shamed me into posting something here, and good for him for doing so. It's been nearly a year since my last post. I could come up with all kinds of excuses (and no doubt will in the near future), but suffice it to say that two kids is a whole lot more than one more than one kid (that sentence does not contain a typo). I've even let my blogging slack off considerably at my other home. Does this mean I'll pick up the slack now? I could promise that, but it would only make me feel slightly bad when I fail to live up to it.

Anywho, it occurred to me that there might be another culprit for my lack of blogging (and others' lacks, as well) (others' lacks? Really?). Let's face it, this past year has been rife with topics for ample discussion, almost more so than the previous year, what with a Democratic congress and the anti-Christ in the Oval Office and all. And yet getting the motivation to post something here or elsewhere has been my major bar to blog-worthy productivity. But then it struck me: I joined Facebook this year.

For those of you who don't use it (good for you!), Facebook allows one to post "status messages" that are visible to a select group of people, typically one's "Facebook friends". For those that actively participate in Facebooking, these status messages represent, for many, the lifeblood of the activity. Many people simply use the status updates to give a short, trite explanation of what they're doing or how they're feeling at that exact moment: So-and-so is baking his shoes. Who's-her-face is integrating Bessel functions. Joe Somebody has a case of the Mondays. And so on, ad nauseam.

Others, however, like to be a bit more declarative and informative in their status updates. For example, this morning, I posted the following status update:

And there we have the problem. From that one post, which was politically relevant, but both pithy and snarky, I received 20 comments in one afternoon. In short, I received all the adulation (such as it is) that blogging garners me, without having to write an in-depth, well-thought-out blog post, and I know it was viewed by many of my "friends", which I can't guarantee in the blog world since such posts would be in the wild-and-woolly blogosphere rather than the nice, contained format of Facebook status updates.

And this is a bad thing, I think.

See, before Facebook, an idea would pop in my head: a witty observation, a clever turn of phrase, a silly remark, etc. With no immediate outlet, that idea would marinate in my brain for awhile, accreting to itself more heft, until the idea turned into an itch. This itch would make itself known to my fingers, who would then go and type it up on the blog. But in the Facebook era, the glimmer itself has the outlet of the status update: and thus, my ideas never get the chance to mature into full posts, remaining in their larval stage.

What is the resolution to this conundrum? I'm not sure. I think I might be verging toward New Year's Resolution territory here. Perhaps I will self-impose a ban on putting anything meaningful in my status updates, to force myself to blog more. Perhaps I'll allow myself to update my status, but only AFTER a blog about the topic. Maybe I should pimp my blog more on my facebook page. But after it's all said and done, I should probably commit something into print so as to be held accountable for my productivity, so: I hereby solemnly swear that I shall put forth some amount of effort into considering the possibility of attempting to reverse the precipitous decline in my blogging output in some manner consistent with my own personal principles, notwithstanding any foreseen or unforeseen circumstances which may or may not hinder said effort. And that's a promise you can take to the bank!



Anonymous Chris said...

I think facebook and Twitter are like scattering seeds, but your blog posts are more like full grown oaks.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Assuming the oak doesn't die before it ever has a chance to take root. Clearly, I'm trying to remedy that.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

If you can resuscitate this sorry carcass, Ben, you can try out for the next doctor show on TV. (I know those shows are kind of passé now, but look what ER did for George Clooney.) One year, Ben! One year! It's like forgetting to feed your poor pet gerbils for a week, then guiltily and forlornly approaching the cage shaking your box of kibble.

4:33 PM  

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