Blog Culture is weird. If I put my organization psychologist hat on, I know I only think it’s weird because I don’t fully understand it – yet. My gut tells me that once I understand it I will actually realize it's “batshit insane”. I really want to know who coined that one? In one day it appeared on the posts of two of my favorite bloggers, which you can read here and here. “Batshit insane” I just want to say it over and over. It cracks me up. Batshit insane – I love it!
Here are some of the surprising and weird things I have discovered about the blogosphere:
1. People plagiarize ideas for posts if not the actual verbiage. Plagiarize might be the wrong word but it’s clear that ideas here feed inspiration there. I think the proper etiquette is to give the person you got the idea from credit like I did here. I have a plagiarism sensitivity chip on my shoulder from way back into my childhood when I would tell my little sister jokes to make her laugh until her ribs ached. Ultimately she would tell MY jokes at the dinner table as if they were her own. Ok – I am a middle child – can’t I at least be the funny one? Like I said, it’s an old chip. It’s my cross to bear in life and its sole purpose is to insidiously breakdown my ego whenever it gets out of control.
2. There are cliques in the blogosphere. I don’t know why that surprised me – but it did. Biz Stone calls them weak ties. Weak ties are the crux of information networks. In this sense the blogosphere is one big brain. I am starting to see how ideas take root and travel at hyperspeed across cyberspace. It’s so interesting in a geeky PhD OP student kind of way.
3. The blogosphere is vast. This is not a surprise to me. I knew it would be big. I have heard figures thrown out like 4.5 thousand new blogs conceived every minute. That's a heck of alotta blogoception going on! I have no idea if that is true. I do know there are more blogs than one person can get through in a day or even a year.
4. For all this blogging, it is still relatively unknown en masse to older generations. And, sadly, by that I mean - my generation. I do see a lot of Genxers blogging. I wonder if they, like me, have worked in high tech. Outside of this group, however, many of my smart, dynamic, wonderful friends are like, “Ah yes, yes, Blogging, it’s the wave of the future.” Ahem – it’s so already here. Or they say, “You blog? Isn’t that like spilling your guts in public? I don’t think I could ever do that.” Luckily, as we bloggers know, you can totally control the gut spillage unless you are a true blogaholic who is ready for Betty Ford. I was surprised how many of my non-techie friends seem a bit put off and definitely felt themselves up against a learning curve when I said to them, “You should blog! I would read you every day!” Kripes if a 70 something Brit can do a You Tube video blog, I think my friends can do a Blogger.com, made for the hopelessly non-tech savvy blog.
5. Knowing a little HTML helps. Yes, this statement just completely obliterates the last sentence of the paragraph before this. Here is what some of the silly stuff looks like when I write it: F@#K S#K%!
But it’s true. If you really want a cool, dooce-quality blog you need to customize it. You need to go beyond Blogger.com. You have to get into WordPress or Typo and then fix the issues with your template by inserting the right HTML commands. If anyone out there knows of a good HTML book, please let me know. I just can’t bear to get HTML For Dummies out of the library. Why start learning from someone who is already beating you up? I will need lots of positive feedback at all times if I am going to tackle something like HTML.
6. Bloggers that you initially found to be extremely humorous are only mildly so after you read them for a while. I am sure my blog is included. Reading a great many blogs is like watching a lot of TV. In my experience when I don’t watch TV for a really long time, and I have gone years, once I do watch it, it’s really funny. Commercials are just hilarious in a batshit insane kind of way. (Had to use it again.) I think blog reading is like that. You need to step back so you don’t over do it. I try to help others with this issue by not posting everydamnday! Take a break, give your brain a rest and then come back to Ryn Tales and it will all seem so much better. I guarantee it. And notice how I don’t say better than it actually is? I say this because in my world reality is constructed. Yep, make of it what you like. Know that in holding this view, and being a tad OCD about it, I feel the necessity of going back into old posts to add pictures, delete errors or add thoughts like this one.
7. There is a lot of heart and courage in the blogosphere. I am really impressed with the willingness of people to share their stories with such honesty and clarity. I have been especially helped by the bloggers who write about life with disability. The Gimp Parade recently made me consider Ellie’s life, as it is, in a new way. That may sound odd, but go ahead and read the header on The Gimp Parade and if you think you can still judge the truth of it after that let me know.
8. I think blogging on a regular basis, like journaling, can give you greater clarity and perspective on your life. The big difference is, of course, that there are always readers out there to add to your newfound perspective by letting you know you are batshit insane (I couldn't resist). That is way more dynamic than journaling. For the record, if I read your blog and I think you are full of shit, I won’t email you or comment. I will just keep it to my lurking self.
There is a lot more to be learned from the blogosphere I found in my petri dish, but that’s it for tonight. Goodnight to all my loyal lurkers!