Do I really care what so many people are saying? One out of every 10 US adults publishes a blog, according to a new study by Interpublic’s Universal McCann unit. Eighteen to 34-year-olds are even more prolific: one in five has a blog.
And while I’m sure Ben Franklin would be pleased that technology has finally put the power of the press in the hands of the people, there are a few things I just have to ask.
Does anyone care what bloggers are saying?
And who has the time, at work or at home, to read even a fraction of the words they write every day?
They’re awkward questions to ask, considering I’m posing them on a blog. But I’ve reached the conclusion there are too many words and too little time.
I can deal with information overload. Blogs, however, are more thoughts than information…full of the same random opinions I tune out at parties and ignore during conference calls, when I put the phone on mute and do something constructive, like play with my iPod or shell pistachios.
But blogs, unlike conference calls, don’t require me to call in at appointed times. So I have an even easier time ignoring them.
Unless the boss is blogging… what then? And what about co-workers and clients?
If we’re expected to produce a steady stream of business, much less hold on to a job, are we obligated to read everything our business associates or bosses write? And what do we do if we disagree with the points they make?
It was easy when business was business. But blogs make it personal, mixing business with opinion and giving too much insight into someone’s perspective on issues I probably would have never brought up in polite conversation.
If a blogger writes something offensive, do we address the message or pretend we never read it for the sake of business? And even if we opt to ignore it, is it really possible to put fundamental differences out of our minds or does knowing too much ruin the relationship?
If bloggers just blogged about business it would be one thing. But they’re more likely to reveal their perspectives on politics, religion, race, gender, age or some other classification protected by federal law. If we advise teens against posting their spring break pictures from Cancun on Facebook, then shouldn’t someone tell working professionals it’s a bad idea to voice controversial messages on their blogs?
The biggest thing I misunderstand about blogging is when so many people decided they liked to write.
I do…but still spent hours reading the course outline for every class I ever took in college in search, often in vain, for courses that did not require students to write research papers. I wasn’t alone. I had to wrestle those course outlines from the hands of the math and business majors, who were even more determined than me to avoid writing anything more than necessary.
But now 10 percent of the adult population is a writer. Even worse, they’re writers without editors. So the extraneous stream-of-conscious thoughts-the ones that spontaneously appear late at night or before the third cup of coffee in the morning-are never edited out of the essay. Nor are misspellings, grammar errors and other questionable use of language.
Blogging, of course, has its benefits. It offers a strange sense of anonymity, probably because so few people are likely to read what you write. You can be as trite or profound as you please, guarded or controversial. You can use a blog to test the ones you love, and create another issue about which to complain, as in
If you really cared about me, you’d read my blog.
I say that to friends and family sometimes, even though I know it’s an illogical suggestion. I know reading a blog has less to do with affection than time. But I don’t feel any obligation to make sense when I speak anymore. I just pretend I’m blogging.