I have re-trained as an internet lurker. Every day without fail I spend time in my study going along the highways and byways of Google land. It is a full time job. I have the assistance of an application that allows me to follow a regular track of contributions that meet my selection criteria. Mostly news feeds but with a fair sprinkling of blogs. Visits to these have unearthed other sources that do not get incorporated into my Bloglines; these are favourited and frequently direct me deeper with their links.
Quite frequently, I find myself reading something that started out as having the potential to interest but, as line follows line, I find myself querying just why the hell the writer thought anyone could muster interest in their offerings. Why the heck do people blog anyway? I see blogging as a separate art form with its own rules and structure. A blog is not a diary or journal, it is not a Letter to An Editor neither is it a newspaper article.
My favourite answer as to why blog? is the one that it gives people a voice. All too often we find ourselves seeking some way to confirm we are live individuals and not the vast amorphous collection of frog spawn that the Government would like us to be. We want to have a say. Not just the 15 minutes according to Warhol but a regular appearance in the amber glow of the spotlight. They may be seeking to justify themselves - Belle de Jour maybe? Those facing a harrowing journey where writing shone light into some very dark areas.
Then there are those who rage at the machine - an excellent summation here:
"Of course we believe in freedom of speech," say members of the establishment, "we believe in freedom of speech even for those who say things we hate. Freedom of speech, after all, is a pillar of modern, liberal, society."
Yeah right. There was never such a thing as freedom of speech. In order to speak freely you had to have access to a printing press, a newspaper, a radio or a TV station. And everywhere you had to get past the editors. Only an elite ever did the articulate and well-behaved representatives of ordinary people. But ordinary people themselves never had a chance to speak publicly. Not until now. Today the internet revolution -- led by a ragtag army of bloggers has given us all a chance to be irreverent, blasphemous and ungrammatical in public. We can reveal secrets, blow whistles, spill beans, or just make stuff up.
Of course the old elites don't like it. Of course they really, really hate it. Blogs are shut down left, right and center, and bloggers are silenced, reprimanded and fired from their jobs. Suddenly modern liberal society reveals a repressive face few of us knew existed. Should we behave ourselves? Should we fall silent? Hell no! Let's call them on their hypocrisy. Let's demand that modern liberal society lives by the principles it claims to embrace. Bloggers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your gags.
That declaration speaks volumes to me. Obviously, not all bloggers have such high ideals and ambitions but I can sustain quite a lot of rubbish if just one in a thousand has the drive recorded here. So - blog on, That which does not kill me makes me stronger.