As much as I hate to be the grandpa frowning on everyone’s technologically advanced fun, I deep down believe that Facebook and Twitter represent humanity’s complete surrender to narcissism more than they represent anything else (as does Instagram and every other like invention).
And then we have the blog. What does this relatively young avenue of communication represent? Well, a lot of the time it sure seems to represent the “thinking man’s” social media. A lot of the time it seems to be an excuse to tell everyone about your morning jog while making it sound like a dissertation on health choices. I admit, I’ve been guilty of diving into the bubbling pools of such blogospheric insanity myself.
When I quit my office job to rededicate myself to writing and to true personal development, what did I do? I started a blog. Of course I did, because that’s what I was told a writer must do nowadays. Funny, I don’t see Stephen King and Jonathan Franzen and Michael Chabon blogging each night.
That’s right, because blogging seems to be what confused writers do when taking the advice of the Internet. And it isn’t just writers. Anyone unsure of the best way to develop/promote themselves in this day and age is told to do it. Because isn’t promotion of our own lives—not just of our own work—what people are supposed to do nowadays?
People lose 50 pounds and start a blog. People leave their oppressive jobs and start a blog. People go through bankruptcy and climb out of personal debt and start a blog. People experience personal hurt or a personal revelation of any sort, and they start a blog.
Imagine if grandpa had felt such pressure to reaffirm and/or celebrate his every personal step via modern-day channels: “Just took the first leap onto Normandy and the gunfire is insane. Stomach a little queasy, but legs okay for now. Wish me luck.”
Or, “Can’t believe how tough this factory is on my lungs. Here’s an Instagram of the right one. Please share.”
I guess it’s just a different world forever, so I should shut up and stop criticizing the same channels of promotion that I occasionally use myself. Nonsense.
I’m a guy who can be torn equally in two directions most of the day, but at night, in the throes of a little mind-clearing truth serum (i.e., St. Francis Lust Weissbier, 6.5 % alcohol by volume), I know that only one truth is the objective one. Once the dust has settled on the day, I know that blogging, like Facebooking (is that a word in Webster’s yet?) is at times primarily a narcissistic activity.
But maybe that isn’t a surprise for anyone besides me. Maybe others don’t mind narcissism as long as they can feed their own voyeuristic desires from it. Again, I’m not saying right or wrong, I’m just asking, What do you think about it?
Me, I’ll keep putting out blog posts every week or four, but I won’t do it with a smile on my face. Or will I, if I get enough likes?