Tuesday, October 18, 2011

‘Blogging comes straight from the lizard brain’

P.J. O'Rourke on Blogging, Facebook and Twitter

“Very little that gets blogged is of very much worth.” Hey, don’t look at me, I didn't say it. P.J. O'Rourke, the well-known American satirist, journalist and author said it in an entertaining interview to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in July 2010, the month that Facebook announced that its users had reached 500 million. I only happened to stumble across his interview 14 months later.

On Facebook touching 500 million: Had you told me that 500 million people last week wrote their name on the bathroom wall with a magic marker I would be equally impressed by the number, but I don't think that I would be favourably impressed. 

On Twitter: There's small talk, and then there's very, very small talk, and then there's Twitter. I don't see the need or the benefit.

On Blogging: I don't care much for blogging because it is undigested thinking, because it comes straight from the heart, or the lizard brain, or the mouth without due consideration. Very little that gets blogged is of very much worth. Almost everything should be thought over. Don't we all know it from things that we've said to our spouses? That you should think twice before you say anything.

Blogging is very selfish. I mean, if you want a true picture of what somebody's thinking at a moment, kick them and see what they say. You'll get a blog. You'll get a tweet. You'll get a brief expression of how somebody feels at a given moment. But communication is all about the other person. It's not about the person who is communicating. It's about the person who is listening, or receiving, or viewing. And blogging is very self-indulgent. It's all about me. It isn't about the person who is reading the blog.

There’s more of this hilarious stuff at http://www.rferl.org/content/PJ_ORourke_Very_Little_That_Gets_Blogged_Is_Of_Very_Much_Worth/2107985.html

Me: Is that why they call Facebook — Two-Facedbook; Twitter — Titter; and Blogging — Bogging?

What do you think of P.J. O'Rourke’s take on the social media of the 21st century? No doubt, he has touched a raw nerve or two but he has raised a pertinent issue or two as well.

Whether O'Rourke is really serious or pulling our leg, I can’t say. What I can say is that I don't entirely disagree with him, especially the part where he says blogging is “selfish” and “self-indulgent” — two fine conscience-stinging words in the dictionary. There is some truth in it. I took a self-analytical blog quiz and look what I came up with…

01. Do I lose sleep over blogging, and wake up with a non-drinker’s hangover in the morning?
A: Yes

02. Do I blog when the rest of the family is spending time together, watching television or talking over the day’s events?
A: Occasionally

03. Do I check my blog several times a day, to see if it will win the Best of Blog awards?
A: Yes

04. Do I write a blogpost virtually any time of day or night, in office, at home or wherever?
A: Yes

05. Do I feel that if I don’t post daily my “followers” will lose interest in my blog, and so will I?
A: Yes

06. If it weren’t for blogging would I have spent as much time posting, and wasting my precious little time?
A: No

07. If blogging wasn’t around would I have written fewer but much better pieces, like I used to in the good old days?
A: Yes

08. Do I scroll down to the “comment” link less than an hour after a post, even if the only person who is reading my post is me?
A: Yes

09. Do I keep one eye cocked on the “visitor counter,” like my commission depended upon it?
A: Yes

10. Did I really have to post this, when I could have written a decent piece for my paper instead?
A: No...wait, yes! 

I can’t run a similar quiz on Facebook and Twitter because I subscribe to neither. Now, really, I’m not all that “selfish” and “self-indulgent” as P.J. O'Rourke says. But do you think he’ll read this post? 

Even if he doesn’t I intend to follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pj.orourke.author and on Twitter at twitter.com/PJORourke!

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