Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Temptation To Tweet

As I survey the new year and reconsider mon vie on-line ("en ligne"? Really?) I'm wondering if Twitter mightn't clear out some of the scragglier brush that the year inevitably acquires.

I can identify two chief purposes to this blog: (1) self-publishing bits and essays that would have had a tough time finding their way to the printed page due to unorthodoxy of subject matter or format; (2) personal smoke signal -- a small sign that all was comparatively well for yours truly, that I was at the very least mulling over something, albeit something fairly trivial. That second function became the bulk of my blogging, I'd say, shortly after I turned 40.

Acknowledging trivial content in no way invalidates the larger purpose it serves. I've come to realize this as I've watched once-prolific bloggers slow their output to a trickle, and/or come to a complete halt. Over the last six years I have followed and interacted with bloggers I've come to think of as friends. Prior to the blogosphere I was reliant on fickle pen-pals. With the advent of these very public diaries, the daily walk to my post-office was no longer so emotionally freighted with terrible potential: my friends let me know of their condition by posting.

There are formerly vibrant voices that I miss. I get a kick out of Michael Blowhard's Facebook updates, but they don't provide the same grist for the mill that his best posts did. Searchie has gone private, which I respect. But I still try her site from time to time, scratching at the gatepost to see if she's opened the courtyard again. I'm assuming Bearded is reserving all his bile for the small-time contractors intent on improving his abode. Etc, etc.

The fifth-year anniversary seems to be the blogosphere's equivalent of the seven-year itch. Five years of unsupervised play clears out most people's carburetor dung, apparently. This morning when I surveyed the posts of this past (sixth) year I figured there were roughly a half-dozen I still had some respect for. Most of the others could have been reduced to a tweet without much damage -- some might have even been improved by the exercise.

I still value this platform as a place to post the longer pieces, which I assure you are still brewing on the back burner. But I'm wondering -- and at this point the question is open -- if the platform mightn't be better served if I sent the "smoke-signals" via Twitter?

If you have any thoughts or suggestions -- particularly if you have done/are on Twitter -- you know where to leave 'em.


Su said...

Are you on Facebook? That's a good deal of fun, can share websites and pictures, and say whatever you want. I've been considering Twitter lately, too, but so far don't think it's worth the time.

Whisky Prajer said...

I am, using my real name (if you canna find me, just send me an e-mail).

Cowtown Pattie said...

( I am laughing aloud at my word verification "sockle".)

I think most long-time bloggers we each know have reached similar conclusions and frustrations.

What am I doing here? Why? And why persist?

I've tried Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is just so damned cold and big, and impersonal.

My own FB has become so entangled with close real life friends and family, with stupid games and daily trivia that frankly, doesn't necessarily improve the loving link.

Blogging is an altogether different medium, isn't it?

Hard to explain to someone who has only dabbled with Twitter or FB. Those kind of social networks are just so...superficial, for want of a better word.

Not that all bloggers have depth, but I've always found that the waters around here to be oceanic in comparison. (Okay, some posts are just stock-tank depth on occasion, but for the most part...)

And I, too, have considered just chunking ye olde blogge, but just couldn't pull the plug - TT has become my alter ego and an old friend. I am comfortable and at home with other friends when I turn on the light.

Friends like you and Bleak Mouse and yes, even the elusive Searchie, have enriched my life and given me a much broader picture of the world. I can't imagine not knowing you all now.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer

There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound. ~Diana Cortes

And there you have it from people much more erudite than moi...

Joel said...

I agree with Cowtown Pattie. Every prolific blogger every so often will have a "why am I wasting so much time here again?" type post.
For myself I've decided that, taken in moderation, having a forum to share your opinions and develop your thoughts is part of living life to the fullest. Also I like the idea of interacting and responding to media I consume, instead of just being a passive consumer.

The "in moderation" part is the tricky part though. I'd be embarrased to admit it, but there have been times when bloggging has threatened to take over all of my free time. And at that point it's not such a healthy activity.

That's my own justification for blogging. I guess you'll have to find yours. (You obviously have a talent for writing, which means some of your stuff could be conceivable published in other forums. Which I guess makes it harder to justify your wasting time here.)

However as a reader of your blog (and blogs in general), I can say that I much prefer reading a developed thought than just a line or two.
I've given into facebook mostly because of social pressure, but I hate reading one or two line updates that just tease me. In that respect, I think brevity might be somewhat over-rated. You can't really get into and chew up a twitter update as you can reading a good blog post, and your blog has given me plenty to chew on in the years I've been following it.

Cowtown Pattie said...

And I "amen" that, Brother Joel!

Whisky Prajer said...

CP - "superficial" is certainly the ruling motif for those Twitter & FB. And while the blogosphere is no stranger to superficiality I'm not sure I can discern a way to bring much depth to FB. Photos of the extended fam are about it, really. As for Twitter, I suspect if a Tweeter were to apply haiku-like discipline to the exercise things could get interesting. But that's not my forte, so I think I'll just keep throwing stuff at the blog, just to see what sticks. And as you suggest, keeping the light on in a familiar place can make the difference in a another person's day.

Joel - just to be clear, I wasn't thinking of putting the kybosh on the blog. I was wondering if there wasn't a way to keep this place "serious" while I frittered someplace else. But why spread myself thin exploring platforms when this place works just fine as is? At least, that's how I'm feeling this fine morning.

Thanks, all.

Yahmdallah said...

As someone who put up the official "that's it for me" page on my blog for a day (and took it back), I'd suggest pushing through the envelope and keep on keepin' on.

I for one make it a point to see what's going on here on a regular basis, and find I am rewarded MOST of the time. (And when I'm not, I blame myself.)

Outside of the occasional good fiction or fact book I'm mauling at the time, the blogs I like - especially blogs like this where the author has gotten past the initial blush and gush of "hey I'm blogging and people are reading me" (not that those aren't sometimes good, too) - the blogs I like are the OTHER "good read" I've come to cherish.

Yeah, it sucks that M. Blowhard has stopped for now.

But it's awesome that you, and the folks who've commented here, give us your time and considered thoughts (something like Joel and Ms. Pattie said).

Please, sir, may I have some more?

Oh, and FWIW, if you are looking for other places to put them words out, perhaps it's time to start submitting stuff to the freelance market. You know you should.

Whisky Prajer said...

"I blame myself" -- that, sir, deserves an emoticon. :D

paul bowman said...

Ditto, ditto. We love you man.

Just feel I should add that for me, the substantial fare interspersed amid the lite makes the whole more engaging. I'm more likely to put off clicking, in fact, over to someone whose every regular post I could hang on with & savor something in than to the one — like you (and not like me), with good instincts — who dally & flirt a bit.

prairie mary said...

As some people I see here already know, I'm technically "retired" so have the great luxury of spending every morning composing a 1,000 word essay with some care and thought. In fact, usually I start thinking about it the night before and sometimes I have to get up at 3AM and put it online. The reward has been some development in skill -- I think -- and because I try to be specific and write about people and events, I tie up with people who were really LOOKING for the info I'm posting. Today it was the grandniece of my 8th grade English teacher, a terrific hefty bow-legged red-faced Irish woman who forced us to memorize prepositions, linking verbs, and all manner of other important niceties.

I consider myself to be publishing, one article at a time. The free-lance market has so far been singularly resistant.

Prairie Mary

PS: My code word is "mentense"!! Relax, guys!

Whisky Prajer said...

PB - there's an angle I hadn't considered before: "lite" serving as broth for the heartier fare bobbing about. That makes sense, I think.

Mary - I don't mind admitting your approach to content has been the higher standard that I try for (excelsior!). In the meantime, there are the diversions.

DarkoV said...

Well, a short trip away and look what (potentially) happened!!??
WP, I'm in, of course, with all of the other commenters on your continued posting.
Myself, the Twitter and Facebook route have been tried and...frankly I can't stand the verbal leash that both put on its users.
If someone is as talented with the arrangement of words and thoughts as you are, IMHO, FB & Twitter are insults. The only reason I keep my FB active is that it's a quick access to some family member's pictureology; the "This-is-what-I'm-doing-now-here-there-and-over there"-isms are pretty lame..even when coming from friends and family.

How else will I find about music and books that I totally missed than from coming to your site? BTW, that book that you had earmarked on the right hand side a month ago? Really enjoying it...very..very..slowly. And if you hadn't noted it, I would have missed such a dark treasure.

So, WP, carry on and forward in all directions. Awaiting further illumination at this end of your blog.

Whisky Prajer said...

The blog continues apace, DV. And I'm glad you're enjoying Pessoa, whose prose is best savored over the long haul (perhaps a trip to Lisbon is next?).