A Serious Case of the Blogs

So I’ve been trying to think of what the most appropriate kind of opening post (beyond the usual Greetings fare, which doesn’t really count) would be for this brand new site. I mean, most people are blog savvy by now, and they’re going to expect something insightful at best, passably entertaining at worst from me–and they’re going to expect it often. And that, my friends, is the definition of pressure.

Particularly when you pretty much despise blogs.

Okay, that’s a trifle strong. A better way to say it might be that I used to despise blogs. My sense for a long time was that blogs were basically poorly written public diaries, filled with some ridiculously cryptic musings that no one outside of the blogger’s immediate family was likely to understand. Now I must admit that I’ve never been fascinated with diaries anyway (I usually don’t care what someone thinks about someone else, private or not); I’m a writer, and our job as writers is to communicate ideas to others, not keep them to ourselves. But blogs can often be peculiarly obnoxious diaries, in part because they are intentionally public presentations of private things–things which are either incredibly boring or incredibly inappropriate topics for the public, by the way–and specifically designed to let people know that you’re thinking about something. Cryptically, yes, but you’re thinking about whatever that something is nonetheless.

What this usually seems to lead to is an incredible amount of passive-aggressiveness on the part of bloggers. (This might even be worse in the text messaging world, by the way; nothing says anger like an “out with someone, NOT my boyfriend/girlfriend” away message, even if the “someone” is just your mom.) So rather than call his friend directly to work out some issue, the blogger posts a cryptic message on his blog, his friend responds with a slightly less cryptic but more irritated message on his blog, and off we go. When the three alternatives for the standard blog are cryptic, boring or obnoxious, I think you can see why I’d rather give the whole thing a miss.

But then I started looking at people’s blogs that I did respect–particularly people who made it as other things first, and were now using blogs to let others know about the first things–and my outlook started to change. Because, of course, not all blogs are created equal. A lot of authors now use blogs as a way of staying in touch with their readers (Jim C. Hines, Goblin Quest series author, is one of the best out there at doing this), and when they’re at their best, blogs of this kind are actually pretty useful things–especially when they actively encourage their readers to participate, as I intend to do here.

All of which is to say that I’ve decided that blogs aren’t so bad after all, all things considered. But there’s always the outside chance that I’ve just decided to give in to the Dark Side: if I start quoting obscure philosophers and random song lyrics from Dutch progressive rock bands of the early seventies, you have my permission to slap me silly, virtually speaking, until I come to my senses. I promise I won’t blog about you for months afterwards.

A few hours, days, maybe, but certainly not MONTHS…