On ‘the shtick’ and having a pointless blog…

Every once in a while I sit down to blog and think “I should really have more of a thing going on here…” A thing. You know, a shtick. Everyone seems to have quite professional looking blogs these days, either making finer points about AR or VR or social media or new media or knitting or LOLCats. My blog’s a bit of a mess by comparison. I can’t exactly put the URL on a business card, or god forbid, my CV, as a shining example of my writing style and my suitability for a particular job. This is a social gig, plain and simple. At least I think it’s social. Or am I just talking to myself? So what’s the point of it all?

This was originally going to be a beat-up post, where I pointed out all the various flaws of the site (irregular updates, random musings, some too long, others too short, odd links and retarded photo skills), but you know what? Fuck it. I like my blog. It has an intangibility that I find refreshing, a jumbled-up mix of nothingness that makes me feel complete as a human being. My suitcase full of carefully-written diaries (going back to when I was seven) will stick around for posterity when I’m old and grey – or maybe some little shite of a grandchild will decide to throw it all away. What we consider tangible objects are illusory anyway, I reckon.

So why not – why not a salute to the pointless blog, to the messy blog, the jack-of-all-trades blog, the irregular, unprofessional blog, the blog with poor spelling, the blog that always apologizes for not having written sooner. As multitudinous as they all are, there’s something fantastic about the way we all seem to still be sticking around, smelling up the place, while the sophisticated journalism students (I don’t know where that reference came from, BTW) produce flawless copy. Even though Twitter has taken the personal broadcast to the next level, I’m still kinda fascinated that so many of us are persisting in our blogging endeavours.

My blog is exactly like my life, like my house. You step in through my front door and the first thing you see is not some artfully-arranged display of framed pictures against a neutral background with splashes of feature colour here and there. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a clutterbug. And my bookshelves – there’s anything and everything about everything in there. Every genre. Academic writing, sci-fi, poetry, YA. Ditto with my music. Even if I wanted to limit myself to writing about a particular subject, I’d have absolutely no way to choose: do I write about writing game reviews? being a stationery fiend? a reader? a student? an IT worker? a crafter? a house renovator? an American-Kiwi? And like my tastes in books, in music, movies, friends, booze, games and men, I couldn’t tell you for certain exactly where those tastes come from or why I feel so passionately about them.

There’s definitely a valid argument in favour of refining your mind in one direction. Looking at the many different angles of a particular subject requires precision and discipline of thought. But broad thinking can produce magic too, as well as junk. I guess that’s why blogs that concentrate on just one or two subjects are that much more palatable. With our waning concentration levels we feel like we can’t afford to waste any time on something that might surprise us – for good or for bad.

At least a blog with a shtick is sort of advertising its wares before we have to make that commitment to follow it or not. Because interestingly, people seem to want to find a blog they can follow, that they can stick with for a long period of time. We don’t tend to skim across blogs (unlike other online content) – we want to plumb them. We have different expectations from blogs than our expectations of regular people. We don’t mind if our friends blather on about the everyday junk in their lives. We just don’t want our blogs to do the same…

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