Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Everybody's Writing but Is Anybody Listening

PREPARE FOR A SERIOUS BLOG

Is there anybody listening?
Is there anyone that sees what's going on?
Read between the lines,
criticize the words they're selling.
Think for yourself and feel the walls
become sand beneath your feet

Or at least that's what Queensryche wrote in their 1990 album Empire. (Yes I did just cite Queensryche, and yes I was a hair band rocker in my early teens. Stop making fun. You'll notice I'm not giving you a link to their site though, that's how ashamed of myself I am.) With everyone and their mother, literally, blogging I can't help but wonder who's out there reading. I know that there are a core 10-20 of you friends and family that read this site on a regular basis, and I'm ecstatic on those posts that elicit double digit comments (even if I have to up the tally by commenting on your comments). Still, I can't help but wonder if anything I have to say is really worth your time.

That doesn't mean that I'm going to stop blogging. In fact I think blogging is more cathartic in a lot of ways than therapy would be. But I wonder what ultimate end these posts serve. Am I a vehicle to help you de-stress after/during work? Do I really communicate any uplifting message? Am I using my bully pulpit to actively proselyte for my faith or political party? Or am I just another cog in the machine that moves us toward a Cardian future (after the science fiction author Orson Scott Card)?

Speaking of Card, in his opus Ender's Game, the Earth is threatened with alien destruction, yadayadayada...if you've read a sci fi novel or seen any of the Alien movies you get the idea. One of the more interesting subplots of his sci fi world is that on Earth, people have taken to using the net as a true public forum. Instead of a space consisting entirely of geeks and porno, the Web in Card's future is dominated by debates where citizens argue and debate about the state of the earth. So much so that by the end of the novel citizens have effectively used the Net to bring peace and global domination.

Well certainly there is some of this style debate going on in the digital universe, but for the most part the Web has become a place where cordiality and debate are mutually exclusive. Political junkies go to those sites that reinforce their identity. Religious apologists stay within their community. Religious antagonists feed on one another's vitriolic rants on their boards. A broader community is absent because the Web does not demand it; it demands instead that you set aside decorum and rant, rave, and disparage. This is our great future where community is defined by an insular self-congratulating group, and your neighbors are only those individuals that agree with you.

How frightening. So what is the role of UsAndCats? Is anyone listening to our mindless posts? All I can say is that in seven years of marriage one of our greatest strength as a couple has been our common sense of humor. It is the joy of life, humor, and self-disparaging wit that we hope to bring to you for a couple minutes every couple weeks. We just hope you join the fight against the cynicism and rage of the day and joy in by laughing at our social betters. That is after all why America was founded; the Brits obviously have no sense of humor otherwise their version of the Office wouldn't be so boring.

Speaking of Brits, we'd like to welcome our dear friend Coops to our blogging family. Welcome and don't make us de-link you.

Also I found this report after I finished the above rant and thought it was timely. Enjoy.

16 comments:

Ethan's Mom said...

Keep it coming. I like to see what's going on in people's heads. And it's a nice reminder that we're not the only non-traditional Mormons out there.

Paris Soul Mate said...

I just thought I'd help you work toward double digit comments.

I think blogs are the new journal.

Mr Jo Bloggity said...

I hate you! And your blog! And all political stance! And your non-dogmatic religious views! And your blog!

Teh interweb r r0x0rz1!!1!1One!

Just the 5 of us! said...

Stew, I do read your blogs, though I'm not quite sure why...kidding kidding..click here to see my new puppy! http://jandmellsworth.blogspot.com/

Panini said...

"Where am I going and why am I in this hand-basket?"
Enders Game so can not be summed up as aliens attack earth! That book was great! - interesting point about the forums ~ though I don't feel sorry that we're not solving the world's problems on the net . . . the complexity makes us fragmented and topical. Maybe that's not a bad thing. I'm here for some human connection. Even if it's electronic. The validation/agreement/ego stroking doesn't seem much different to me than f2f friendships. The same goes for the discussion. Though I wish people always gave feedback if/when they read a post--that's something that's never lacking in the f2f. You talk - you share - whatever - and your friend - says nothing - you don't even know if they bothered to read your page, if they cared enough about what you were thinking about. That's disappointing - empty - whatever you want to call it.

Alissa said...

obligatory comment to let you know i'm reading...

ok. kidding. i love hearing from you guys... we miss the hell out of you.

p.s. i just said hell.

2Coops said...

Add a counter, it will either depress you or impress you with how many hits you get, that way lazy people like me who can't be bothered to comment still add to your tallies, as I hit your blog regularly, often disappointed to find no new sage words of advice on how to survive this world.

dastew said...

The counter's on the bottom. Inconspicuous enough so that unless your reading through the annals of our sage advice you'll miss it. But neurotic enough that I can wonder how I'm still in double digits and your in triple. I'll have to check my own blog more often to make up the difference.

2Coops said...

I must admit that I am surprised at how many hits I have had in a relatively short time, maybe I have more friends than I thought, or maybe I am just a novelty feature - more curious are the number of you tube views I have of various videos I have uploaded(I am yet to add some of my other videos to my post). I have now moved mine to the bottom though, but not quite so discreet as yours! I haven't worked out why all my posts have me sat in the digger though?

2Coops said...

http://bp2.blogger.com/_YjncyCAlXac/RpgAObzDlQI/AAAAAAAAACs/7kjaw2wOYzk/s400/DSC01469.JPG

I have just boosted your numbers looking back over some of your old posts, I am guessing your counter is a fairly recent addition though as I am sure you have had more hits than that!

I was aso trying to work out how to add a photo you promised long ago of you wakeboarding. I can't do it but can add a link I think so here's trying.

Although this photo is a bit more 'ooh ahh me harties' than wakeboarding. I hope someone clicks on it!

2Coops said...

I guess it didn't work, your dignity is saved

...

for the moment.

And this should have got your comments into double digits on this post too!

dastew said...

Damn you J.F.C! No one was supposed to remember my promise of photos of fat pirate stew. For the record I have dropped about 15-20 pounds since our boating trip. Still I'm hardly lithe. I'll post those eventually. And the reason you always show up in the digger is that is the picture associated with your profile. I don't remember how to change it but ours is always us on top of Mount Royal in Montreal.

Roy @ CNM said...

What drama! If you live your life worried about who's reading your blog, you'll of necessity be a wreck. Assume no one reads, but also write under the assumption that your grandma is reading, so you avoid gratuitous vulgarity. Then add Google anlaytics to your blog so you get not just a count, by geographic details on who's visiting. I see Albany on my report and I smile...

dastew said...

I think you miss the main point though Dave. While I do long to have the acceptance that comments imply (it's a middle-child thing you wouldn't understand), my main question is why do we all blog at all.

Some of you allow the blog to take the function of letters. That is they are updated periodically with the events of daily life. For me I neither lead an interesting enough life for that, nor do I have the children that would necessitate regular updates. Instead blogging allows me a way to express myself in a creative manner that I have never had. Here I can ramble on about class warfare, political corruption, or jock itch with equal ease. Allowing myself the opportunity to refine my own personal views and writing style.

The comments just show that somebody is listening because ultimately, while the details are different, every last one of us faces similar challenges relating to mortality. As Red Green would say "We're all in this together".

Or maybe that's just my point today and not at all what I meant when I wrote it originally. Thanks for the analytics link by the way.

Roy @ CNM said...

What I most like about the personal blog (this is different for my work blog, of course) is that suddenly I'm doing all these things I've never been good at. My missionary journal was a joke, but now I write frequently about my life. I call my parents and siblings infrequently, and usually only when I want something. But with the blog I stay in touch. And even when it's nothing interesting, it's nice to be in communication. I think personal blogging is far superior to ideological stuff, so much of which you addressed well in your entry. But personal blogging allows us to laugh together over the escapades of life--putting insulation in the attic, going to Starbucks, etc.

Coops said...

Just a thank you to Dave for pointing out Google Analytics, not is it now more interesting to see where in the world my personal blog is read most (I have had to wait a few days for data to start building up). But on a far more practical level, it is far better than software that I had been using on one of my business sites, so maybe I will make some more money too! . . . Note to Stewart, i have managed to get rid of the digger photo, thanks for the tip on that too (I don't think that tip will help me make more money though!)