Hydra and the Blogosphere

The Hydra

This blogosphere universe seems like a Hydra beast. So many heads, so many tentacles. Lop off one head and two more grow back.

Take a look at this image of Hydra. Look familiar? Looks like the blogosphere to me.

I’m not thinking about commercial blogs. That’s a world I don’t frequent and really don’t give much thought. I’m talking about personal blogs – those blogs that are generated for, by and about real people. These fascinate me. I really want to know what’s going on behind the scenes.

Why do we pour our time and effort into this infinitude of blogs, adding ourselves to the tsunami of the blogosphere? Where’s the Hydra head-group that makes the outcome worth the toil? What’s going on here?

I want to know more about the motivations, yours and mine. I want to understand the thinking and feeling that lurks behind the words, and usually leaks out somewhere along the line.

Do any of these make sense?

Check me out. I suspect this one is universal. We all have this urge or we wouldn’t be writing blog postings in the first place. Seems OK to me, most of the time. The ugliness surfaces when this motivation takes over the entire blog. You know what I mean, right? It’s the “I am the next big thing” type of blog. These are easy to spot and really hard to swallow. Their entire purpose seems to be shameless, naked self-promotion.

Now, self-promotion is also OK, so long as it’s not injected directly into my reading brain, force-fed to me without my endorsement. In other words, you can’t be the next big thing unless you’re a little subtle about it. I really have no problem believing you are the hot tamale of the known universe, but I’d rather discover that truism for myself. Somewhere along the line, somewhere among your words, I need to find something for myself to enjoy. It’s not just about you. It’s also about me, the reader. Remember me?

So, tell me about yourself. That’s fine. But please, please don’t shove it down my throat. I’m sufficiently intelligent to come to my own conclusions about you and your words. Share carefully. Sell with a subtle touch. That’s fine. Anything more can make me gag. If you can’t be subtle, you need to go back to writing school and try a little harder.

self portrait of sadness

Feel my pain. Wow, those depressing blog posts! OK, I see the value of expunging, purging, working out the back-flow of life. It’s healthy and we all need to do it from time to time. But, this is a mighty hard pill for me to swallow. You know what I mean, right? Those dark, heavy, completely downer posts that make you feel like yesterday’s doo-doo when you’re finished reading.

I’m fine with folks sharing their pain, so long as they don’t pump it directly into my bloodstream. I suppose it’s a tough line to walk. Purging is good. I get it. But it sure can bring me down, very fast. Maybe those kinds of posts should have an opening warning line that tells the reader a heavy dump is looming. Proceed at your own risk. Maybe I’m just not strong enough to work my way through this kind of writing. I’ve never enjoyed sad stories of any kind so I really don’t like sad blog posts.

It’s a dealer’s choice, I suppose. Perhaps it has a good place in the blogosphere. It just doesn’t work for me. Put a warning label on it and let me know what’s coming. That way, I’ll at least be a bit prepared for the purge.

Buy my stuff. This is near the top, or bottom, of my doo-doo list. It’s the allegedly personal blog that exists for only one purpose – to sell something. I understand that this type of blog is popular and probably necessary for self-published writers. In fact, it makes complete sense. However, that doesn’t mean the blog has to beat me over the head with your sales pitch.

OK, you wrote a book, I get it. You want to sell that book. Makes complete sense to me. I’m with you on the basic thrust and I actually have no problem with the strategy. Anything you can do to free yourself from the traditional slavery of a publisher is fine with me.

But, please, stop jabbing me in the sides with your pitch! Sell me softly. In the meantime, put something on your blog that I can read and enjoy. Show me your talents. Teach me. Entertain me. Make me smile. Then, sell me.

Think like me. Woops. This is a big bug-out, too. I like hearing other opinions. In fact, I thrive on it. I suppose lots of folks feel the same way. What I don’t enjoy is a fixed attitude, an inflexible, preachy style of expressing a view. In other words, I don’t want you to tell me I’m a complete idiot because I don’t think the same way you think. By all means, tell me what you think or believe. Give it to me as straight as you can make it. Create a forceful argument and push the limits, if you choose. However, don’t jump on me for not buying the program. Just lay it all out there and let me mull it over.

Don’t preach at me, ever.

Weird

The truly weird. There are some blogs out there that are very, very strange. These are fun, for sure. They don’t fit any description. I can’t come up with a reason why they even exist. Still, they’re fascinating and entertaining. Usually they are very creative in an inscrutable way. Most of the time, I can’t understand what’s going on. Maybe they are secret message stations for alien contacts. Maybe the blog creators are just nuts. Whatever their purpose, they defy reason, at least for me. They aren’t great in number but they’re often unexpected treasures. You’ll know them when you find them. They are, to me, mystifying but regularly worth a visit or two.

The blown blog. It gets posts for a while then goes completely dormant. It falls into silence. I wonder what happened to these folks? Are they OK? Did they just get bored? Did they turn a page in their life and move on? I hope so. I hope they went silent in a good way for everyone.

I prefer a story with a good ending, or at least an ending of some sort. If it’s a blog, I suspect it’s also a story. So, end it in some meaningful way, please.

Some of these blogs should have died anyway, I suppose They were just boring and useless. However, some of them had great potential, interesting material, fun reading. Did they just end without planning or did they accomplish some goal that got lost along the way? I wonder about these.

Guess what? This was a pretty silly exercise. You just wasted a few more moments with the many-headed beast. Another story without a decent ending.

I don’t understand the Hydra blogosphere at all. I need to do more reading, think about it a little harder. I can’t even give you a good explanation of why I blog. Maybe it all comes down to a writing addiction.

Could it be that simple?

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12 thoughts on “Hydra and the Blogosphere

  1. Why do we blog? Good question. For me, writing is some sort of carthasis and I just enjoy it. I keep a private journal where I put my gloomy, happy, personal thoughts. Sometimes I don’t even know what is going on with me until I start writing my journal – and for some reason, only handwriting works for me there! And I would not put these things on my blog. My blog covers topics that make me think! And just like you, I would like to read different opinions there, too! It’s about feedback. I find though that I usually only get approving feedback, different opinions seem to be harder to share. Like my blog on the pope – when I posted something similar on my facebook, it caused mayhem! I even got deleted by one friend because he did not agree!
    About the gloomy blogs… well, I suppose people use the anonymity of the interweb to come out with their darkest thoughts (‘doo-doo’ is a new word I learned from you now, btw) that they feel they cannot share in their personal life… because they’d end up in an asylum…
    I don’t think it is about the ‘why’. It’s about the variety, you can always choose what you read and get inspired!

    • Thanks for those interesting comments. In the end, I’ve had a really bad writing addiction all my life. That has a lot to do with it, I suspect. I’m also relatively new to the blogging world, so I’m still learning. When I wrote this article I was wondering why I was writing the article. Know what I mean? Hard to explain. Anyway, I like what you wrote and it all makes sense to me. Oh, yeah, that Facebook thing. I don’t do FB because it’s all too strange for me. My wife tells me about some of the stuff she reads there and it makes me shudder. I think I’ll save FB for my next life. Thanks again.

      • Thank you! I am also pretty new to blogging. And I noticed that when I start to think about the why, I get really frustrated because a lot of my thoughts don’t get as much feedback as I’ve been hoping for. I also have a blog in German, it’s a bit easier there because the … uhm… readience is limited. Anyways, I try not to think about it too much. I just do it 🙂

  2. The Phonyon is a purely altruistic exercise. We derive great satisfaction from addressing the issues that, somehow, escape coverage from either mainstream or fringe media outlets. The work itself is its own reward, but we will, however grudgingly, accept the fawning adoration of groupies. To date, it has not been a problem.

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