We’re living in an age of unprecedented growth of personal expression and mass communication. I sound all academic and annoying when making a blanketing and obvious statement like that, but it’s true - more ordinary people can talk to a teeming mass of others than ever before. The era of mass communication as a one-way toll road, from the media/advertiser to the consumer, is over.
Upon the completion of a telegraph line from Maine to Florida Thoreau wrote (and I’m paraphrasing), “There is now technology that lets Maine talk to Florida. But what if Maine has nothing to say to Florida?”
Nothing of importance to say, that is.
In his book Silicon Snake Oil, Cliff Stoll tells a story of an American elementary school in the 1980s pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into a computer infrastructure that let their kids e-mail kids in a Puerto Rican school. It was advanced, it was technological, it was expensive, and it was nice. What did the kids use it to write?
“What is Puerto Rico like?” “Do you listen to Michael Jackson?”
They could have sent that on a postcard for 32¢, Stoll quips.
The point here is that just because we have the technology to mass communicate doesn’t mean that we have anything substantial to say, despite what bloggers and YouTubers on the Internet want you to believe. Just because people can read what you write, listen to what you record, and watch what you film doesn’t mean that it is any good. Part of being educated means knowing what to think and, consequently, what not to think, a fact that people often forget. Having an audience does not translate into providing a service or even making a positive change in the world.
Now, as a blogger, I say this with caution. People can, and have, asked me similar questions in the vein of “What makes you think that people 'out there' will care about what you have to say?” and to this I have several answers.
Foremost, I am not in the blogosphere to be popular. I maintain a blog because I like to write and because being able to post publicly makes me work harder to try and write well. Blogging motivates me to get out my personal thoughts and feelings, as well as comment on current events, articles and books. If people happen to like reading what I write, awesome. But I have friends who have asked me, “So you have a blog? Cool. You think I should start one?”
My answer is almost always "no".
Starting a blog as a novelty or out of guilt or whatever reason will just result in an abandoned blog if there is no real motivation behind the decision. If writing is not how you express yourself, find another way to do so! I have entertained the idea of starting a YouTube channel numerous times, only to realize each time that A) I would only want to be on YouTube to have a shot at being an Internet celebrity (celebrity YouTubing is so often a lose/lose situation) and B) I would be a chronically boring video blogger. Really. I don’t think visually like that. I think in sentences.
So, then, what is the point of this blog? It is a two-pronged effort. The first goal is to further the idea of, as I call it, Reductional Minimalism. This is that idea that you can live with less, and can in fact be happier having less. It is the idea that becoming attached to material things can be detrimental to personal development, and funneling money that would be spent on accumulating possessions into enriching relationships and building social bonds instead results in a better world.
The second goal of the site is to reclaim to Internet as personal space. In a cyberspace where e-commerce and flashy entertainment sources abound, I aim to bring it back to a personal level. I am just a guy who writes stuff and puts it on a website. I want to you know who I am, what I do, my history, and how I think, so that you can get to know me better. Hopefully, then, I can get to know you better as well and can work together to decrease worldsuck.