Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Problem with Blogs and Message Boards

The problem with blogs and message boards is not just that there's too many of them but the quality of the people who are posting on them. I'm not saying there are no intelligent people posting or responding to messages, or that you never come across anything that's worth the time it takes to read it, but rather that the intelligent posts are far outnumbered by the ones that are often mind-boggling in their stupidity and vapidity.

Obviously I don't have much time to post on this blog, and it doesn't get much traffic, but that's okay. I think of my main site as my performing arts site High and Low NY [New York]
and it gets a lot of hits due to the varied content. I do feel bad that so far I have been unable to do what I originally set out to do with this blog, post articles that would be of some service to professional and aspiring writers. Maybe in the near-future ...

The sad truth about blogs is that if you actually have the time to post every day, or several times a day, you're probably not leading a very interesting or especially busy life [surfing the net all day responding to various message boards does not mean that you're “busy”.] That's why you'll occasionally come across these blogs where the owner posts the minutiae of his or her life in all of its tedious, unexceptional detail (...“called Austin today, then took a nap in the afternoon. Austin called back at 2. Listened to so and so on the radio. Aunt Betty's coming on Tuesday. Etc.)”

Not everyone with a blog has to be a professional writer, but you wish they could at least string a sentence together in some kind of literate fashion, but that seems too much to ask. Then there will be a string of pidgin English replies posted by cyber-friends of the blogger that are equally illiterate. And of virtually no interest to anyone but the blogger. And possibly not even him.
Then we've got blogs which consist almost entirely of items that the blogger finds on the Internet -- such as jokes that make the rounds and aren't that funny to begin with -- and posts on his or her blog. And nothing else. But if you've got nothing original to say, why bother having a blog in the first place?

A couple of times I have made the mistake of looking for information or opinions for articles I was working on by posting a question on one message board or another. Now and then I have received some excellent answers from informed individuals who have a certain knowledge of the subject and something serious to say. More often, the replies are simply uneducated opinions or worse. Everyone – but everyone – wants to post their opinion of every subject under the sun on the Internet, but most people really don't know what they're talking about. Then you get the nitwits that just post any old dumb thing because they have way too much time on their hands or they think they're being cute. Frequently the replies on message boards quickly degenerate into pun-contests, or competitions where each person tries to be wittier than the last, but when you're dealing with too many half-wits what good does it do? Some comments are admittedly funny, but others are like rejected lines from one of the lesser scripts of an already mediocre sitcom.

I must say that I have come across some fine blogs and message boards that deal with political or other issues, compiled and moderated by intelligent people, that are run like well-oiled machines, and which get dozens of comments on each and every post. I have come across blogs that post several different stories a day, complete with links, backtracks, comments about comments, and I wonder how on earth the blogger – unless there's more than one person involved – has the time to do it. Someone like that must either be retired or independently wealthy or both.

Having a successful blog is also a matter of linking and being linked to other successful blogs, but even this is a time-consuming chore.

For this blog, at least, I will post the occasional essay, and when time permits, see what I can do about getting back to my original mission.

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