3/2 The Horrors of Blogification



This Is Like, Ironic and/or Humorous.

     It's about 1:15 in the afternoon. I've got a room-temperature Mountain Dew on my desk and am currently listening to MAD TV on Comedy Central. Here in my neck of Ohio, that's channel 38. Anyway, I got the idea to write at length on something that aggravates me a little while cooking a Tombstone microwave deep dish pizza. You know, the ones that are like 5 inches across and come on a little silver cardboard plate thing. But when I opened it up, the little silver plate thingy was wrong side up! I'm sure glad I remembered to turn it over, otherwise the crust wouldn't have crisped, and nobody likes a soggy pizza. ^_^;

     Ah yes, I was writing about something, wasn't I? I got sidetracked by the minutiae of microwave junk food. I'd go out but it's hard with no car or money. It's so cruel that more people don't cater to my every whim! I should put up a PayPal button or something. Whatever.

      I'd intended to do a massive rant or slam against the rapidly-expanding number of people who use their internet access to broadcast every little detail their day-to-day life. Then it dawned on me that such a thing, as someone who compulsively posts blurbs about Mark of the Wolves hidden taunts and Mothman reports, such a thing would be hypocritical and self defeating. Using my own shame as ammo then, I will proceed to carry on loudly for a few more paragraphs as a headless kamikaze blogmartyr. BANZAAAAI, WHORE.

      I think the epiphany came about the time a couple years back when Toasty was stuck in a limbo between Shameful Game Companies or another long running feature (maybe it was that sadly-neglected Drum Solo thing.) I didn't really care about the padding and excuses in the blog section: I like Parish's "educated cynic" writing style. It was just a sudden realization after a few months that a site in stasis supported by little blurbs on a fairly regular basis can keep a surprisingly steady flow of traffic. That was probably about the time I adopted a front page ranting section too. The front-page rant is definitely an effective tool. No splash page to navigate through to see if the page has been updated since your last visit; and while you're at it you can write an enticing lead-in to your new content. Penny Arcade's system does that pretty well, even if sometimes you NEED to read Tycho's input to understand the day's strip. Megatokyo's rants are a slightly more obnoxious example, but they do give you something to read while the day's page loads.

      This brings us to Irk the First: Going wildly off-topic with odd personal anecdotes. Say you run "Yoda-Chan's Shrine to the Star Wars Manga" or something like that. You've already narrowed yourself to a target audience of Star Wars geeks who actually like the Kia Asamiya'd versions. Relating the story of your breakfast burrito or a funny-smelling man on the bus just throws them like that horse at the county rodeo that I discreetly injected with crystal meth. That is, assuming that the site attracts more than people you personally invite. Nothing personal against people who are slavering devotees of tiny niches of the Star Wars expanded universe. This is just my finely honed 'mercenary artist' instinct that's been pounded into me by several years of graphic art school and left me a cynical yet pretty hunk who can't look at a pop can without criticizing its label in some manner. For example, I've now turned the Mountain Dew upside down, and the "Dew" part looks like the word "Mad." You'd think they could have done something to the "Mountain" part so it says something when inverted as well? Instead of just "uie(backwards 'f')unoW?"

      Say you don't have a specific subject matter on your page. Say you're- me. You just kind of slam together words on a random topic when the fancy strikes you, run it through FTP and see who bites. That's fun, it keeps people guessing, as long as you're an interesting writer, which I sadly am not. Or say you pretty much have a site that's a blog with a domain name attached to it. You're pretty much only expecting friends and/or coworkers to be rifling through it. Time for your first post! You're very happy and use lots of "^_^"s and even "^_^;"'s (as it must be pretty damn hot in there with the HTMLING PARTY you've got going on in there. "RAISE THE TABLEHEIGHT! WE DON'T NEED NO /BLOCKQUOTE, LET THE MOTHER FUCKER INDENT!") But the next day, you're feeling sad and disappointed that the blue-haired guy in Networking thinks that Selphie is much hotter than Rinoa in Final Fantasy VIII (which she is) and in your heart of hearts you always associated yourself with the latter fictional character. So you browse through your mp3 folder and find some deep, moving lyrics from Linkin' Park or Evanescence or some obscure punk band you listen to specifically because for their obscurity. You copy-paste them to your blog and sit back, feeling slightly more satisfied at the way you've recycled existing sentiments so that it kind of adds an air of sophistication and uh, plagiarism that deep, wonderful kids like you strive for.

     Uh, actually, no. You shouldn't do that. It's important to vent and sigh and bemoan the behemoth weight of your problems in a medium that could be stumbled upon by anyone around the world. What are the odds of receiving Touched By An Angel-style cyber-revelations versus being called misspelled bad names by a 12-year old Korean kid who's waiting for the latest Ragnarok patch to load? About a craptillion to however many friends you have. And trust me, a craptillion has a lot of zeroes. Pasting cryptic song lyrics into a front page without much in the way of explanation is mainly good for either making your friends think that the black eye shadow is finally soaking into your brain or you're trying to inspire an ASCII/HTML-based sing along. And if you imbed a MIDI for good measure- you're simply going to Hell. Sorry. Be sure to post in your blog about the torment every so often.

     I guess ultimately, the point is to moderate yourself in everything you do. I learned that the hard way Tuesday when I went the entire day eating nothing but peppered jerky and about three cans of Mountain Dew. My stool looked like GUNPOWDER. I realize all too well the appeal of instantly putting your thoughts on the web. But just remember that there's a difference between confessing to a spiral-bound notebook hidden under the mattress and shrieking out your opinion on ska music on a crowded street corner. But hey, to each their own. Would you look at the time? I've got an appointment downtown with a megaphone and a Less than Jake CD.

mood: FUX0RED
music: Cyborg 009- Genesis of Next

     (That was nice and cathartic.)