Late in 2009 I morphed my online humor column FreezeFrame to blog form. There were several reasons to do so, none of which are worth going into at this point, and one big reason not to. I didn’t want a blog. I didn’t want to be a blogger.
Nevertheless, here we are.
I like being the guy without a cellular telephone, and I like being the guy without a microwave oven, and I like being the guy who doesn’t have cable TV, and I like being the guy without things that seem to be ubiquitous. It is my rebellious nature.
It seemed at the time, and still does, that “everyone has a blog.” You can find these damned things all over the Al Gore Internet and their number dilutes their importance. I don’t even like saying blo…, bl…—see, I can’t say it. Good thing I can write it: blog. But it makes me feel dirty even when I only write it.
These blogs, these web logs, are not evil on their own. Some are informative, some are interesting, and some are designed so people can stay in touch with family and friends. Of course they could use Facebook for that, but I don’t have one of those, either. I do, however, regularly visit a few different blogs as a source of reading material.
One thing I have noticed that is common on blogs is the frequent use of a question at the end of most posts. This is presumably used to increase the number of comments that readers make, thus making the blog more trafficked. And if you have more traffic you can more easily turn a profit, because everyone knows the end-goal of a blog is to make enough money that you can quit your day job.
Blech. Everyone also knows that you are as likely to make a bunch of money from the Internet as you are from selling kitchen products, candles, and other kitsch to your friends at home-based parties. (The only way you make money on the latter is when you convince those same friends to sell those same products and to sign up with you as their sponsor. Multi-level marketing, folks, it’s the future!) So if a bunch of comments from friends and strangers does not make your blog more marketable, what’s the point?
Well, if you aren’t going to make money you might as well cheer yourself up with reading the comments and thinking that you are making a difference in the world. Sure, that’s likely, that blogger fellow who sits in his mother’s basement in his underwear, his fingers sticky and orange from his second bag of Cheetoh’s that morning, is affecting world politics and the entertainment industry and our national banking policies. Every time he offers up a pithy commentary on the subject at hand and thirteen folks bother to reply to his end-of-post question, heads of state are listening.
“How would you help to vote [insert politician name] out of office?”
Then there are the folks—generally in the twenty-something set—who like to pontificate on all of the things that are of critical importance to them. They post pictures of their kids or they write about what they did that day or they rage against something silly like a football game or the price of gasoline, and then they ask: “What do you think?”
“So I told him to take off my high heels, NOW! How would you have handled a problem like that?”
They do this because it is the recommended way to get reader comments, and reader comments are everything if you are a blogger. Thankfully, I don’t consider myself a blogger. And I don’t even call this a blog. It is a collection of finely wrought humor columns, sadly distributed via a well-known blog publisher via the Internet, another entity I would be happy not to be associated with (although it does provide [warning: sales pitch ahead] an easy way for you to order my books).
Since I am not going to cover the expense of actually mailing you a weekly humor column to your home address, we are stuck with this less-than-perfect but utterly free system.
But I can make you this promise: I hereby refuse to ever end a blog post with a question. I might ask you questions if we are talking in person or on the phone, and I hope that if I send you an e-mail you’ll take the time to respond to any sentence that ends with a question mark, but I am not going to use this weary method just to make myself feel popular. I just don’t want to be so manipulative.
Or is it because I just don’t care what you have to say?