Today, I woke up.
- I wiped the sand from my eyes.
- Ten minutes later I did a little Shaker peeing and splashed some of that good yellow stuff on the toilet seat.
- Two minutes after that, I blew my nose and threw the tissue in the wastebasket near the toilet I fouled.
- 30 seconds later, I cried a little bit because of the loss of my pee stream aim because I am getting older.
- Three minutes later, I wiped the crying snot on my shirtsleeve.
Does my “Blogging the Bodily Fluids” stream gross you out?
Do you really want a blow-by-blow description of thing things that come out of me?
Is it interesting to read that sort of “dead event” logging instead of reckoning with new ideas that were freshly written to try to entice you into reading this blog?
I am concerned by the growing, lazy, trend to have the events of a life replace the invented thoughts of the day. There is a wholesale replacement of new content starting to happen in good blogs and this “Dead Blogging” got its start in the ridiculous Twittering people do today to reveal the stations of their ordinary lives.
Here is one example of a current Twitter stream from our very own Gordon Davidescu:
I can understand Gordon’s frustration, and his want to transfer the iconic influences of his day into the world to give his life meaning — but I do not really understand the need to Twitter this information across the world in real time that, by the time it hits the eye of the reader, is a dead event.
I’m not picking on Gordon — I’m using his Twitter stream as an example — and I understand Twitter is popular with a lot of people.
However, Twittering makes the good writer awful and a publishing a Twitter stream on a blog is the beginning of the end of that blog because authors are then merely logging the events of an ordinary day instead of trying to bring new light and authority and understanding to the world in carefully formed arguments and blog posts.
Blogging is ugly and deadly work, and a lot of people have a hard time coming up with fresh ideas.
I believe it is better to just stop blogging if you have nothing new to invent, but I know many others — as a memes of keeping their cold, dead, fingers, in a hot pie — feel it is fine to just go on “auto-blogging” and have your web use published as new content.
We currently use Movable Type on this Urban Semiotic blog to publish our thoughts and dreams and we strive to always come up with something special and different to share with you.
There’s a Plugin for Movable Type called “Action Steams” and I am arguing today it is just that sort of Plugin that makes blogs really awful — even if the streaming of your day is relegated to the sidebar.
“Action Streams” work by collecting information from many online services you use every day and then mashing them all together in a single stream.
Because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings in the exampling of “Action Steams” in non-action — a better name for the Plugin is “My Dead Calendar” — I will show you how these streams are currently employed by Six Apart employees. Six Apart created Movable Type.
NOTE: We all know tech guys have no feelings to hurt and they’re skin is hard as tire rubber, so we risk nothing in this demonstration. Heh!
Our first example is the worst: David Recordon’s entire blog is not a blog at all. He’s a smart guy with a lot to say, but his blog proves none of his genius. His namesake blog is just an Action Stream pretending to be a blog. If blogs are supposed to try to improve the world and save us from ourselves — that’s the mandate I follow — how does this sort of blog meet that end? If blogs are merely vanity vehicles for logging the dead events of the day — why have that published on a public website? Why not just keep a private calendar instead?
When I was growing up, some people chose to keep their most private thoughts in a diary. Some diaries even had a lock and key to ensure no one else would read those private wonderings.
“Diary Blogging” on the web can be extremely effective — as long as the content is created and not just logged.
Our second Action Streams example is from Byrne Reese’s fine blog. Byrne has a lot of fascinating things to say, but you have to dig around on his site to find the juicy content and that’s why it’s frustrating as a reader to discover the prime eye location on his blog — the center of the homepage — is filled with an Action Stream that enlightens nothing and holds no long-term interest.
We’ll finish up with Anil Dash’s blog. Anil has been blogging for a long time and he places a prime importance on good, clear, effective, writing. His articles are always a great read. Most of one of his sidebars, however, is filled with a neverending Action Stream that only kills the freshness of his blog. Perhaps Anil is playing along by employing the Plugin on this site — there’s a lot of peer pressure to Twitter and Action Stream if your friends are doing it — but I somehow expected Anil to be above that sort of verneration of dead deeds.
I understand people enjoy marking their day and then publishing what they’ve done because it provides a sense of accomplishment. However, I don’t understand why that sort of want is considered fodder for blogging but, then again, I’ve argued here in the past bloggers should be licensed and vetted before being allowed to touch the “publish” button in order to save the web from unnecessary noise and the mishmash of incomprehensible writing.
The Plugin we really need — and the Plugin that would make every blog highly read — is one that predicts the forbearance of hidden desires.
The “Precog Plugin” would work a little something like this:
- In two seconds, Ritchie hopes to grab that cookie out of that baby’s hand.
- In five minutes, Ritchie plans to punch the bartender and leave without paying.
- In 27 hours, Ritchie desires to race naked in the street with that girl he met on the subway.
If the Precog Plugin won’t work without a brain implant, then I guess I’ll just have to settle for my Bodily Fluids Stream if I ever hope to follow in the new ritual of dead blogging. After all, peeing is always more popular than Flickring.