The Blogging Dilemma

Many of my friends (and strangers) have asked, Why I don’t “blog” about myself? and what happened around me during the day? To answer that in a abrupt and blunt manner, “Dude – even I’m not interested as to what’s happening around me – let alone someone else!” That, however was the easy answer. As blogging has really taken off, so has something else. I don’t know how quite to describe it – or if there is a word or phrase for it – for the what its worth, I’ll try my best to narrate my displeasure.
Bloggers are writing millions of lines a day. That’s analogous to the thoughts and events that every person who is blogging is experiencing. Then, everyone is trying to get noticed about the noise (online chatter), to top it all, everyone seems to be in a frenzy – visiting other blogs, commenting on them, hoping they in turn will come back and comment on yours and vice versa. Increasing our popularity statistics… how many people that connect back to us, etc.

Its like walking down a crowded street. Everyone’s chatting, and then you want to know what everyone’s been chatting about. So you go and eavesdrop (for a lack of a better word) as to what the person’s been saying and then pass a comment, hoping that the person in return will eavesdrop and will listen to as to what YOU have to say and then drop a comment. Whilst, everyone at the end of the day is calculating their popularity points. “Hey I got 40 comments on my blog today!”, and this whole game continues… day in … day out! Never ending it seems.

Well for starters – I have so much going on in my life (and I would assume everyone else too) that its hard enough to keep up with the pace of life. Now to add more weight to my shoulders, I’m expected (okay well not expected, but the blogging world asks of me) to go to other sites and understand (focus?) as to what’s been happening in their life, and I’m expected to do this of many other blogs. Well folks, it gets tiring after a while. Sometimes it feels like: he said this, I said that, they said this and we said that, he did this and I know what she did, and did you know I went here, and she came over, did you know her, she knows me and we know them and they know us, and blah blah blah!. Urrgh! It almost prompts me to pull my hair and shout “Stop the insanity!!!!”

I’ve witnessed so many blogs where comments being added are simply to get noticed the “Me too!” syndrome as I would like to call it. Just for the sake of leaving a comment, people do so. To make matters worse, then there is this entire thread that starts in the comments section where someone is trying to illustrate their comment whilst others would clobber the same. I mean it will never end. I’ve even read some die-hard blogs where every conceivable moment of the day is captured in writing. Who is reading all this? (is the million dollar question that comes to mind). Sure I (like many others) visit blogs, but I do not find it compulsory of myself to leave a comment on every blog entry, or for that matter to leave a comment at all (perhaps in the reasoning of letting the author know that “Hi – I’m Faisal and I read your blogs”).

Remember Orkut, where everyone went on a gold rush to get as many members added to their network (just so you look soooo well-connected), and then you would leave (exchange) scraps. The tide came and then went away. Sadly, I too was part of this wave. I won’t deny it. I never did manage to get the 100+ people on my list, nor did I have the 1000+ scraps nor a dozen testimonials and not to mention I never got the 50 fans! It had its moment and then I guess Orkut simmered down and so did the usage on it.

But when I decided to write (start) my own blog (which can be read at faisalkhan.com) I wanted it to be enjoyable for everyone to read. I share, what I find amusing, intriguing, interesting and/or worth mentioning, etc. No one really wants to read how I trolled along the traffic jams in Karachi, or whom I met during the course of the day, or if my favorite cousin called me up or not, or if what transpired between me and my parents &/or siblings. I know the written reality may sound too harsh, but sometimes I feel this is the truth that everyone knows – but dare not confront. Perhaps the most annoying thing I come across every now and then are these long-winded poems that you can read on some blogs. Don’t get me wrong, I love poetry. But to have to read through 34 odd long posts that you thought of in one week… I’ll pass. I’d like to share this one poem I came across… and I quote “the nauseating experience of you, brings me closer to me, myself”, ah! but wait! The punch line is – some twenty people who left their comments, came to a universal conclusion of this to be a wonderful two line authentic quote and raved about it. Hello! Did I miss out on something? Sure there is a poet (and a singer) trapped in all of us, occasionally getting released in the shower. But remember folks – there is a reason why its trapped inside of you – for mankind hopes that it will never be found and certainly not released!

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) I am not against people blogging their personal lives… nothing wrong in that. But to take it to the extent as many bloggers have taken in – seems like a waste of time. A good friend of mine once inquired of me, what is it that I wants readers to experience from my blog. I immediately knew the reply: a laugh perhaps. A point to ponder or even Aha! I did not know that! – that to me is the epitome of blogging. I love visiting blogs where I learn something, or have a good laugh, or something for my gray-cells to chew on. It makes the whole experience more memorable. More worth while, and I can bet you your bottom dollar, I’ll visit again!

Blogging has given us a world audience and the ability to log about ourselves. It really has. But the pen did the same – eons ago. Not everyone takes up writing – just for the sake of writing, (I get paid for writing – so there you have my reasoning). Just because blogging is there – you need not blog. You could be one of those wonderful readers who comes by reads and goes away, and every now and then, leaves a comment, that is more than just the “Me too!” And if you are going to blog, make a difference! Stop telling us about your bad-hair days, or how you hate your roommate with a hole in his sock, or your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,… day at university, leave the cat stories out and certainly leave the cat –fights out, so you composed a song whilst in the bathroom, please don’t share it, oh! and we really don’t want to know the eighteen songs you listened to today, what you had for lunch, and the office politics, how you hate your boss and vice versa, and how origami is now your main-stream past-time enjoyment. If you are going to blog, make it worthwhile. Make it count. Make it lasting. Light up my day, put a smile on my face. Let my worries go away. Intrigue me further into something magnetic and worthy of my time, make me ponder at your posts, prompt me to look you up for a pat at the back… in short – rise above the noise and be hailed!

This Article was originally written for Money Magazine

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