It didn’t look anything like this today. I am about to drink brandy and warm my feet. Baxo is huddled behind the warm awning of my laptop screen. I am listening to Boomin’ Granny. I used to put it on repeat and let it go all night, just that one song. If you can call it a song? There was something calming about it. I saw you in the check out line – you dropped your coupons – and you were looking fine.
Just before, woefully underclothed at the bus stop, I had time to think about the Blog Explosion. (Funny how when you put capital letters on something it looks that much more noteworthy and like a Real Thing.) It wasn’t really a lofty or particularly probing train of thought. I started by thinking about myself. Which is a hard thing to help. I wish I could. I would like not to think about myself. It would be so much easier if I didn’t wake up with myself every morning. Not that I’m making excuses or anything.
So, an approximation of my bus stop thinking process:
ME: I should write that media release when I get home.
ME: But I should probably write a blog. I haven’t had the inclination to write anything whatsoever in ages.
ME: I’ve got nothing to say. God I’m boring.
ME: Or is it that everything else is boring?
ME: But I have to write something.
(Picture me now squinting, straining for subject matter, coming up with nothing. A man carrying plastic bags sits down a bit too close to me. The bus at the corner honks louder and longer than is strictly necessary at the daydreaming driver in front, chastising them for their green-turning-arrow-oblivion. Plus it’s cold. It’s getting late. It’s nothing like anything you might see on a postcard.)
From there I wondered about our compulsion to blog. Not just to blog but to digitally proliferate with such fervour that the big ball of matter that is the internet doubles its volume every 11 hours.*
I get it, most of the time. I get being online. I get why it’s good. I know what I like about it. I stay away from the dumb stuff. The web delights me. It is such a strange monstrous nebulously spongy thing. It’s one big bottomless cyber maw, rejecting nothing. It is revolutionary in big and small ways. It is also a bit revolting.
But the web is just a thing. We put it there, filled it up and made it what it is today (and a mere half of what it will be 11 hours from now). It’s just a macabre over-inflated warped hall-of-mirrors reflection of ourselves. The world’s newest biggest dumping ground, twinkling inside the lit-up husks of our computer screens.
In part the web interests me in the same way garage sales do. The casual but grubby voyeurism. The sheer boundaryless democracy of it. The bargains to be had and the pathos to be felt. Bobbing-headed car-dogs and posies of scented plastic flowers and desiderata plaques mixed in with pristine children’s encyclopedias, unchipped Crown Lynn and art heirlooms that haven’t seen the light outside the hicktown shed for decades.
But going back to me thinking about blogs as I waited for the bus, what I ended up thinking was: why do we do it? What is this human need… This need to chatter away about nothing?
Sometimes in the dark of night I like to personify the web. Metaphoricise it, if that’s even a word. It’s a game I play now that I’ve stopped putting Boomin’ Granny on repeat all night long.
Like: a giant driftnet catching flotsam and jetsam and stuff like the plastic shit you pull off six packs of beer.
Or a big lucky dip barrel.
Or. Actually I’m out of ideas now. You could give me some more, if you felt like it. I would like that. There’s a comments thingy down below which allows you to do that sort of thing.
Now it is brandy time. On that, Lord Byron was enbalmed in a vat of brandy. I am the picture of restraint by comparison.
* A few years ago IBM predicted that by the year 2010 the web would double in size every 11 hours. I’m not sure if it worked out bang on prediction. Someone told me the other day the web now doubles in size every week. But who are you supposed to believe in this day and age? [And, whatever you do, don’t take it from me.] Someone also told me that 1500000000000000000 bytes of new information was posted to the web last year. Well, true or not – and I’m sure it’s probably staggering – a number that big means absolutely nothing to me. It’s like saying infinity plus one.