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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Interesting ways to waste time

Okay, I’ve come clean, I’m a blogger. The unanswered question is whether I’m a blog reader.

As I developed my addiction over the past year, I was, for the most part, a blogger who did not read anyone else’s blog (with the exception of the student blogs listed here.) In time, I began to consider what this meant and I came to two conclusions. First, since I was not reading anyone else’s blog, they were not reading mine, and second, writing a blog without reading other blogs sort of means that you’re a jerk.

I was nothing more than some guy roaming around the Internet mumbling to myself. I was the guy at the party who gives you the stink eye and walks away when you introduce yourself. I was that neighbor who is always asking you to help him move a dresser but never answers the door when you knock.

I don’t want to be a jerk, although I can’t always help it, so I made a point of looking for blogs that I would read regularly. This is easier said than done. Let’s be frank. Most blogs are simply not worth reading. I’m not really interested in reading someone’s personal journal since most interesting people don’t have time to blog. I’m also not interested in someone’s creative writing since it’s rare to find much creativity in their efforts. Still, if you look hard enough, you will find blogs with which you can make a connection so if you are interested in blogging it’s really important that you read blogs as well – don’t be a jerk like me.

Here are some recommendations. I’m choosing mostly popular blogs and I’m avoiding those that might be the most offensive. Do you have any suggestions for the rest of us?

This Is Why You’re Fat This blog makes me hungry although I can’t eat these things at my advanced age (meaning I want my age to continue advancing so these things are off limits.) This is one to review regularly since it is frequently updated.

Stuff White People Like If you’re easily offended, this is one to avoid. If you’re not easily offended this is a really funny blog that lampoons pretentiousness like no other blog. The comments are MUCH more offensive and often the best part of the posts. You never really know if the comments are angry or satirical.

FailBlog I’m linking you to the G-rated version of this site since you never know what you’ll find here (if you prefer the full blog, just click on the logo.) This is a collection of pictures and videos of things that have failed at something. You will find an occasional win thrown in for good measure. There are 4 or 5 posts a day so this is one you can check regularly.

Strongly Worded I stumbled across this blog as I was looking for something interesting to read and I am glad that I did. Strongly worded letters to things like snow, chickens, and the Nabisco Corp.is a really good idea and John Strongly will surely get a book deal if he keeps it up. Based upon the fact that he has only a few followers and no ads on his site he is new to blogging so if you start reading him now you will eventually be able to say that you followed him before he was famous.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A monkey on my back

My name is Andy and I am a blogger. Like most personal problems, I was unaware of this fact until it was too late. A year ago this week, I turned to blogging as a form of mental exercise but I never thought it would become a habit. “I’ll just try it,” I thought. That was 360 posts ago – one a day without fail.

If you read this blog regularly, you realize that I haven’t written that many posts here. I’m not referring to this blog. It’s my other blog that’s nearly a year old.

One of the difficult aspects of working for an online degree program is that there’s always a chance that a student, or a potential student, will type my name into Google. Go ahead, give it a try. I promise, the results aren’t exciting. And that’s the point – I’ve crafted a purposefully boring online persona, at least under the name my parents gave me.

There is, however, another ‘me’ who blogs every day. He doesn’t have to worry that he’ll offend someone and cast a negative shadow on UIS. He’s free to have an opinion or free to complain about a bad day. That ‘me’ has 4 blogs, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and an email address. That other ‘me’ isn’t that exciting either but he’s the unguarded part of my personality.

I wonder how younger people will deal with this sort of multiple personality disorder? They’re growing up on the Internet and it is recording every horrible, awkward moment of their young lives. My generation has had to deal with embarrassing high school yearbook photos but their entire adolescent suffering is being recorded and archived just waiting for them to enter a career path. Are we going to see a trend of people legally changing their names so that they can reboot their identities?