An old friend (lapislogic.blogspot.com) recently noted a theme that I also have been picking up on from time to time among media types- the notion that blogging and Facebooking and twittering is making us a nation of narcissistic jerks, so convinced of our own importance that we must broadcast our every last thought into the universe. A similar reaction developed a little while ago when the "20 Things About Me" craze was all over Facebook-there was soon a rash of "I Don't Care About Your Stupid List" articles in magazines and newspapers.
My first reaction: AM NOT! AM NOT!
My second reaction: Don't you have to first be good looking before you can be narcissistic?
My third reaction: Look, if you took everybody who has ever read my blog, I'm not even entirely positive we could form a softball team, never mind a media empire. (But if we do, I have dibs on pitcher.) I have no illusions about how important I am. Hell, I'm a married man with a teenaged child-there are people in my life who remind me regularly how unimportant I am.
I think that part of this whole social media/interactivity thing is that the gatekeepers (and by this I mean everyone from Steven Metcalf at Slate to Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe to Oprah Winfrey Her Own Self) are starting to get a little pissy because we are talking back to them. That's good, I think, in the long run. We need their experience-Dan Shaughnessy, for example, has seen a lot more baseball games than even I have-but we don't ONLY need their experience anymore.
I think it is challenging them. Some will get better, others will stomp their feet and cry about how unfair it is until they don't have jobs anymore.
So why do I do it?
I don't know. I have a few people who stop in here regularly, and it flatters me to no end that you bother to waste your precious seconds reading me, but I'm not getting rich doing this. I am making precisely $0.00 per hour, and I think I owe Katie (dontcallmekathleen.blogspot.com) half of that.
I have been writing for pleasure since approximately age 14 or so. I have been reading for another ten years or more before that. That means nearly four decades of being involved with words in some form or another, either consuming it or creating it and usually both. I do it because I love it, I do it because I need to do it, and I do it because I've always done it, and I can scarcely imagine not doing it.
If that makes me narcissistic, then lead me to the pool.
(Ten points for literature people/mythology geeks who understand that last sentence.)