For the past two years I have been living a lie. Come hear why tomorrow night.
I'll be on a panel on social media Thursday, May 9 (that's tomorrow) at 7 p.m. in Room 249 at the downtown campus of Madison College (MATC for those of you who didn't get the memo). It's part of the college's "The Writer's Life" lecture series. I'll be joined by people with something interesting to say, including Kristian Knutsen of Isthmus/thedailypage.com, Natasha Kassaulke of Madison College, Nick Heynen of Capital Newspapers and Annie Rubens of Social Media Breakfast Madison. The panel will be moderated by Madison College journalism instructor Larry Hansen.
Okay, so I'll give you a clue about how I've been living a lie and, no, I have not walked the Appalachian Trail. Among other things -- consultant, part time professor, lighthouse keeper, deer hunter, struggling (yet improving!) golfer, excellent husband, and reluctant dog owner (don't ask) -- I am a blogger.
Only I'm not. All I really do is write short essays most mornings and send them off to Kristian who posts them later in the day. Once they're online I sometimes check them to make sure I haven't missed any typos and to see how Kristian has tweaked my headline, but that's pretty much it.
According to an academic definition of blogging I am no blogger. Here's what Larry Hanson wrote in describing what bloggers do:
Social media writing is the act of communicating a specific message to targeted audiences (or not) via social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube, Blogger, WordPress, etc., etc. This message communicated, no matter what platform or what format, will hopefully spark a dialogue with intended audiences.
A big part of social writing, according to us, is blogging. Key to blogging is the discussion element. So, the blog post is the starting part for a "social" discussion held online.
But I don't do "social writing." In fact, I don't even like the concept. I rarely read the comments at the bottom of my blogs and I almost never respond. I'm ambivalent at best about sparking a dialogue.
The reason I don't do social writing is that occasionally I actually do read the comments. There's this one guy (hi Laurence!) who writes a comment almost every time I happen to look at them and it's almost always something along the lines of what a liberal idiot I am. Once in awhile a conversation will get going, but it's usually a conversation between two or three people trading insults, often having little or nothing to do with what I wrote. I've rarely read anything associated with my writing -- or for that matter with online news stories or columns -- that I would consider worth my time or anyone else's.
In short, if that's blogging, then I'm not doing it and never will. Blogging does not work in any useful way as a form of social intercourse. The small number of people who comment seem very angry and very bitter. Why would you want to spend your time with them?
But if you're angry and bitter, or just interested, you can force me to hear what you have to say by showing up tomorrow night at Madison College. You can even tell me what a liberal idiot I am.