Okay, so let’s get a little more objective here. Let’s pause a moment and reflect on weblogs, what they are, and why they exist.What is a weblog? Well, a weblog (or ‘blog’ in the slang of the afflicted) is like a public journal. An autobiography of sorts, a weblog is an intimate look at the thoughts of an individual person, written from the perspective of that person, updated regularly, created as a publicly browsable web page. The first weblogs were created by simple web folk in the late 1990s to keep track of interesting things they found on the web. Basically lists of links, they were a precursor to modern web-news sites like Slashdot.org. Many of these offered personal editorials from their link compilers/authors. These weblogs were pioneering a new idea of personal opinion sites that would someday blossom into a virus like phenomenon of “blogs”, where hoards of nobodies regurgitated their every thought into the digital void. At some point in this primordial weblog soup, the online diary emerged onto the scene.
Some of the first really useful “online diary” type sites I remember seeing were created by key software developers of rather famous software projects to announce daily or weekly progress on their work to their eagerly awaiting audiences in an effort to curb the incessant emails asking them for progress reports, current status of bugs, etc. They could simply point these eager beavers to their weblog and tell them to follow along. To facilitate their own weblogs, many developers and webloggers created rudimentary weblog programs that allowed them (and anyone else) to easily create their online diaries; this was another large step toward the weblog explosion. Other legitimate uses of weblogs grew quickly and the distinction between online diary and weblog became less distinct as link lists evolved into internet news sites. Large-scale weblogs tracked the progress of National Geographic teams in the Sahara, the status of international rally races, the daily lives of astronauts; smaller-scale weblogs were created by other celebrity figures in order to reach out to fans/followers. Pretty much anyone who was well-known might have some sort of online diary: models, magazine editors, authors, government figures, celebrities, scientists, even royalty. Along with these, came the copycats. Suddenly, just about everyone decided they too should have an online diary. Enter, the personal weblogger, or “blogger”.
Anyone in the computer industry, especially web developers, probably knows someone who has, or has themselves, some sort of online diary. In it, they rant about things that upset them, they swoon over girls/boys they like, they expose their deepest fears and herald their most miraculous events with bold tags and large colored fonts. They evangelize for their favorite computer manufacturers, they list URLs they find interesting, they philosophize on mundane linguistic topics and editorialize on current political issues to, apparently, everyone. Therein lies the catch, of course, for their “audience” is probably, at best, only a couple of pairs of eyeballs and the countless hours they spend at the keyboard typing out their inner thoughts are likely wasted on a couple of readers, whom they will probably never actually meet. So why do they do it?
There are, I’m sure, as many reasons to keep weblogs as there are weblogs authors, however, some common threads surely exist between them. What could motivate someone to keep a public journal of their innermost thoughts? What possible reasons would someone have? Are some legitimately insightful or original, of course! Are most? No, probably not. So why? Well, I think most can be classified into one (or many) of several basic categories.
The Reverse Voyeur. This person suffers from a serious personal attention debt. I think this probably accounts for the majority of weblog authors. Not so much an exhibitionist, they aren’t making a spectacle of themselves in order to attract attention, no these people simply wish to be spied on intimately. They crave attention from someone else in their lives, they wish that someone would see them for who they really are and want to spend real time with them. Some are quite balanced persons who, for whatever reasons, have become recently socially disabled and crave the contact of another human being in some way…these acute cases probably cure themselves after human contact is resumed. Others are simply social outcasts who have never received quality human attention and to them, the weblog is a vast unknown audience that actually listens to their thoughts, cares about their opinions, and listens to their jokes. All of these persons are reaching out into the void in the hopes that someone will read their digital thoughts and the thought that they are communicating with others (even though no one else may be listening) is comforting. It is the same phenomenon found in many religions, as followers pray into the void, knowing the communication is one way, but the hoping that their thoughts are being received by the heavens brings them peace in some way. These people should be shot on sight and all their genetic material vaporized…fucking losers. Chronic Reverse Voyeurs probably need sex worse than normal people need oxygen.
* A side note about my use of the term “reverse voyeur”. It’s not an official term, but one I adopted to differentiate between an exhibitionist, who makes a spectacle of in an effort to _draw_ attention to themselves, and the reverse of a voyeur, who simply likes to look at other people intimately. A “reverse voyeur”, then, in my terminology, would be someone who likes to be _looked at_ intimately, however, does nothing to attract others to give them attention, aside from simply _being_. The physical analogs of each might be an exhibitionist, who runs down the street naked, and the reverse voyeur, who just _wishes_ that someone would peep through their open window while they are taking a shower.
The Exhibitionist. These people are genuinely out there trying to wiggle their junk in everyone’s faces. They are ACTIVELY making a nuisance of themselves via their weblogs in order to draw attention. They rant about controversial topics and take the side most likely to produce the largest public outcry from their readers. They want attention and don’t care if it’s bad or good, they just need someone to pay them attention. The Exhibitionist often evolves out of failed attempts at other weblogger archetypes in the same way that the frantic struggles of a drowning swimmer evolve from the patient water-treading that slowly drains their physical reserves. They are the kids that behave badly in school because it gets them noticed. These people deserve all the bad attention they can get…let them wallow in their filth and enjoy the show.
The Self-Important Moron. These people honestly believe that they have ‘listeners’ who actually care what they think about the various topics they rant about in their weblogs. They believe that their opinions matter in the grand scheme of things. They are typically idealists who believe that one-person-can-make-a-difference bullshit applies to them personally or that they are somehow more enlightened than the rest of us schmucks. They tend to be rather self-involved or often highly opinionated about one particular subject area (politics, music, etc.) and feel that their random meanderings on the subject are justified by their profound and unique insight into it. Truth is, nobody really fucking cares what these people think. These people deserve to be sodomized with a red-hot poker and slowly eaten alive by army ants.
The Obsessive-Delusional Ranter. These people can’t turn it off. They fixate on everything and NEED to talk about it. These are the people you have to find an excuse to walk away from occasionally because they just fucking won’t shut the hell up. They have an opinion on everything, whether they do or not. Often, their weblogs are unfocused, blindly-meandering, blatherfests that may start on one topic and end up passing through twenty new topics before finally ending in a non sequitur or some comment about a failed love affair two years ago. They’ll talk about the oatmeal they had for breakfast and come up with four reasons not to talk to chipmunks on a weekday and then get started on their opinions about Jewish footwear, all in the same log entry. They are severely agitated personalities who hunger constantly to express all the myriad thoughts in their head, but often have no one to listen to them (see: Reverse Voyeur, above) or just no one around at the time to listen to them. These people need a pre-frontal lobotomy followed by a cinderblock head message or a morphine drip and a phat blunt.
The Town Crier. This person uses weblogs to announce things. Typically, the Town Crier archetype doesn’t really use weblogs for anything other than to let the void know about important events in his or her life. Anything worth writing on a calendar is typically fair game; anniversaries, birthdays, kid’s first tooth, new car purchase, new computer part, interesting event at work, etc. This person seems to think that people are watching their weblog intently for updates, hoping to get a glimpse into the fascinating world that is their own. Maybe they’ve told someone in their family about their weblog and assume that that person is looking at it occasionally for updates (and maybe one or two is). This person really doesn’t invest much time in their weblog, they are often hovering on the use-not-use line somewhere, but haven’t made the move to completely abandon their weblog yet. Often they are recovering “bloggers” who have previously been much more active in their weblog authoring, but have, as of late, begun to create entries less often because of outside influences and actual honest to goodness life. Weblog authors who are _only_ Town Criers have a chance, they can be saved, but typically only by themselves.
The Tragically Geek. This person is a depressing realization of all that is bad in the land of the nerd. They may be very powerful geeks in their own right, excellent programmers or scientists or mathematicians or philosophers, but they’ve lost their soul to the world of the geek and will probably never get it back. They live in front of a monitor, they follow the weblogs of friends and write their own weblogs because they realize their friends will read theirs too, friends typically known by aliases like ‘warzd00d’ or ‘Ph33rFr33k’ or ‘No><ius’. They haven’t seen real sunlight in weeks and their skin is the color of copy paper. If they are male, the last time they saw a real vagina in person was probably on the day of their birth or perhaps when they paid some girl at a club some extra money to show hers to them. They can tell you the value of Pi to twelve digits and their primary mode of socialization is by touching plastic keys and looking at a flatpanel LCD screen. These people should probably all be sent to an island without technology for a decade to make them learn to be real humans again, but unfortunately, the world would probably collapse without them, so they just have to stay in their Aeron chairs and maintain the real world, sortof like those batteries on the Matrix.
The Ego Stroker. This weblogger is sortof a cross between a Reverse Voyeur and Self-Important Moron. A feeling of zero self-worth leads this weblogger to reach to the void for validation of their lives. In real life, this dumbass probably does the same thing to everyone they meet. They tell you about their day, they tell you about something they did, all in the hopes that you’ll provide them with the sort of approval their Daddy never gave them. This weblogger listens to the silence and assumes that nothing is better than someone saying something bad about what they’ve done and, like a fourteen-year-old with a Hustler, masturbates their self-esteem to the rhythm of the keyboard clicks. This weblogger is often depressed, sad, and lonely…basically a fucking looser who needs a reality check written in whatever comes out when they get a steel-toed Redwing to the temporal lobe.
The Crossover Poster. This weblogger isn’t satisfied with just talking about THEIR stupid moronic opinions, they have to crosspost with someone ELSE’s stupid moronic opinions, link to THEIR weblog and then create a weblog entry that regurgitates the other person’s post, then expands on their personal feelings about the original post, what it means to them in the deepest most fluffy happy pathetic useless fucked-up places of their hearts. Not _only_ can these dipshits not come up with something useful to post in their own weblogs, they feel the need to post something so badly, that they steal someone else’s content to feed their insatiable need to beg the universe for attention. These people need to be set on fire and put out with a switchblade.
The Aspiring Writer. This weblogger is probably one or many of the other weblogger personality archetypes and is using the excuse that they are an aspiring writer to justify their meaningless drivel. They’ll marvel at how wonderful it is to have a printing press in every home, or they’ll talk about how their weblog helps validate their writing and builds writing skills, steadfastly ignoring the fact that they could do the exact same thing WITHOUT a weblog and not publicly. They are undoubtedly following some other agenda or fulfilling some other need, but have found an excuse that seems acceptable in their minds that justifies the electronic equivalent to holding up a big sign that says, “Please look at me! I’m important! Listen to me!” These people need to just accept what they are and deal with it or dive on a pitchfork.
The Pedant (a subclassification of Self Important Moron). This weblogger is basically the same asshole/bitch you know that enjoys arguing about the stupidest, most minute details of whatever subject they are ranting about at the time. They’ll argue about usage rules for an English word or rant about how a senator wears his shoes. They’ll feverishly pontificate about how nobody seems to understand or use correctly some esoteric networking protocol or how nobody seems to understand their horror at something Microsoft did. These people are utterly without lives and write weblog entries more as a way to pass the horrible lonely waking hours between work and sleep. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for the Pedants of the world, they just continue to bitch and moan their whole lives and even sometimes manage to find others like them, much to the eternal annoyment of the rest of the norms. Pedants are fucking arrogant annoying twats that need a railroad spike wedged in their aorta.
This is by no means meant to be a complete list. There are many many more ways that a weblog author can be a fucked up person…this list is meant as a demonstration of a handful of the mindfucked attitudes weblog authors may be experiencing.
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