You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Jul 9, 2004
Memo to Whiny Bloggers: YOU ARE DUMB.
So I flip past Wired, and see this big story about Blog Burnout. What's happening is that bloggers are starting blogs, the blogger's blogs are getting popular, the bloggers feel compelled to constantly blog because they're popular, and the blogging bloggers get blogged out and stop blogging.
BOO. FUCKING. HOO.
Some people continue to wonder why I insist that You Are Dumb is NOT A BLOG. Well, here's one reason why. I don't need to be lumped in with a bunch of whiny-pants wusses who fold like a Holiday Inn towel during an origami convention under the crushing weight of audience expectations, real or imagined. Nobody goes around calling Sluggy Freelance a blog even though it's updated every day and automatically archived, you know.
So what causes the dreaded Blog Burnout? In some cases, it's the fact that the Internet is full of assholes who will constantly and repeatedly give you their unwanted opinion if you give them half a chance. That's what took down the Whisky Bar, home of blogger "Billmon."
"In the end, monitoring comments on my blog was becoming a progressively larger part of my blogging time, and I just got to the point where I wasn't able to keep up with it." Billmon did the sensible thing, and shut off the comments, but since he set the whole site up as a "bar" metaphor, he's now left with metaphorically shouting through his metaphorical window at all the actual assholes metaphorically sitting on his metaphorical stoop.
Billmon still proclaims that "That's one of the most exciting things about blogging, that ability to have dialogue with your readers." I don't understand that kind of blind optimism. I mean, here is a man who was just forced to stop having dialogue with his readers because he had to spend way too much of his time herding the little 'tards and keeping them from pissing on the furniture, and yet he still talks about "dialogue with the readers" as if it's something that should not only be permitted, but encouraged.*
Still, I have to give "Billmon" a bit more begrudging respect than, say, a Jason Kottke, a Glenn Reynolds, or the Daily Kos guy, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, who seem to have lost sight of the whole point of Saying Stuff On The Internet Because You Can. So I'll offer my unsolicited advice, based on their whining to Wired.
Jason Kottke: You start to feel like the readers are depending on you, and ... like you have to post something whether you feel like it or not, and that can be depressing.". The solution to this dilemma is simple. All people "depend" on free Net content for is to make it through another dull day in their cubicle. If people do not get their Free Internet Content, they will continue to breathe, eat, shit, and fuck as normal, and at worst, may be forced to buy a newspaper to read in the can. This is, as a blogger, NOT YOUR PROBLEM. You don't HAVE to do anything unless you've explicitly stated you would and you can't bear the consequences if you don't. This is why YAD, despite having been daily for months now, doesn't promise anywhere on the site that it's daily. SORTED. NEXT.
Glenn Reynolds: "I know that if I go more than about five or six hours without posting, or telling people that I'm not going to be blogging for the rest of the day, [I get e-mails like] 'You haven't posted anything in five or six hours. Are you OK?'" These people are idiots. Even assuming that something has gone Horribly Wrong, that you've had a stroke or your brother spontaneously combusted or your cat killed your ferret, what makes them think you'll be able to answer your e-mail? And what makes them think there's anything they can do to help you from their boring cubicle? Fuck them. Delete their messages and add their names to your e-mail filter so that you never hear from them again. Then mock them openly in your blog. SORTED. NEXT.
Kos Guy: "There's always pressure to have new content up on the site. And it's not like my readers are calling me up and saying, 'What the hell?' But you can sense it. You can sense it when you post something new and 10 minutes later there's 50 comments. You can almost feel they were sitting there waiting. I'm always feeling like I'm letting people down if I don't have any new stuff up on the site." This is not only the readers' problem, but it's a problem you are PROJECTING onto your readership. If they are not giving you money, and odds are they ain't, then they can suck it up or go hang. SORTED. NEXT.
Kottke again!: Sometimes it gets harder to find interesting stuff to talk about. There are 3 million blogs, and everyone is talking about everything. It's tough to deal with that sometimes, and you don't want to just be another person talking about the same stuff that everybody else is talking about." Tough shit. You ARE just another person talking about the same stuff. So am I. Accept that. If the stuff you say is interesting enough to catch the eyes of bored cubiicle drones, then it's good enough for them. Get over it. SORTED. NEXT.
Reynolds, again!: "There are times that people want me to have an opinion on stuff that I just don't have an opinion on," Then either shut up, or lie your ass off. SORTED.
Leave it to the Internet to create the blog, a system that allows people to say whatever they want whenever they want, on no particular schedule, whenever the whim strikes them, and then turn it into some hideous online codependent neurosis-fest. Get over yourselves.
*I realize this statement is, in many ways, fundamentally at odds with the very existence of the YAD Forum, but at least, like Super Chicken, I have the common sense to have known the job was dangerous when I took it.