Thoughts on Blogging

Ah, the freedom.

I’ve been doing some thinking about blogging since my liberation therefrom. That, of course, means research. My curiosity knows no bounds, I’ve been told.

I’ve wondered at my lack of number generation. I stopped writing for a online magazine because they wanted me to write “rants”. I remember when the editor-in-chief told me they were looking for rants I had to ask what she meant. Pretty much what she meant was “A rant or harangue is a monologue that does not present a well-researched and calm argument; rather, it is typically an attack on an idea, a person or an institution, and very often lacks proven claims.

“Some rants are used not to attack something, but to defend an individual, idea or organization. Rants of this type generally occur after the subject has been attacked by another individual or group.

“Rants are used often in situations requiring monologue. Comedians, such as Lewis Black or Rick Mercer, use rants as a way to get their message or punch-line across to the listening audience.”

I like Lewis Black’s comedy. Not sure if I’ve ever seen Rick Mercer. I also recognize (in Lewis Black’s case) that much of his rants are well researched. To me, it’s that research that makes it worth waiting for his punchline.

But the problem for me in ranting was the “…does not present a well-researched and calm argument; rather, it is typically an attack on an idea, a person or an institution, and very often lacks proven claims.”

Well, heck…why would I waste my time on a not well researched attack on someone or something, especially when they or it are not there to defend themselves?

So I began to wonder…

I don’t get a lot of comments on my blogs. I do get lots of emails about them. I compared what happens on my blogs to what happens on other people’s blogs. I have about 300 blogs in my reader, about 30 are from research institutions and are really updates on what they’re doing, who’s presenting, who’s coming and going. There’s not a lot of comments. I’d call them “news” feeds more than anything else.

There’s probably another 30 or so that are industry specific. Again, they’re more newsfeeds than blogs as I understand blogs. Another 30 or so are written by multiple authors or contributors.

I don’t follow any of these blogs daily. Heck, I don’t follow these blogs monthly. Or quarterly. I open up my reader every once in a while when there’s a break in my work and see what’s out there. “…a break in my work…” translates to maybe once or twice a year. I most often get my information from journals (Nature, Science, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Cybernetics and Human Knowing, Perception and Physical Reality, …).

When I do read through them, it goes pretty quick and mainly because most bloggers don’t offer a lot of information and do offer a lot of opinion.

Opinion again. I’ve studied how opinions form. I stay away from them the best I can.

So right now I’m answering some questions people sent in to Susan Bratton’s blog. It’s a fascinating exercise. I’ve been watching myself compose the answers.

Each response is basically a seminar in print. That’s not what I want, it’s simply that I don’t like offering an opinion unless I can back it up with lots of research.

Which means it’s not really my opinion. A few times people challenged my columns and I welcomed their input. Once or twice their challenges were what I recognize as rants. I thanked them for their thoughts. In all cases, I also posted the bibliographies for what I’d written. Never heard from any of them again.

Guess it’s a little harder to rant against someone who recognizes opinions for what they are and returns research in its place.

Sorry about that.


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