If you read the truly popular and influential blogs, you will notice a distinctive voice coming from each blogger and a confidence in their words. These writers never mention the names of run-of-the-mill bloggers as friends, only other important bloggers — and usually by their first names, as if everyone in the world should know their first name, like Oprah. These bloggers have a hundred projects going on, just to remind you of their busy schedule. I eat that stuff up. I learn from it. In the competitive field of blogging, where there are hundreds of thousands of writers each competing for attention, it is important to present an image of strength. If you announce yourself as important, even if you’re a scrawny guy who usually gets sand kicked in his face, then the world starts following. No one wants to see the emperor without his clothes. People respect leadership. We all want President-Elect Obama to stand in front of America and say to the American public that he will solve all of our domestic and international problems. No one wants him to step in front of the podium at the press conference and say, “Uh, I’m not really sure what the f**k we’re going to do about Pakistan. Why do you think I’m sending Hillary there?” That would not be presidential.
I like blogging and I enjoy writing, so I feel the need to make believe that I know what I am doing here on “Citizen of the Month,” partly to fool you into coming back, and also to make you feel safe getting involved in blog activities like the Holiday Concert. I am not a born impresario. The trick is to ACT confident, or else you would be too afraid to trust me with your squeaky singing of “Jingle Bells.”
I try to be open with you, but I’m afraid of getting down and dirty with “emotional stuff” here on this blog. I’m not sure you want it. I see all the other blogs that you love and admire. You seem to want a blogger with a sense of confidence. Maybe it gives you something to shoot for. Am I wrong? Sometimes, a new blogger will make a comment on my blog, and I will immediately email her back. And then something odd happens. I seem to lose this person’s respect for me, as if I showed my cards too early in the game.
“Jeez… and I thought he was an important blogger.” I can hear the person saying. “Dooce would never email me. If he is emailing me, that must mean that he isn’t… that important… shit… why I am reading his stupid blog anyway!”
OK, enough… let’s get to the point of this post. There’s something about this online life that is depressing to me. I wish I could say it was because you were a bunch of assholes, cause then it would be easier. The truth is — most of you seem like really cool people. It is just these tiny little moments of interaction that I have with some of you each day makes me sad. Recently, I have NOT been READING my favorite blogs because I get this “what’s the point” feeling the minute I click on the link.
“I’m never going to know this person in real life.” I think. “It’s just frustrating.”
I guess I am feeling a little lonely here in New York. And who wants to admit that? That’s like showing your cards.
Blogging is easier when you have a significant other, or a demanding family life, because they bring you back to reality by demanding you take out the garbage. The trouble begins when you forget that blogging is really just about WRITING and not an alternative, equally-satisfying way to connect to other people. You cannot touch a computer byte.
New York City is a special place, especially on the busy streets of Manhattan. I love to walk down the crowded avenues, people-watching, letting all the energy wash over my body. That is how the Internet should be. It is a vibrant virtual city, with unlimited neighborhoods of information, stories, and drama. But to enjoy it, you need to have a strong sense of self, to separate yourself from the information overload of the masses, to walk with a sense of belonging. If you think too much about the others all around you, and your place among the mob, you lose your sense of self. You start to judge yourself, wondering if you are good as the businessman in the tailored suit. You begin to see yourself as small, as one of the other twelve million other suckers with the same unfulfilled dreams. What do I have special to say? Why should anyone give a shit? HE is the important one… the one everyone knows. The one on Page Six of the New York Post. The one who who knows the other important people by their FIRST names.
New York is especially horrendous when you have a lonely heart. The crowds lose their romance. It is not like a movie at all, with the horse-drawn carriages, Central Park, and Gershwin. When you are yearning for love in a large city, each passer-by becomes a possibility for human contact, but it rarely happens. The pace of the city is too fast. You take a quick glance at a fashionable woman, and all you can see is her face, her clothes, and the posture of her walk. Sure, sometimes you can catch the title of the book that she is gripping. Or the brand of purse. But what does this tell you about her? Not much. Is she even reading the book in reality or just carrying the latest non-fiction best-seller for show? Is the purse from Bloomingdale’s or is it a knock-off that she bought in Chinatown? You have to be satisfied with your limited amount of superficial contact with this individual, because she’s already passed. And there’s no time to fret. Every second there is another potentially interesting person walking by, and then whoosh, she is never to be seen again.
The Internet can be like that. Thousands walking by. I guess the only solution is to start tripping people.