Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Who's who in America

No real reason why I picked that title except that the one post I've done on WWIA tends to get one or two weird comments a year.  Which means every year people get the damn letters and turn to the internet to try to figure out WTF with WWIA.  The last comments we got, which we didn't bother to publish was, no offence, written by Ted Kaczynski's kindred spirit.  Or ghost.  I mean real unabomber manifesto kind of stuff.  The world is ending due to the horrible chaos of meaningless similitudes and medicrities upon which we subside bla blady bla kind of stuff.  So again, no offence to the gentleman who wrote the comments, but not something I really wanted to publish.

But on the other hand if you are someone else who is trying to figure out what WWIA is and why you got something about it in the mail, well, you've come to the wrong place!  A few year's back I did some digging, decided it was a self-glorifying kind of thing, probably only read by other people who made their list, and left it at that.  But stick around!  Maybe you'll find something in our roughly 2 posts per year that you'll like, right?

But that's not what I was going to post about.  I was thinking just now about just how freaking huge the internet is, and the shear magnitude of the number of conversations that are taking place on the internet all the time.  And I'm using the term conversation broadly here - perhaps I should say social interactions with language or soemthing - but as an example I view this blog post as part of a conversation.  It's just that you probably won't answer back *grin*.

Pondering the number of conversations taking place made me wonder if anything that any one of us says on the internet, any blogger, tweater, poster, whatever, has to say, is in any way original.  I mean what are the odds, for example, that I'm the only one doing a post about how there is guaranteed to be an absurd amount of redundancy in the communications taking place between so many millions of people who quite often think all too much alike?  I believe those are pretty long odds.  Almost any time I have an idea, if I do a Google search, I can find someone else who had that idea, wrote about it, and either made money off of it or was mocked mercilessly for it.  And what are the odds that only happens to me?  Pretty small again, right?  And the point is that if we have a population of millions and millions of conversations, there is just no damn way anything you or I may have to say hasn't been said already, and typically dozens of times in about 4 languages and maybe even Klingon (depending on how dorky your idea was to being with, of course).

I figure in most conversation that is NOT recorded and posted on the internet for everyone to see that is not such a big deal.  I don't talk about how much I love a certain kind of beer with a friend only to wince as I realize that someone else, probably oodles of someone else's, have said that very thing about the beer.  In fact, I probably want that to be the case.  Then I know that my good taste is vindicated!  But if I post about that beer, if I place my half of that conversation on line, for some reason I want that post to be at least a little different than all the other posts.  Somehow unique.  And I suppose that is because I'd like the post to be a contribution to the universe of conversation that is not entirely redundant, and so as a consequence also entirely unnecessary.  It is probably arrogance on my part, but I have this goal to want to say something new or different or even interesting.

Lately I've come to feel that this represents a probably unreasonably high bar.  We live and blog in an era of professional bloggers, and a surprising number of those bloggers are both very interesting and very skilled.  Which means that whatever I am saying has probably 1) already been said and 2) already been said better.  And if it hasn't been said by a pro, and better than myself, it may mean it wasn't all that interesting to begin with (insert your sardonic agreement here).

What does one do about this conundrum? This desire to be distinctive combined with an awareness of the staggering multiplicity and inevitable redundancy of ideas?  Not sure.  It's probably best to just stop worrying about it.  Quit over analyzing and either type or don't type, share the ideas or don't.  After all the consequences for failing to do so could include further boredom for those unfortunate few readers tricked into this post by the WWIA title and maybe even eventual mental breakdown for poor old Shifter.  I'm sure someone out there has driven themselves nuts thinking about this stuff.  If we just do a Google search, we can track that poor bastard down too.

1 comment:

mathcat said...

One argument for posting anyway is that people who read your blog don't necessarily have the same ideas/opinions/analysis that you do, so they won't have thought to google the idea, so they would not know anything about it if you didn't write about it.