The birds do it, the bees do it – even educated fleas do it – almost everyone writes a blog. And by God are they bad at it. There’s no vetting system, no qualification which allows competent people only to access ‘create blog URL’ on WordPress or Blogspot. This is where we stand: billions of boring people are writing to their heart’s content and posting unedited opinions on the free-for-all that is the Internet.
Everyone knows that a small amount of Internet sleuthing is a necessary diversion from every essay crisis; by ‘sleuthing’, I of course mean using the few ‘Boolean terms’ half-remembered from five years of compulsory ICT. With this information and a little concerted effort, the reward can sometimes be as great as finding your tutor’s personal blog. However, the initial glee and delight at having a new wealth of knowledge at your fingertips is soon supplanted by the realisation that there is no ‘undo’ or ‘unread’ button for your brain. The possibility of keeping any semblance of a straight face during the next tutorial looks ever-less likely and the desire to cunningly slip in oblique references to whatever hidden obsessions you’ve been privy to becomes almost overwhelming. This is certainly a case in which blogs do more harm than good, but it at least has the redeeming feature of being mildly entertaining and grammatically correct.
Most blog writers seem barely literate. Let’s be honest, if what you’re writing is worth reading, you’re probably already employed in an organisation with some form of sub-editing system in place. Without that safety net, even the best writers have the occasional mishap, and the worst are utterly incoherent. It’s more worrying when the tagline for a blog whose sentences appear heavily intoxicated (struggling to put one word after another) is ‘I’m studying a degree in Journalism’. Where do these people come from? The content is either a stunningly mundane account of the blogger’s latest holiday – with an overdose of adjectives because ‘I’m practically a journalist’ – or a stunningly mundane account of a generic ‘serious issue’. Why they feel the need to devote almost an essay’s worth of words to the subject instead of condensing it to merely an obnoxious tweet or Facebook status is beyond my understanding.
One of the worst types of blogger, however, is undoubtedly The Classmate. The moment you find their blog will be one of the most fateful of your educational career; because they’re doing the same subject as you, the blog will become an easy way to realise how much more work they are doing than you. It begins to suck you in as you return repeatedly in an attempt to torment yourself into some sort of motivation. The redeeming feature is that in spite of how much work they mention doing, their posts are just as dull, uninformed and grammatically dubious as everyone else’s – all that hard work clearly reaping its rewards. I personally can’t tell which is the more serious classmate blog crime: posting poetry? posting endless artsy self-pictures? or posting about how you really are the only one who’s ever baked a cake? All are fairly insufferable.
This is not to say that all blogs are terrible. Most blogs are terrible. A very few rise above the dense pit of mediocrity. I don’t know if tumblr counts as a blog, but, in all honesty, I often find myself having a much deeper emotional connection to a .gif with a short line of text on essaycrisis.tumblr.com than with any supposedly meaningful spiel about the human condition or whatever. This says as much about how great essaycrisis is as it does about the dire situation of blogs.
What sets the good blogs apart is a sense of humour – that and the awareness of the value of some things remaining unshared. If you want to write, just be aware of the bathos of everyday life and feel comfortable laughing at how ridiculous you are. Please write something worth reading, or don’t write at all.