Must Love Blogs
The scene takes place at the airport. Two younger gorgeous people are doing the I’m-late-for-my-flight routine and comically bump into each other at the same counter when their flights are canceled. What are the odds?
It turns out they know each other. What are the odds? They recognize each other. What are the odds? They go back to those hard, little uncomfortable seats and show each other their devices. (You can’t make this up.)
“So, what do you do?”
“I’m a blogger.” He says it like its the most interesting thing in the world.
“That is so crazy and weird, because I’m a blogger, too!”
Instantly their love “goes viral.” Naturally. I mean, what are the odds? Two bloggers? In the same airport??? In a country of 311 million people?????? Where only 300 million actually pump out “content” on a regular basis? (Incidentally, that leaves absolutely no one with enough time to actually read this shit.)
Trudeau: Alright, we’ve got a body in the morgue that seems to have died twice. Assuming it’s not a computer error, what do we assume?
John McClane: That somebody’s about to seriously fuck with this airport.
Trudeau: What the hell is that supposed to mean? I mean, I know we’re dummies up here, McClane, so give us a little taste of your brilliant genius! I mean, you talking about a hijacking, a robbery or what?
Hell, the only people who don’t blog are those brain dead in comas and the White family from the Appalachian Mountains of Boone County, West Virginia. And those folks already have video biographers following them around 24/7.
In a world where even three-year-olds have blogs is it really that amazing that two bloggers should meet in an airport? Did I ask you about the odds? Is that really a story worth telling?
The two bloggers get so excited about it all that they sprint through the airport like O.J. Simpson hopped up on Red Bull. Until …
WTF? They run into a new Sears refrigerator? Just sitting there? Out on the concourse?
I had suspension of disbelief going on but this is just too much. Unbelievable! I mean, how in the hell did a refrigerator get past the Transportation Security Administration’s screening agents?
Continue reading →
Internet clogged by blogs of monkey exuberance
Hello my fellow blog monkeys!
I recently heard about a book entitled “The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture” by Andrew Keen. This isn’t any breaking or exciting news. The book has been out since 2007. But it is news to me. So I thought I’d monkey on about it.
The premise of the book is basically that “amateur” content, like our humble little blogs, threatens to clog vital information on the internet. Keen’s book also claims that blogs do very little to further knowledge and understanding since they basically represent the limited world views of their amateur authors.
I went to his official web site looking for a little bit more information about him and his book. I clicked the link for his book and it took me to a page that said, “The item does not exist.” That outcome amused me greatly. Amateur indeed. Well played, Mr. Keen! 🙂
In addition to his book, Keen is also famous for this quote:
…instead of creating masterpieces, these millions and millions of exuberant monkeys –many with no more talent in the creative arts than our primate cousins – are creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity.
Don’t hold back, Andrew. Tell us how you really feel. I can only assume, after reviewing his web site, that his feelings on the matter haven’t changed.
Can I write as well as Keen? Hells no. I’m sure that compared to him I suck. I can barely understand the grammars and all the other things. I’m probably one whisker’s breadth removed from a LOL cat.
Something tells me, however, that there is more to it than Keen is willing to admit. Does a blogger, even an “amateur” one, have to have the writing skills of Mr. Keen in order to be entertaining? Interesting? Factual? I say, “Nay!” I bet they hardly don’t and stuff.
You don’t have to have perfect grammar and wonderful writing skills to make valid points. Even someone peeing their pants while standing in the batter’s box at home plate can get an accidental “bloop” base hit while flinching in uncontrollable fear. 🙂
Keen’s comment about “exuberant monkeys” is a reference to what Wikipedia calls the “infinite monkey theorem” which states:
A monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.
I think most of us have heard about that theorem at some point. Did you also know that you can actually calculate the odds? 🙂 You can find out a lot more than you ever dreamed of about this on the Wikipedia page, including mathematical formulas and such.
I have a passing fancy with probability and statistics. Anyone who has played Monopoly knows that a dice has a one in six chance of showing any given number. Most who have played the casino game of craps know that the odds of a certain outcome with two dice is one in 36. In short, that’s because casino dice have six sides and six multiplied by six equals 36.
The same concept can be extended to the infinite monkey theorem. By setting some conditions, like a keyboard with only 26 characters, one for each letter of the alphabet, you know the odds of each letter will be one in 26. (We’ll use a keyboard with only 26 keys since we’re not going to worry about things like punctuation, capitalization and grammar.) With those parameters defined, the odds for randomly typing sequences of letters can now be calculated.
Let’s say you want a one-letter word. The odds are 1 in 26.
For a two-letter word the odds are 1 in 676.
For a three-letter word the odds jump to 17,575. If a monkey had “eternity” I’m sure he could pump out three-letter words all the time.
What about a word like “Hamlet,” however? That’s a pretty necessary word to the complete works of Shakespeare. It turns out that a six-letter word like that on our special keyboard, the odds are a whopping 1 in 308,915,776. And that’s only a six-letter word! This result also assumes that the monkey is remarkably consistent and hits all keys on an equal basis. We all know he wouldn’t really do that. 🙂
Let’s forget about the “complete works” of Shakespeare and only worry about one play, like Hamlet. According to Wikipedia there are about 130,000 characters in Hamlet.
In the case of the entire text of Hamlet, the probabilities are so vanishingly small they can barely be conceived in human terms.
Interesting, eh? Oh shit, what am I talking about? You’re all long gone by now. 🙂
Even though the task seems daunting, this particular monkey is going to keep up the good fight and keep pounding this keyboard as much as I can. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll get lucky.
Hey, what’s that button there? PUSH! “Mmmmmm! Banana!”
What’s fun about blogging? And why do I do it?
Let’s be honest. A big reason is feeding ye olde ego. I’m not going to lie about this, I gotta keep it real, yo. I found out recently I may have a streak of narcissism within me. I guess I’m part show-off. Who knew? 🙂
Another piece of the fun has got to include watching the stats, too. Or, as the good folks at WordPress put it, “obsessing.” If you check your stats several times a day on a regular basis you just might be obsessing.
Speaking of stats: last week was this blog’s fourth best week ever. And, in terms of traffic, March 2010 is officially my most successful month to date. And the abyss is about to hit the only kind of 10k I’ll ever personally experience.
OK, enough obsessing. What I really want to talk about today is the funnest thing about blogging:
Meeting and getting to know my fellow bloggers!
Yep. That’s it. I’d rather read what y’all have to say than most anything else on the net. You bunch of monkeys at keyboards. (More on that later. Heh.)
I just counted and I subscribe to 61 of your blogs. Wow! And I use my “blog surfer” function constantly. That means if you write it, I’m going to read it. And that is a lot of fun.
Unlike other media, though, like newspapers, TV and radio, I’m not limited to a read-only mode. If I’m moved by what I read I can leave a comment and in the vast majority of cases the actual blogger will respond. I mean, seriously, can it get any more exciting than that?
As for as blogging is concerned I believe that “comments” are the coin of the realm. They are generally fun to receive (especially if they are on-topic and don’t attempt to disembowel me – hint hint) but they are even more fun to give. I guess one of those old adages about giving and receiving and stuff like that might even be true.
Even though I’ve made a commitment to blog every damn day – even if it kills me – giving out those comments is just as important to me. And lately I’ve been sucking at my comment production, mainly because of time constraints. My writing time has been diminished the last week fews, and of course, there is also the ongoing work on my novel. I’m up to three sentences now!
So if you’ve noticed a reducing in my comment output of late, I sincerely apologize for that. Please know it is not intentional. I have not dropped anyone from my reading list. I’m still read every delicious word you write. Unfortunately, for you anyway, just like the Terminator, I will be back. And then you’ll just have to live with it. Mwuhahah!
Stranger in a strange comment land
One thing is clear: I write. Badly. Let’s face it – some people have a way with words and some people — well — not have way.
The pen is mightier than the sword, or in this case, the written word. And my sword is dull. I live and die on the ability to edit.
On my own blog this works fairly well. I can go back and edit and re-edit and re-edit again until I’ve cleaned up about 10 percent of the most glaring errors. Then the post is deemed good-to-go. Yes, I have my standards.
On my own blog I am the King. I wield godlike powers over what I have written. I edit with a ruthlessness all my own. I hack and slash words like there is no tomorrow. I correct the spelling of words that got past me and my built-in spellchecker. I fix words that my spellchecker recommended in error that I foolishly accepted. I fix words that even though quite badly misspelled somehow matched something valid in the dictionary. (Keyboard monkey alert!) And finally I go back and read third time with my “reader’s hat” and trim away any unneeded fluffy words. (This step is pure fiction. I never actually trim out any fluffy words. They are all my babies, little bundles of joy that I have birthed. I’m not about to take them out.)
On the other hand, sometimes I venture out onto other people’s blogs…
There I am rendered a stark naked shadow of my former self, all my powers stripped away, left impotent and helpless.
If I make a mistake on a comment, well that is just too damn bad. I’ll have to eat it for all eternity. (Or until the next database glitch, whichever comes first.)
Maybe I decide to share about my stress level and manually type into someone’s WordPress comment field: “Please don’t write to me for the next couple of days. I’m extremely busty right now.” Oops. My bad. Too late. I already clicked the dreaded “Submit Comment” button.
So I have a suggestion for the good folks at WordPress that will fix this once and for all. Give each blog administrator the option to allow editing of comments. Those who don’t want to enable the option, fine. Things will remain exactly as they stand today.
So why not allow comments to be edited? What’s the case against this? Well, for one thing it allows “take backs.” It represents a loss of control for the blog owner. For another, once comments have been saved and replied to, a sneaky person could return and edit their original comment to make the following replies look like they came from a bunch of dumb asses. Nobody wants that, right? (I’m trying to look innocent here.)
For the rest of us, however, a workable solution could go a little something like this:
I think this would be a fantastic solution and would allow people to fix their own mistakes like obvious typos, broken URLs, etc.
Think about it, WordPress, will ya?