To Blog or Not to Blog

by rthieme on November 23, 2004

Islands in the Clickstream With a million birds chirping away in the digital trees, do we really need to hear another voice?

Or is the pleasure of singing – even in an empty auditorium – sufficient reward?

Listening to our own voices can have different effects. We can think we have something to say … we can become grandiose like a Willy Wonka blueberry girl … or we can discover feedback loops that self-correct how we think.

Introverts can have a hard time getting that about feedback loops. Extroverts discover what they think when they say it. Our mouths, the sources of endless loops of discovery, are linked to our brains with few filters. We look at what comes out and then we know what we must have been thinking. I started writing Islands in the Clickstream nearly ten years ago. I was not an “author,” merely another person on the web seeking to link up in a global network. Feedback fed my growth, and when those columns were published by Syngress Publishing in June, suddenly I was an “author.”

Now, I know better and so do you. Either words are worth writing or not, regardless of what we’re called. These days, we’re all authors. We don’t really need others to validate our processes of self-discovery.

I think blogs work the same way. I pop in and out of selected blogs the way I turn to people in line at the post office to generate conversations out of the necessity of moving slowly. I am starting a blog for similar reasons. It’s a way to link up with new interests and people as our collective focus changes over time. Blogs grow feedback loops the way potatoes placed in water grow roots. If they don’t, we have … well, wet potatoes.

A friend who has known me for years told me I had gotten smarter after leaving the professional ministry. I think he meant that the necessity of always playing up to smarter, more knowledgeable people in the technology and security fields demanded a real effort to understand and build on the information and wisdom they provided. Either I kept learning from my many mentors or I would sink.

So my ThiemeBlog is an experiment. If it serves to keep me growing and learning, it will have worked. I’ll be looking for the right “voice” for a blog the same way writing short stories, six of which were recently published in “little magazines,” has allowed for the discovery of different dimensions. Genres – short stories, online columns, blogs – set out parameters of possibility. They become enablers of saying things we simply could not have said through other forms. And genres are functions of information technologies, letting us express in image and word what is latent in the electronic brain.

The first blog entry is “Humbled by Walter the Farting Dog.” It’s about a book-signing in a small store. My favorite line is,

“When you finally have a book in print, it’s absolutely humbling to be bitch-slapped by Walter the Farting Dog,”

which pretty much sums it up.

The blog is at www.thiemeworks.com in the toolbar or http://www.thiemeworks.com/blog/index.html

Links and feedback loops to and from other people’s thinking will grow over time. Please let me know your suggestions or ideas based on your own experience. The advantage of being the least knowledgeable person in the room is that all that wisdom comes downhill, keeping our learning curve at a steep angle. Then perhaps we develop sufficient perspective to reflect on the most real things in our lives, big things like the Third World War – or is it the Fourth? – and so-called little things like a new grandchild coming home for Thanksgiving.

The first casualty in any war is truth. Our recent election, regardless of preference, demonstrated that. Maybe the creation of links that in turn generate new spaces are ultimately what matters, making links between, for example, a world at war and a new baby, creating space for emergent truths to evolve.

Maybe the universe really is a set of relationships between or among nodes of information, the rearranging of which creates genuinely new things.

The truths we discover are never the truths we set out to find. If they were, we would never need to go. Going, of course, is the joy of life, thinking that just beyond the next hill … or over the ocean … or on the red planet, hiking into Valles Marineris or up the slopes of Olympus Mons … we will find that elusive piece of the puzzle and turn and look back on the switchbacks below and experience if only for a surpassing moment the luscious illusion of being complete.

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