I belong to a writing group that meets twice a month. All the people in the group are writing novels. It’s a big ambition, ridiculous for the most part. I can live with that. We all have to have dreams. At each meeting we have thirty seconds to answer a random question about our writing. The question is supposed to help break the ice and reveal something about ourselves. This last week, we gave our responses to, “Do you have a blog?”
I was surprised that only I and one other woman had blogs. This dearth of internet savvy puzzled me. I guess most of my writing compatriots are older but even so, this is the twenty-first century isn’t it? And aren’t blogs a type of writing? Shouldn’t people who like to write be writing blogs?
It’s true that most blogs are pretty boring. Even blogs written by people who know how to write and have written on great topics, even those blogs tend to be so devoid of meaning that you wonder how they can say so little in so many words. Maybe it’s because people think it’s really interesting to write about their own lives, as if they are special or unique in some important way, which is almost certainly not true.
My blog is not like that. I’m as boring as the next person, maybe even more so, but my blog isn’t about me, it’s about my pet capybara, Caplin.
Those who know, know that lots of pets have blogs. Caplin’s blog, (I write in her “voice”), is on her MySpace page (www.MySpace.com/CaplinRous). MySpace is a hotbed of animal blogs. Most animal bloggers are dogs and cats, probably just as boring as people. But nearly all groups of animals are represented. One of Caplin’s MySpace friends is a snake. The snake has lots of snake MySpace friends. Caplin doesn’t have any capybara MySpace friends.
The thing about MySpace, blogs, YouTube and the like, is that you need to have something unique to say, but not too unique. For example, a pet capybara apparently doesn’t attract many readers. Most people don’t know what a capybara is, and if they do, they don’t think about searching MySpace to become friends with one. The reptile crowd is one up on the capybaras in internet presence and communication.
While Caplin’s MySpace provides information about capybaras, it could also be used by psychology students as an example of an 1obsession. Along with blog entries, I’ve got photos and videos of Caplin up there. I did a full customization on her page while my personal page has virtually nothing. Nearly every day I feel compelled to add something, a blog entry, a photo, a video. I do nothing to my own page. I want to share Caplin with the world.
The world isn’t looking. I’m not just guessing that, I know it for a fact. I can see how many people have viewed Caplin’s page and altogether it’s less than 250. Probably most of those hits are me. And she only has seventeen friends. Is it possible to be a nerd and an outcast on MySpace? I don’t want Caplin to suffer that kind of humiliation.
Maybe that’s why my writing friends don’t blog. Maybe they don’t have an animal to take the fall for them. With no pet to hide behind, their own lack of popularity would be exposed. For example, I am somewhat humiliated that, while Caplin isn’t exactly popular, she still has more MySpace friends than I do. Luckily I don’t have a delicate ego--or I’m living vicariously through my capybara.