Monday, February 25, 2013

Give me Something to Blog About



Years ago, I remember seeing an episode of my very favorite high school melodrama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where the title character was forced by a dancing monster to sing about her feelings.  If she ran out of things to sing about, she would set on fire and burn up.  So, as our heroine reached the end of her rope, she sang out in a voice that was more plea than melody “Give me something to sing about…Please…I need something to sing about.”  In this new world, where content is king and constant updates are expected…I often find myself thinking the same thing.

Give me something to sing about!  Between Twitter, Facebook and keeping up with blogs, we are expected to be “singing” all of time. We should have opinions on everything, be experts on everything, react minute by minute to every development in the world…It can be exhausting.

My husband used to have a little online comic.  It started to become popular and he’d get comments encouraging him to produce more and more content.  Last week, I noticed he stopped updating.  When I asked him about it, he said that he didn’t like having to rake through every part of his day searching and analyzing for something that might be funny.  He didn’t want to sing anymore.

I have had similar experiences, as I’m sure many of you have.  And indeed, we are in uncharted territory.  Content generation is no longer the exclusive responsibility and privilege of a handful of specialists.  The internet has democratized content and with that we have all been given the opportunity to step up and have our voices heard.  I treasure this and I believe that it represents a net gain in our society.  However, I do have to wonder about what its doing to us. 

When the President addressed the nation about Osama bin Laden’s death, a friend asked me if I’d be writing about the millennial response. When NASA successfully landed the rover on the moon, my first thought was how I could relate this to social media and blog about it. When the Sandy Hook tragedy occurred, I received an e-mail asking if I wanted to write about the event and how millennials can stay so optimistic is such a depressing world.  These events were meaningful and represented pivotal moments in our cultural story and all I could think of was trivializing them to churn out more content in a never ending quest to add to the discourse.  I worry that the democratization of content has created an entire generation so intent on “sharing” that we aren’t digesting information fully. We are just responding.  Singing…so that we don’t burn up…

And, when there is nothing to say…when we’ve reached deep inside and just can’t find a voice, then what?  We either turn out something uninspired and inferior or we entertain the worst of all options.  Saying nothing. And we know, every week we don’t come up with something to say, we slip more and more into anonymity and irrelevance – the two dirtiest words in our content driven world…

Nicole

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