Friday, September 16, 2011

Next Blog

How do you feel about that?

Since I get much of my blog traffic from Blogger's "next blog" feature, I can't really bitch too much about it. But the other day I started thinking it would be funny to name a blog, "Next Blog" to freak out people clicking on the next blog button. So I Googled "next blog" and sure enough, someone had created a blog called The "Next Blog" Blog with the tag line "Compulsively clicking the "Next Blog" icon so you don't have to!"

The blog is made up entirely of random posts from other blogs apparently found by clicking the next blog button. The novelty of keeping this up apparently wore off in April 2010, because that is the last post they made.

It was a clever idea, though.

Reading the posts in the blog reminded me of a scene from Bruce Almighty starring Jim Carey, when the character Bruce is given all god's powers and hears every thought or prayer being made at the same time. It was too much for Bruce (and apparently god). I feel that way about next blog in general.

There seems to be a universal theme of tagging blogs with various versions of "the random thoughts of ____." Oh there are tons, too about various forms of crafting, cooking and couponing, but the majority seem to be started by people who just want someone to hear their thoughts. This is intriguing from a psychological standpoint far beyond the level my two college psych courses qualify me to analyze.

The sad thing about this is that a vast majority of the people sharing their random thoughts with the world must feel no one in their day to day life listens to them or wants to hear their thoughts. Or perhaps they are afraid of the reaction people in their day to day life would have to their thoughts.

This all begs the question of whether people are more real in the virtual world or the "real" world. Or is the Web an outlet for the Walter Mitty's of the world trying to express who they wish they were?

Regardless of whether people are casting their thoughts out there hoping to reel in people of like mind, the next blog button unfortunately functions as the mallet from Chuck Barris' Gong Show (my god I've begun writing like a Groupon copywriter). I think people are too often caught up in their own random thoughts to appreciate the random thoughts of total strangers.

At least that is my random thought of the day.



Nachtigall said...

The public nature of blogs has always been problematic for me. It works for things like gardening and crafting, where a community of like-minded followers share ideas and get support for whatever project they have undertaken. I keep two such blogs with my daughter. We talk about organic gardening and recipes. But I also have the blog that serves as a sort of diary. It is public mostly because I didn't want to do the formal invitation thing, although it is intended mostly for a core group of family and friends who are, strangely, not public followers. Anyway, what I usually seem to find on "next blog" are a plethora of stay-at-home moms who probably ought to be paying more attention to their kids and a lot of chinese blogs that have a sum total of about 3 posts each.

Time said...

Well, there is nothing like writing a private diary and giving eight or nine million people the key :) The irony is that it is the very public nature of blogging that keeps things relatively private. There are so many blogs and websites out there that the average person couldn't drop into one randomly and discover that they know the person. Its hard enough to get people to read the darned things even if you tell them about them.

I have discovered something about Next Blogs, however. I believe Blogger uses filters with them so you get to see the next blog based on the blog you hit the next blog button from. And for some reason I am taken either to Christian blogs (which is so very wrong) or Moroccan blogs. Go figure.

Nachtigall said...

I agree... and yes indeed I have given millions of people the key to my blog. I suppose I operate on the assumption that it would be deadly dull to anyone who happened upon it. So I don't really care. ;p
I wonder how blogger manages to segue from Christians to Moroccans and stay-at-home-moms to Chinese teenagers.