Ohhhh yes, the emptying of all my frustrations into my blog, the ego boost from people reading what I write and actually saying nice things in comments. I can't get enough – it's like a drug. A bit of background:
I've been on the net since the early/mid 90s. Not the earliest of adopters but not a total n00b (oh yeah, check the 1337 speak – cool or what?) My obsession with spending time online has gone up and down and focused on different things over the years; IRC before the chat rooms went to hell, Usenet before it went to hell, online dating until I met the love of my life (that doesn't sound very angry, does it? Don't worry – the angry is coming).
The thing is, I hadn't found a new obsession in a while, my enthusiasm for the net was waning. The social networking sites never grabbed because, well, I hate other people. Then I thought I'd join Wikipedia. I like writing, I have some knowledge, it seemed like a good match.
Before I go any further, let me say this: there is a lot of crap spoken and written about Wikipedia, both for and against. My view is that the Wikipedia balance sheet shows much more on the positive side than the negative. Hell, Wikipedia is people acting with hardly any limits placed on them, with all the good and bad that implies.
At first I dived into a few topics I was interested in and was having fun. The problem is, it never really "grabbed" me and after a while I worked out why. Two conflicting tendencies in me were killing the experience. One – I'm a control freak (no surprises there). Two (and this may surprise some) – I don't like getting in passionate fights about something that doesn't really matter in the end.
Impulse one is well served by Wikipedia – you can write anything. You can write that George Bush is a twelve-toed mutant inbred who spends most of his time in the Oval Office rolling around in his own faeces. Despite the fact this is obviously true, anybody else can change your entry and then the fighting starts. Wikipedia is full of impassioned people who spend hours and hours toiling to maintain and improve it content, and more power to them.
At the end of the day I decided, pure and simple, I didn't care enough. So I stopped getting onvolved in constant article re-writes. And then finally, last month, I decided to dip my toe into blogging (why am I so late to these parties?) This is really working for me for three reasons:
One: I enjoy writing.
Two: I am attracting readers who are enjoying my writing and giving me good feedback (which feeds my rapacious ego).
Three: On this blog I AM GOD! My control freak nature can run riot.
So far I have only had one comment from a person who clearly didn't get what I'm doing. Everybody else seems to get the joke, which is something of a miracle considering how offensive and profane my writing often gets. I pity the fool who seeks to criticise me on my own blog – I'll tear them apart. An you know what? If you're smarter than me and can out-argue me in comments? I'm just going to delete what you write! Ha ha fucking ha.
All well and good you say, but where's the angry? We want our dose of angry. Spray your bile so we don't have to! I'm sure you can see I'm building a head of steam here.
One thing I do almost every day (besides blogging) is read Wired News. I'm a nerd, I work in IT and I find a lot of their reports interesting and occasionally useful for my work. Which is how I justify websurfing at work. Today there was a humourous piece on Wikipedia by Lore Sjoberg (I don't know how to put the thingy over the 'o' in this text editor).
I think this guy is funny. Consistently funny. And this is one of the best pieces written on Wikipedia that I have seen. By anybody. He successfully skewers the extreme arguments about Wikipedia, both the for and against. On top of that – it's funny! It's good to read funny things, life seems to suck less when you are smiling. Of course the predictable happens: Wikizealots rip into him for daring to question the perfection of their sacred tome and/or take the petulant route and say the piece was boring and/or stupid.
WHAT BIT OF "THIS IS A FUCKING JOKE" DO YOU NOT GET? Jeebus on toast! Some of the responses were so stupid that I started to suspect they were some subtle, elaborate, post-modern, ironic joke and they were actually parodying knee-jerk response rather than really being upset.
Also, I never understood post-modernism so shut the hell up if you are thinking of telling me that the above is not remotely post-modernist.
Anyway, to summarise: if you can't accept any criticism of what you are doing without lashing out, then there is probably something deeply wrong in what you are doing. Also, if you can't take a joke: fuck off and die.