Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cogito Ergo Bloggum

Bernie at Planck’s Constant has tagged us with a meme — a meme which comes with its own built-in award. That is, should you get tagged, you are also dubbed with a little icon which announces that you have won a “Thinking Blogger” prize. The meme started here, and showing its point of origin is interesting since it allows one to see, at least partially, how it spreads.

Of course, the catch to this, and to all memes, is that you have to notify the bloggers you tag. ’Tis only courteous to let them know why they are suddenly getting hits from your site.

But for me, there’s a larger problem: I always feel obligated to write a short follow-up post on each of the bloggers I am “meme-ing” so that our readers know a bit about them. But given both my ADD and like, man, my totally unpredictable energy levels, I never manage to finish posting the list. It’s depressing, like totally, dude (sorry, I’ve been hanging out with a teenager and have picked up a verbal tic).

If anyone had ever tagged me with that ancient meme called “Five Things You Don’t Know about Me” (and Were Afraid I Would Tell You), my tendency to being a tad obsessive-compulsive would be in that list. Do you know what a lethal combination ADD and being obsessive — i.e., a perfectionist — is for the person who gets those two cards in the draw? It means you cannot attend long enough to any one particular task to accomplish all the things that you know need to be done.

[The Baron says I should have stamped on my forehead (backwards, of course, so I could see it in the mirror) a big sign that reads “You Don’t Have To Do EVERY Good Thing You Think Of.” All of us busybodies need one of those. And maybe little doilies with that message embroidered on them. Or t-shirts. Or coffee cups… See, here’s another good thing I could do, but will I ever remember to contact Café Press…? I don’t think so.]

There’s another, and more important reason that I don’t want to do this meme. How does one choose five smart blogs to put on the list? Already our blogroll on the sidebar overflows with smart, funny, thinking people. If they weren’t thinkers, they wouldn’t be there. What?? You think we link to schmucks?

So I am declining Bernie’s meme, for reasons of self-preservation. I realize this is not the proper thing to do. One does not mention a meme and then refuse to join. A tad discourteous. But if Bernie saw my desk or the inside of my refrigerator, he’d forgive me.

By the way, Norm Geras — now there’s a real thinker for you — reports the UK Sunday Times technology section is claiming that blogging has jumped the shark. They’re on the decline, The Times says hopefully:
- - - - - - - - - -
According to research by a firm of US technology analysts, the blogging phenomenon may have peaked last October, when 100,000 new blogs were being created every day. As well as personal diaries these included corporate, professional, celebrity and other specialist blogs.

Yet the Gartner research firm also concluded that the trend would level off in 2007, with perhaps 100m people still blogging worldwide. Other analysts predict that number will fall to 30m.

“A lot of people have been in and out of [blogging]”, said Daryl Plummer of Gartner. “Everyone thinks they have something to say until they’re put on stage and asked to say it.”

Yawn. Just one more hopeful MSM premature obituary. Just wait till the US elections heat up. More blogs will proliferate like desert flowers after a rain.

Blogs aren’t going away anymore than email did, or cell phones, or any other means of communication. I suppose it could be superseded by something better, the way the telegraph was, but I don’t see anything coming down the pike real soon.

Yes, blogs do come and go. But blogging in itself is here to stay. Sorry, journalists out there, but you have to share at least one of the baby spotlights with the competition in the corner.

Since I’m not up to Bernie’s call-out, instead I propose this to our readers: please feel free to name your Top Five Thinkers’ blogs. There are few rules…

  • No biggies. Suggesting someone who receives tons of traffic doesn’t introduce new information which is one of the reasons for memes. I have a number of small and medium blogs I try to visit as often as possible. Surely you have your own list of those, too; thinking places where you like to hang out, yet the blogger isn’t in the Top Thousand or so.
  • If you can’t find five, then three will do.
  • Blogs in English only, please. The majority of our readers speak or read only English. Besides, the Baron and I are ignorant monolinguals. And you know how American hubris goes: “WHAT?? You mean everyone doesn’t speak English?
  • And, of course, the main thing is thinkers not spouters.

Any subject is open — cooking, cats, or maybe bird-watching. Umm… no sites about “cooking cats” however, or Sissy Willis will hurt you. In fact, let’s limit it to PG-13 blogs — never can tell when the homeschoolers will drop by.

If people respond to this invitation in sufficient numbers, we’ll be able to see if a common thread runs through your responses. Thus, we end up with a Top Five list generated from the bottom up: by y’all, our readers, rather than by me with my limited, if somewhat perfervid imagination.

[Of course, if anyone nominates Neighborhood of God, I won’t complain. Conflict of interest? What conflict?]


Wm Baum said...


I have you beat. I'm ADD, a perfectionist, and a terrible procrastinator.. try that..

I agree that he rumors of the death of the blogosphere have been greatly exaggerated. The blogosphere is no worse off for the lack of Lindsay Lohan's blog. If everyone had a blog, who would read them?

For that matter, even using the same word to describe what you guys do and what some idiot who has two posts on blogger did, should be insulting.

Bloggers like you, Baron, and countless others amaze me. I spend a considerable amount of time reading, and I have no idea how you people have the time to both consume and comment on all the stuff you do..


bernie said...

This is certainly a delicate meme and I would have preferred to have listed all the bloggers in my blogroll but I love your way out of the dilemma.

Baron Bodissey said...


The secret for me is that I can't read anything anymore!

I read our email (most of it), skype, and java code (for my job). No time for anything else.

Except that I read some of the tips our readers send us. How else would I get any new material for posts? ;)

Dymphna said...

William --

I have a shelf devoted to procrastination, but I discovered a way to deal with it. What you do is go sit in the middle of whatever it is you haven't done. Just observe it. Spend a long time doing this: it's the "orient and observe" part of the OODA loop.

Eventually, if you devote enough attention to the thing you haven't done -- and only attention, not action -- it will appear like a game of pick-up sticks and you will *see* what needs to be done (not what you started out "knowing already" what needed to be done) -- this is the Decision part of the OODA loop.

Then you will carefully withdraw that one moveable stick from the chaotic pile, taking care not to disturb the other stuff. That's the Action part of the OODA loop.

Now, by moving that one thing, you've changed the thing you were observing so you have to return to Orienting yourself, and go back to Observing until you see the next Decision...and so on.

You have to be in a free enough position to be able to merely contemplate the thing you've avoided. It can take a while to reach that point, but it's easier if you know you can just go sit in the garage and Orient yourself to the mess, then sit and simply observe it....for as long as it takes to see where the first pick-up stick can be safely removed...

Yeah, I know Procrastination. He's evil and mean and likes to bully people.

Pangloss said...

I don't know about you guys, but the main reason I started a blog was so that I could comment on other blogs. Already when I started the spam comments were getting seriously annoying, so many bloggers disabled comments and went to trackbacks only.

Anyhoo, congrats on getting tagged and so what if you have to only tag five? Good blogs will get tagged pretty soon anyway. Even I got tagged! And I played by the rules (though my Latin isn't as good as yours).

Cogito, Ergo Blog

Wm Baum said...


Aha! Now I get it.. You have legions of effectively volunteer staff doing your research for you! :)

Nevertheless, if you read nothing but what you've chosen as material, it's a significant volume..


I'll have to 'OO' on that OODA stuff a while. My problem with procrastination tends to be that I'd simply prefer to be doing or thinking about something else. That which I find less interesting has to become urgent to get high enough on my priority list to merit attention. OODA'ing seems to require thinking about that which I'd much rather not think about, which is the whole problem in the first place..


X said...

Just to be picky for a moment, strictly speaking your title should be Cogito Ergo Blog. I know you were going for a cognate with sum...

I sound like a complete git don't I? I blame my wife. She always has her nose in those latin books. Smart women are the cause of all my problems! I'd better become a muslim so I can hit em in revenge.

Baron Bodissey said...

Ah, but Archonix, since the stem "blog" is not found it Latin, we can posit any inflections we want for it. We can even invent a new declension! When it's a verb, it can have any form we want.

It's the advantage of making stuff up.

Sissy Willis said...

To choose five anything as my favorites would be akin to saying I loved one pussycat more than another. There is no such thing on this earth. Thanks, though, for the provocative link sans actual meme tag. The best of all worlds. :-)