A decade ago, during the rise of Twitter and Facebook, some of the bloggers I subscribed to who were known for posting daily started having staggered publishing schedules. They’d sit down on a Sunday and hammer out seven quick posts for a week, either for the future or the past, then go quiet until the following Sunday. You’d see them on the larger services, though, interacting with people dozens of times a day. Eventually the blogs would be abandoned or the occasional post would come out every few months where the author would state “they had nothing to say” despite the hundreds of interactions they’d clearly enjoyed on another medium.
Interestingly, many people I’ve talked to about starting a blog or joining a social network over the last few years have also used this line of reasoning for not putting words online. What I never understood when people would say this is why they thought they had nothing to say. While Tim Berners-Lee may have created the Internet with the expectation it would be a collaborative Wiki of human knowledge, ambition, and reason, it was never expected that everything we shared online would need to be profound or meaningful from a historical perspective. Why wouldn’t people want to share their ideas with the world and, with luck, find people to interact with? The lack of interest has confused me until recently.
Over the last few months I’ve been investing some time into learning more about existentialism; particularly the differences between cosmic existentialism and nihilistic existentialism. This has been done by reading a number of very dry books on the topic as well as watching some videos around the web to learn some different interpretations of the philosophy. While doing this, I take notes of concepts, considerations, questions, and sentences that — I feel — warrants further thought or investigation. One such idea that was scribbled in haste outlines people’s general boredom with their own life, as every day consists of routines interrupted by ephemeral moments of difference.
This offered a question: do you think you have nothing to say because every day is essentially the same?
This question was asked to a tiny sample of 7 people who have abstained from blogging and social media, and six agreed with the sentiment in the unscientific question.
What fascinates me about this isn’t so much the clean Boolean answer, but the thought that people could feel this way about their own life. Even when our days are driven by routine as a result of responsibilities or circumstance, there’s enough interesting things we observe or consider throughout the day to share them with friends and family verbally.
This said, I can understand the desire to not share everything online. Some things are better kept between friends or within the confines of our minds. The idea that routine can dampen a person’s perception of their words’ worth? This is a new concept for me, as I find ideas of little value until they can be shared.