Blogging and Narcissism

BlogFor the last day and a half I have been very ill. Actually, I still am, but I’m able to move around. I’m not sure what it is. I though it might be an ulcer, but I think it is now above my stomach. I think it may have something to do with a terrible cough I have. It may be a lung infection or something. Be that as it may be, all the time I was out of commission I was fretting over the fact that I wasn’t writing anything on this blog.

Now, I could say this was just because I care so much about all of you. But I don’t think that’s the primary issue. A couple of days ago, I wrote that religion and porn were 99% narcissistic. In general, blogging is 100% narcissistic. Now you know.

I came to blogging very late. When blogs first appeared, I already had a fairly popular website where I wrote much the same kind of stuff I do here. It seemed to me that blogs were just a way for the computer limited to have their own websites. I still believe that, but I have a much more positive take on it. Why should someone understand typesetting (effectively) in order to publish their content? And even I have to admit that this is a hell of a lot easier a way to work than creating pages.

Of course, this highlights just how many good, knowledgeable writers are out there. The main thing that distinguishes people is whether they are willing to commit to it. There are a lot of people who blog for about nine months and then stop. Often they are rather good. I’m sure the fact that no one cares is a big part of the reason they stop. But there is another problem. I remember listening to Michael Krasny interviewing some columnist. They noted that most people could write a couple of columns, but doing it every week for a long period of time is what is hard.

I haven’t had this problem. But looking back at my early days, it is surprising how little I wrote. In general, it was just a couple of things per month. Overall it is just a matter of expectations. Now I think it is strange if I don’t write at least a few articles per day. But it is a lot easier now that I have a readership. The whole process seems a tad less narcissistic. Perhaps only 99%.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

4 thoughts on “Blogging and Narcissism

  1. Dude — it’s the flu. Get better.

    And do you have any idea how much you write compared to most bloggers?

  2. @JMF – Normally, I would say you’re right. But I’ve had this cough for two months now. I think I may indeed have the flu, but it may be on top of a respiratory infection. Anyway, it is really sucks.

    Thanks for pointing out my writing frequency. I will only refer you back to this article, which is about narcissism! (And it’s killing me because I want to write but I just can’t seem to do it. But I do plan to grind some stuff out later tonight and answer comments.)

  3. I have the blog-version definition of "narcissism" entirely reversed from yours. And here, I’ll explain why.

    Illnesses, dates, pets and baby boogers are the stuff of most popular blogs. They are entirely about the blogger, and people respond to them because the blogger writes about those matters in a skilled style that avoids making readers feel intimidated by the ease of the blogger’s prose. (Which is just a skill acquired by having written a lot.)

    Political opinions may seem narcissistic. But because cogent takes on politics are specifically tied to the author’s personality and opinions, they are less narcissistic than musings on baby boogers.

    A political writer says, in effect, "this is my opinion — take it or leave it, it’s probably different from yours." A baby-booger writer says "I’m just like you! We are so totally normal Americans going through the same life steps! Except, ya know, that people hashtag me on Twitter and not you."

    So I think political opinions are much less narcissistic than most blog posts about illness, dates, and dogs. Also baby boogers.

    Do get healthier, though. The flu isn’t killing many people — it’s the depressed immune system that influenza provides which is killing people through pneumonia, a bad infection in the lungs. Get that shit checked out.

  4. @JMF – On the health issue: thanks. I did go to the doctor. That’s a big step for me because my MO is to wait until I am only semi-conscious before going. Anyway, she says I have the flu on top of some respiratory thing that is kind of like asthma, but she thinks is temporary. Kind of a hippy doctor. I liked her very much. We discussed the nature of reality.

    That’s an interesting take you have on different kinds of blogs. One potential complaint about my blog is that I present myself as some kind of expert. It is a criticism that could sting. But I don’t think it is valid. No one is interested in reading someone who is forever pointing out that these are just his opinions. What’s more, I assume that on any subject most people will in fact know far less than I do. Paul Krugman does not read my blog. But I know far more about economics than most political bloggers. (It is kind of my niche over at The Reaction.)

    When I first started this blog, I was afraid that graduate students would drop by and tell me that I didn’t know shit about [i]Don Quixote[/i]. Well, they don’t. For one thing, there aren’t many of them. For another, they aren’t reading my blog. For another, they would probably be glad that non-graduate students were even reading the book. And for yet another, I would be thrilled if a graduate student came by and told me I was full of shit!

    Where narcissism comes in, I think, is the very idea that anyone would think that what I have to say is worth reading. Of course, this is true of every writer. I’m comfortable with that. I think that most people think that they have something to say that is worth hearing. Even as easy as the internet makes this process, most people still don’t do it.

    Regardless, writing is what I do. If I’m not doing it publicly, I’m doing it privately. To me, the only way to think clearly about a subject is to write about it. Otherwise, I’m too scattered.

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