Every so often, I get on an internet tear. Something perturbs me and I feel the urge to comment on it even though it accomplishes zip. Instead of releasing the frustration and tension, I feel even more frustration and tension for adding my opinion to a cacophony of opinions from others who are also on an internet tear.
Case in point: The Poynter-Romenesko debacle that ended with the early resignation of media blogger Jim Romenesko. I’ve been reading Jim’s posts for years and I feel he was unfairly ‘attacked’ by a member of his own team (supposedly). You can read about it here. If you poke around, you might also see a trail of comments I left behind on Twitter, the Poynter website, and the Columbia Journalism Review. Looking back on the last twenty-four hours, I wonder why I would even be tempted to get involved at all. It was a huge waste of my time and I certainly get nothing out of having others read or comment on my thoughts.
That’s the trouble with the internet. Opinions are bad enough when they are thought out but the internet gives us the ability to post these opinions in real time without even thinking them over. I used to write Letters to the Editor until I got so disillusioned with them that I stopped. I was foolish to think sharing an opinion was actually for the common good because most people who read opinions and letters to the editor are not doing so because they want to change things for the better. They just want to have something to get mad about.
I even posted several links to Facebook on the whole debacle. I was outraged over the treatment of Jim Romenesko and posted the story to a group of people who don’t even know who Jim Romenesko is. What a waste of bandwidth. When it comes to information overload, I am part of the problem.
In looking back on my Facebook and Twitter posts from the last week, I also let some comments fly about Penn State and the Conrad Murray trial. Why do I care? Don’t I have more important things happening in my personal life that I should be doing rather than writing about news stories that have absolutely nothing to do with me?
I believe that part of the problem is that Twitter, Facebook, and even blogging pressures us to post “universal ideas” for the masses rather than just focusing on the smaller sphere around us that is our day to day life. Should I write locally about what is happening in my community and leave the big news stories for CNN and the such or should I just use the internet as an online journal of sorts and only tell my own personal stories?
Won’t it get old if all I write about is a reflection of who I am and those close to me who are important? I’m certain it won’t be that entertaining and there is also the fact that personal writing might make me confront things that I am not completely comfortable sharing.
Also, there is the chance that I will just reveal to the world that I live quite the boring life. I didn’t achieve and maintain my status as the Foursquare mayor of Walmart by living some sort of glamorous life.
It’s days like this when I step back and reevaluate. Oddly, I feel much better sitting here tonight and writing all of this for myself than I did sitting here last night and posting my opinion on sites for someone else to judge.
Maybe Robert Browning was writing about the internet when he wrote “Less is more”.