Dec 31, 2008

Why I Write

I’ve been giving some thought as to why I write this blog. I mean other than narcissism. I mostly write it for myself. Or at least I try to. I write about things that interest me. Thus far, I’ve limited that to things about advertising and marketing that interest me, though I may expand that as time goes on. Or at least my definition of “things about advertising and marketing.”

I am often surprised, but always happy, to find that people are interested in what I have to say. As many of you know, I started this blog as an experiment, not intending it to actually become anything long-term. I’ve tried to keep true to that spirit as much as possible and not write for an audience. Which may, in fact, be why I’ve found one.

I haven’t found advertising to be very interesting lately. There’s very little I see that excites me on an intellectual level though I sometimes wonder if the anger, bitterness and above all, despair that overwhelms so many ad blogs doesn’t somehow color that. Or it could just be that the fusion of technology and culture that defines the interwebs these days is far more interesting than anything on TV.

I’ve become addicted to Twitter this year. To the point where I’ll sometimes catch myself walking and tweeting. I try not to tweet when others are around-- most people still find it rude. I know I tweet with, for and at the 100 or so people I actually follow on Twitter. They are almost all people I know in real life and with whom I communicate by other channels throughout the course of the day. I personally find it rather unsettling to follow people I don’t actually know: there’s a voyeuristic quality to it, the sense of being a peeping Tom into someone else’s private life.

When I analyze why I like Twitter so much, I keep coming back to how much it reminds me of “the park,” that almost mythical playground where I spent so much of my childhood. You never actually planned to meet anyone at the park. You just sort of knew that eventually they’d be there. Not everyone and not all at once. But soon enough you’d have enough people for a three-on-three basketball game, or maybe even full court. And if you just wound up playing horse, well, that was okay too. And Twitter feels like that on most days. That if I have to go home early for dinner one night, there’ll be enough kids left that it won’t really matter if I'm gone.

But this post is about writing and I’ve always loved writing. Loved it since I was in fifth grade and a poem I wrote called “Lamentations” won some sort of citywide poetry contest and was published in a magazine of kid’s poems that’s likely buried in the bottom of one of my mother’s many closets. Loved it since I was in high school and discovered John Leonard and the emotions he could pull out of a simple newspaper column. And the internet has helped me get back in touch with all that, with everything I've always loved about writing. You see, the great thing about blogging is the complete absence of editors. Of anyone who can say “no” and stop something I think is really worthwhile from ever seeing the light of day. I imagine it feels a lot like glasnost must have, that sudden feeling of liberation from those whose job was to make sure everything you wrote toed the party line.

It’s been a real gift, that feeling of liberation, and I wanted to thank all of you for sharing it with me.

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