kidattypewriter

Friday, September 26, 2014

In which you find out to your surprise that you do not exist, and I probably don't either

Astute readers of my blog may have noticed the post I did yesterday in which I noted that "no-one reads blogs anymore". This probably means that the astute readers of my blog do not actually exist. I apologise for any pain and discomfort this may have caused: it may take some time for you to adjust yourselves to your newly-discovered incorporeality. I'm sure you're still astute, but.

Anyway, while writing that sentence, I started thinking back about those earlier years when people actually read blogs, and sometimes even commented on them. Do you remember those? Or you could cast your mind back even earlier, to newspapers, which were really great. For those who aren't aware, newspapers were invented in the 20th century by Frank Packer, and printed on large sheets of paper to be delivered to fish and chips stores and places like that (that's why newspapers were invented, for wrapping fish and chips up in). Sometimes, someone would even open up a newspaper, read a story, and then make a "comment" on the story. They made this comment by somewhat archaic means, ie, they opened their mouth and let sounds come out in the form of words until the comment had been made. When Malcolm Turnbull invented computers and the internet at the end of the 20th century, thankfully, more civilised means of making comment by keyboard were found.

It was great writing a blog back in the day, because heaps of people would leave comments. There was a kind of ritual about these things: people would read a sentence in the blog post, and then make a comment on it. Over time, this little ceremony was simplified, so that people would just read a word, or a small item of punctuation, and comment on that. Eventually even that was deemed too complicated, and many people would just pop into blogs, leave a comment on any old topic they desired, and go elsewhere. Thus the inexorable march of the mind continued.

Then along came Facebook and things just got really confusing. Instead of leaving a comment on blogs, people would link blogs on Facebook and others would leave comments there, too. This was rather ingenious, actually, as it allowed another simplification: instead of leaving random non-sequiturs* as comments on a blog, it allowed people to leave random non-sequiturs as comment - on Facebook. Not only would people not have to read a blog post, or a sentence, or a word, or a letter, or an item of punctuation, or a tiny jot or or tittle from the original blog post to respond to it, they wouldn't even have to be on the same page as it. Facebook, incidentally, also sometimes allows people to comment on other people's comments, which is an incredibly revolutionary step which many bloggers could only dream of. True, back in the days of newspapers, people could comment on other people's comments, but only by engaging in something called "a conversation", involving incredibly archaic technology which I have no space to go into here: "dialogue", "thoughtful response", "rational debate". Thank heavens we've moved on since those days.

Anyway, it all makes you realise what a wonderful thing progress is, doesn't it? Mind you, there are still some things better about the old days. For instance, fish and chips just doesn't taste the same now it comes wrapped in iPhones and Kindles. All that circuitry really interferes with the flavours. It's a real drag, man.

*Random non-sequiturs: can there be any other kind?

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