Thursday, April 5, 2012

Think for yourself

I am signed up for several web blogs, newsletters, emails, etc., to do with marketing your art, your website, your craft, your pottery. About 10% of the time I find bits of information useful and interesting so I stay signed onto these things, just in case. The rest of the time I wonder, just who the hell is writing this shit and what kind of a world do they live in?
     Recently, I ran into another listed article the other day explaining how to write a blog. When I say "listed" article, you know the kind. They have to count everything: "5 New Ideas for Baking Potatos," "10 Ways to Clean Your Catbox," "6 Reasons You Will Be De-friended on FB," and so on. Anyway, beyond the usual anxiety-ridden questions about "should I or should I not write a blog?" this article gave tips on what constitutes The Way To Do It Right™. You should focus on your customer, your reader. You should tell them how reading this blog benefits them. You should tap into their needs for reading your words. Give them tips, show them cost-cutting measures, explain step-by-step procedures... and I thought, "What a load of clap-trap."
     What business is it of mine to tell you what you need, how to do something or what to think? If I was a technical expert in something and I felt a need to pass on some information about how to make something, yah, maybe but let's get real, I write this blog to self-express and open a small window onto one tiny individual's world. That's it. You read at your own peril, to your heart's content. You make up your mind whether I have something interesting or thought-provoking to say. You form your own opinion about what I'm saying. You make the decision about what your needs are, not me. I write this blog and put out the word with zero expectations that anyone will read it. The way I look at it, if people do, it's a surprise and a bonus. Like extra cake on your birthday.
    And that's where I'm coming from, briefly. I write this blog to announce shows, new art developments, new ventures, fun things I've discovered, to gripe and bitch, to express my point of view. Sometimes, some people find it interesting or thought provoking. Most times, I expect, they give it a passing glance or they don't find anything interesting. Is this exercise of self-expression on the internet a narcissistic exercise? Yes, it is. Nearly anything to do with any form of self-expression is narcissistic by it's very nature, as far as I'm concerned. We all have narcissistic needs; it's part of human nature. Acknowledging this is okay and is not exclusive of empathetic expression. Lately, probably because of the advent of the social media explosion, I have found a tendency towards dismissing connectivity and interaction between human beings on the internet as being "narcissistic." The implication is that it is an either/or proposition. You are either narcissistic and self-centered or empathetic and outward-looking. Bullshit. The internet is simply another medium, another way we humans interact. It does bring its own complications, the primary one in my mind being: on the internet, no one knows you're a dog. But beyond that, you might as well have millions of potential pen-pals and an unlimited supply of postage and envelopes. Plus the ability to mail packages of pictures and videos at minimum cost.
   Which brings me back to this garbage that gets spewed by crappy writers of canned articles on the internet vomiting sage advice about how you should be pigeon-holing your art/craft identity. Do what you do. Do it as best you can. Express yourself. And fuck everyone else.
<insert bow>

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