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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Hey, I Finally Get It Now! Cool!

So, I’ve been thinking for quite a while that this really isn’t a blog.

(Or even a weblog, if you’re one of those people who don’t like to abbreviate unnecessarily. U know who u r.)

Sure, it’s hosted at blogspot, and it’s powered by blogger, but it’s not really a blog, content-wise. Not in the traditional sense, as I understand it. The way it was told to me, back by my grandpappy lo these many years ago, was like this:

A weblog is a site (hence the ‘web’ part) where someone stashes links that they think are cool, or funny, or scary (hence ‘log’), and makes comments about them, to help guide other people interested in checking them out.

Now, I’m probably paraphrasing a bit — grandpa was drunk most of the time, after all — but I think I’ve got the jist of it correct. In the ‘old school’ sense, a weblog is a place to be gushy or witty or snarky about other crap posted on the web, and to showcase those links, so that other folks can share in the fun. That’s a ‘weblog’. I understand.

Except… all of this around here isn’t really like that. Sure, I’ve got a blogroll chock full of cool sites, and I occasionally link out (or back in) to something I think people should look at — but that’s not really the point here. I’m not really ‘logging’ anything — I’m telling stories, mainly, and giving my views on the world at large.

(And it’s a damned good thing that I’m making most of it up as I go along, too, or I’d be in grave danger of having written a ‘journal’, or even a ‘diary’. Eek!

That’s no good if you’re a thirty-something self-respecting male, you see. You can’t hang around the water cooler on Monday morning talking about football, and throw in:

Well, if you want to know what I think about the Colts’ offensive line, you should read my diary.

Yeah, that’s not gonna fly. And it’s a good way to get yourself gang-wedgied. So this is not a ‘journal’, and it’s certainly not a diary. I don’t see any poems (well, okay, to be fair, there is one) or pigtails around here, do you?)

So, anyway, as far as I can tell, this isn’t really a ‘blog’, per se. I don’t know what the hell it is — a column, maybe, or an essay collection… random, useless brain spew, I don’t really know — but it’s pretty clear that I’m not ‘blogging’. And honestly, I never really saw the draw of blogging in the ‘classic’ sense. It would flummox me as to why people would enjoy that so much.

Until now, that is.

Ladies and gents, I’d like to introduce you to my latest obsession.

(And no, it’s not anatomically-correct inflatable hedgehog dolls. Pervert. Anyway, I said latest obsession. So, nyah.)

I’m hooked on LinkFilter. For those of you who don’t know, LinkFilter is a site that allows just the sort of quintessential blogging described above. You post links, and you comment on them. People come by, and they follow your link, or they don’t. The ones that do may vote on the link — or your witty description — to let you know whether you should keep posting links like that one, or whether you should instead go back to your cave and reinsert your head into your ass and leave everyone the hell alone.

(Or just post different kinds of links. A bad vote does leave a bit of wiggle room for interpretation.)

Anyway, I tried it out a few days ago, thinking that it would be amusing as a way to get the word out about blogs that I like.

(Yes, including this one — I’m not above a bit of shameless self-promotion, people. I’d tattoo the URL on my ass and streak across Boston Common if I thought it would get me a few more hits. Erm, web site hits, that is. I’m not talking about what the cops would do to me after they caught up to me. That’s different.)

So, I submitted a few links, including a couple to stories in the archives here.

(Was that wrong of me? Don’t we all just want to be loved? Or even noticed? Or, for heaven’s sake, when times are tough and the world seems to be against us, licked, just a little? Who doesn’t like a good licking now and again, eh?

Um, I may have shared too much again. Shit. Quick, back to the post!)

And then, a strange thing happened. I discovered that I wanted to post more links. Not just to other blogs, or to my own site, but to random. interesting pages all over the net! Plus, I wanted to vote, and to look at other people’s links, and even comment on them… suddenly, I was hooked! Somehow, my need for self-aggrandizement had been superceded by another, more powerful force.

(Most likely, the desire to waste even more time when I should be working. But hush up — the details aren’t important right now.)

And so, I posted more links, and I voted some votes, and I tiptoed through lots of other folks’ links. And you know what? I want more. I want to read, and to vote, and to comment, but most especially, I want to add more links.

(With snarky, catchy intros by moi, of course!)

But you can only post so many links a day, based on ‘points’ that you accumulate. And I’m out of points for today, so I’m out of luck, too. Damn.

And so, finally, I get it. This is blogging, and it’s pretty cool. (It’s also pretty cool that roughly six million times more people cruise through LinkFilter than come here — the gratification of a vote or a comment from nice people I’ve never met is just that much more instant.) Now I see what all the fuss is about. Cool.

Now, I don’t know how long my obsession will last. I tend to get all misty-eyed and soggy-pantsed about the Next Big Thing™ all the time, only to find that it can’t hold my interest in the long haul. And keeping this site going is my main concern, of course. But hey — maybe some of you would be interested in something more akin to ‘blogging’ (as opposed to ‘braindumping’) once in a while, too. So I’ll tell you what — I’ll add a link on the sidebar (and another one right here) to all of my LinkFilter posts. Assuming I stick with it for a while, the list should continue to grow, more or less daily, and hopefully you’ll get a chuckle out of them. And while you’re there, stick around and see what other people are posting, too — I’m amazed at the weird shit that crawls out of the woodwork and plops itself down in that place. It’s frightening. Strangely exciting, and sometimes cockle-warming, but frightening, all the same.

(Note: I make no guarantees about the warming of your cockles while reading material on LinkFilter. The above passage is merely an anecdotal account of my personal experience. Your cockles may vary.)

So I can finally really call myself a ‘blogger’.

(Even though I’ve been doing so for months now. And even though I’ll continue to call this site a ‘blog’, even though it’s probably not. It’s just easier that way.

Um, then what was my point again?)

Anyway, give LinkFilter a try. Maybe you’ll get hooked, too. As for me, I’ll be back here soon with more of the rambling drivel that you’ve come to expect from me. And I’ll be back there soon, too, with links and comments and opinions that you probably never even knew I was capable of.

(Yes, I’m a true Renaissance man. Behold, the artiste of a thousand personas!

Just try to forget that all of the thousand have ‘assbag’ and ‘porkjuice’ in their vocabularies. Hey, I said there were a thousand — I never said any of them were good.)

Permalink  |  5 Comments

5 Responses to “Hey, I Finally Get It Now! Cool!”

  1. debbie says:

    You’ve been doing this less than a week and you’re aleady at level 10? Charlie, take a nap. Seriously. Walk around the block. Something.

  2. Charlie says:

    Hey, look, Debbie — when I say I’m gonna ‘obsess’ over something, I do it right!

    Besides, getting to there took less than one link per level, and giving only about as many votes as I’ve received. And… and…

    Yeah, you’re right. I think I’ll take a nap. *sigh*

  3. debbie says:

    Good, while you’re napping I’ll see if I can catch up!

  4. theresa says:

    i think you’ve got a blog here.. it doesn’t matter so much the content as the ability to add feedback (ie comments) to an entry in a public manner, thus facilitating public discussions.

    damn, that made me sound smart, didn’t it?

  5. JaxVenus says:

    I’ve never heard of Linkfilter before, but Stumbleupon does the same kind of thing, I’ll have to check out Linkfilter now. Thanks for giving me yet another way to procrastinate and not get any actual work done : O)

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