Dan Dot Blog

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Twitter and Blogging

Twitter fits the way I think better than blogging. It lets me express my usually hyperventilating mind, each gasping thought shallow, rapid, and impermanent. It’s a real challenge to write a cohesive piece, but I think blogging may train me up to think in a different way than I naturally do.

The problem I have is that I’ll have an idea, start a blog entry about it, then either get distracted or have to go do something, but I carry on the conversation with myself that I started in the blog. I reach all kinds of resolution and gain insight, and by the time I go to write it up, I’m stuck with just the result rather than the journey, which is really the more interesting piece. I wish there was a way I could capture my subvocalizations so that I could actually log my thought process. I’m doing my best, but sometimes blogging feels like rewatching a movie with a tricky ending. I already know where it’s going, and it’s hard to take myself along for the ride again without tipping my hand as to the result.

Below is an excerpt of my “Buzz” conversation regarding my struggles to find a place for my thoughts to go. Does anybody else have a hard time figuring out what to say and where?

Feb 12 Daniel Kessler: Dammit new social media plan: Tumblr is just a big twitter, wordpress is a blog
Feb 12 Albert Yao: keep it simple, do everything within google!
Feb 12 Chris Love: Hey Daniel, do you really think Tumblr is just a big Twitter? I think the difference for Tumblr is that it’s a community formed on the basis of interests more than previous friendships and acquaintances (though as you know I’m now friends with Mills, Peter Santiago and a few other tumblers). What do you think?
Feb 12 Chris Love: But I don’t see any reason to continue with Facebook and Twitter though
Feb 12 Daniel Kessler: The real struggle I’m having right now is what to do with ideas. Chris, if you remember my writing style, my thinking style is quite similar. My thoughts are usually staccato bursts that don’t readily self-cogitate and unfurl. Twitter is excellent for this as it fits the way I already think.

In my continuing struggle to train myself to be a more meditative, fluid thinker, I’m trying to practice better blogging. So often I end up with 20 half-written drafts that were very interesting when started, but that I lose interest in over time.

For me it’s less about the community than it is about finding a repository for my thoughts. I think that you and your Tumblr-circle are all better trained thinkers than me, so you do an excellent job of having semi free-form, semi structured conversations. I’m still just trying to find a receptacle for my thoughts, and I want one storage device that fits what my brain spits out, and another that forces me to stretch and grow.

For me, WordPress or other blogging platforms are great for longer meditations and sharing, but don’t necessarily invite commentary since they can be intimidating and lengthy. Tumblr seems like a great place for reposting material that others have drafted, expanding on it, then kicking it out to the Tumblsphere for further criticism. I just need to figure out where it fits in my continuum of creative outlets.
Feb 12 Chris Love: Daniel, I think your entire post here belies your estimation of your own powers of thinking and expression. I too am trying to find a way to figure out what forms of web communication fit my time, moods, modes and methods best, but aiming at constantly morphing and moving targets seems to make this more a process of error than trial.

I think you’re right about Tumblr: it’s great as a sketchbook for one’s burgeoning thoughts and ideas, but it’s also a fantastic source for cogent bursts of information about political and cultural events. For example, Sea of Green’s live-blogging of the demonstrations in Iran is far more informative and useful than anything coming out of the mainstream press right now.

What do you think makes Twitter more useful (user-base aside) than Buzz? Man I’m confused these days.
Feb 12 Daniel Kessler: I appreciate your reassurances and take comfort that I’m not the only one struggling with that.

I’ve enjoyed Sea of Green’s stuff and will probably subscribe to it in Google Reader (thanks for so often reblogging, it’s kept me more up to date on Iran than I have been in a while).

The reason I’m still in Twitter is fairly simple and unexciting. I understand Twitter’s API well enough to piggy back on publicly available scripts, and there are enough Twitter “bots” listening to me that I can do all sorts of neat commands from a launcher app I run on my computers. If I have something I need to do, I can tweet a direct message to the “ToodleDo” bot which will make sure it gets added to my to do list.

For now, Buzz is a place where I’m happy to concatenate my stuff, and comment on it, but I’m not yet that interested in directly putting content here.

To be honest, Buzz is pushing me more towards wordpress because of its integration. If I could get content from Tumblr into buzz easily, I’d totally use that more. I just want a place that concatenates all of my activity so that it’s easy to see what I’ve been up to and thinking.

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Personal | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Flickering Embers of your Soul

“It’s all we can do to look in the mirror and hope that the light doesn’t go out of our eyes.”
—Me, to nobody in particular

In an effort to actually publish more of my thoughts without just mind-dumping into Twitter, I’m going to start leaving fragments here that I can springboard off later.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the eternality of conscious being and have come up kind of pessimistic. I’m more convinced than ever that our conscious existence is just emergent phenomena, a beautiful property of our humming minds, but one that cannot exist on its own without substrate.

Recent experiences observing (in myself and others) the fragile emergent property that is consciousness crackle and weaken has really inverted my old top-down beliefs in will and self. The conscious mind is cool, but it is so easily disrupted and is miserably limited in its ability to command any resources for self-preservation under any but ideal circumstances. Bummer, huh? Well, let’s enjoy it while we can.

Nerdier posts coming soon, and maybe a splash of optimism in all the fatalism.

PS: I’m not depressed or bummed out or anything, I’m just slowly shifting my thinking about how I think of myself (or anyone else) as an agent. This new strain of thoughts has so far made me a lot more sympathetic to others and has helped me to feel more connected to other people: we’re all pretty frail.

February 14, 2010 Posted by | Personal | , , , , | Leave a comment