In the Life’s Too Short/I Can’t Waste Any Time Worrying About This Stuff Column:
Data Breaches: Every time I turn around lately, I’m on the receiving end of an email or letter informing me that a website or store or utility company I have done business with has been the victim of a ‘data breach.’ That between some date and another date, some nefarious group hacked into the site with the result being that some of my data, i.e., credit card info, name, birthdate, address, might be in the wrong hands.
When this sort of thing first started happening, I felt the usual panic, wondered what to do, wrung my hands, etc. But now? I just shrug my shoulders and shake my head and maybe change my password or maybe ignore the whole thing. If this sounds like an ostrich burying its head in the sand, you might be right. But the fact is, we all provide personal information online or at the cash register. We hope, of course, that that information is secure but there is always the risk that it might not be. In this age of digital everything, personal information is readily accessible – too accessible – but that’s the way of the world nowadays.
The people behind all of this are contemptible, of course. They do bad things that affect innocent people. I think it’s terrible. But, in the end, I can’t go into a panic every time I this happens, because it seems to happen more and more often. I can’t be worrying all the time about identity theft. There’s so much written about all of this – especially on the web – that one can quickly be overwhelmed by it all. I’m not going to be blissfully ignorant, but I refuse to let this crap rule my life.
So I shake my head, shrug my shoulders and move on.
Rules on Blogging: Please stop. Please stop with the ’10 Things That Make a Good Blogger’ kind of posts. Or ‘What Every Blogger Needs to Know.’ Or, even more maddening, ‘How to Coordinate All Your Social Media or When to Schedule Your Pinterest Pins or your Facebook Posts or your Instagram posts” or “How to Use Social Media.” Always with the proviso that you must do these things if you want to be taken seriously. There’s just too much of this kind of ‘expert’ advice out there. And the result is that we lose that individual stamp that is so vital, the thing that makes one person’s blog different from every other blog out there.
I realize, of course, that for many bloggers, their blog is their business. I get it. And I respect that.
Regretfully, at least to me, blogging has changed. What started out as a creative way to share with each other and expand our world, to journal, to share photos, to create, to write – let’s stop for a moment and say that again – to write, has now morphed into an arena where everyone has to have a new project on the blog every day, then has to Tweet or Facebook or Pin and hype the heck out of it. And every stat has to be checked and rechecked and compared to every other blogger’s stats.
If there’s any way to squeeze every ounce of joy out of blogging, that kind of stuff is sure to do it.
The number of bloggers out there has multiplied and multiplied and multiplied some more since I started blogging six years ago. The arena has become much more competitive, with everyone vying for readers, for ad clicks, for a rung on the ladder of ‘blogging success.’ It’s exciting, for sure, this blogging world. And blogging can lead to recognition, to possibilities, to maybe even a book deal. All well and good. Though, as to book deals and blogger hype, I have to raise this question: When did everyone become an ‘Expert?’ The internet has suddenly given everyone a chance to claim the title of Expert. Really? I’m highly suspicious about that one.
Let me say here and now: I don’t claim to be an Expert on anything.
I don’t want to see blogging become the equivalent of a strip mall, where everything is the same and the content is so similar that one could be in any city or town with all of the shops so interchangeable that nothing is really new or fresh or original.
I have to stop myself because there’s SO much I could say about all of this and I will, someday.
Really, in the end, my point is this. I started blogging for the sheer pleasure of it. It brings me joy. Anything that takes that joy and boxes it up and surrounds it with a list of ‘rules’ and things I must do will be summarily tossed out the window.
Life is too short and joy is too hard to come by. It’s too precious to mess with.