Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

on blogs and writing: a vexing problem  §

So I often accuse myself at my lack of productivity. I should by all rights be a more prolific writer, particularly given the passion with which I approach several facets of history, politics, and social thought. Only I’m not.

My entire professional publishing career is in trade nonfiction, meat grinder stuff.

Where is the moxiejo going?

To blogs. I participate in several major “blogs” (more appropriately called interactive news sites if you ask me) and my posts are among the most visible there. I engage in long threads of debate and often end up rated very highly. It is in such forums that I spend myself. I make good, persuasive arguments about technology, society, marxism, the future, and the past. People compliment me and quote me in future items, ask me questions that I’m able to answer.

But I don’t profit from this in any way, and my real name isn’t attached to any of this in any way. Ergo, I am contributing a lot but receiving nothing in return. There isn’t even a consistent entry point to a comprehensive archive of my “thought” as such.

Is this where we are going? Are the thinkers of the present and future doomed to sow their oats anonymously in cyberspace, with little hope of financial reward or fame? Not that I seek these things per se, in fact I’m generally opposed to them.

But at the same time, I must eat. And I claim to be a writer. If all of my writing energy is going to very good work that pays nothing and is entirely anonymous and thus not available for resumé work, am I still a writer? And more to the point, is there still a point to my being a writer?

Is there some way for me to leverage my “work” online of the last ten years? the posts and discussions are, by and large, still accessible. I suppose I could try to turn them into a book, but they’re really much more interactive than that and the copyright implications would be multiple and manifold, since nearly every blog claims ownership of anything posted there.

New models, new problems.

One thing is for certain: I can’t stop participating. I feel as though I can do much more good by engaging in discussions on a personal, interactive level with an audience of thousands of Web viewers than I can by writing books that will sit on a shelf and seem impenetrable and insurmountable even to most readers that buy them.

I’ve no doubt I’ve made a bigger difference by participating in major blogs over my lifetime than I ever could or will by publishing.

P.S. everyone: comments are back.

As are extended entries with stuff “below the fold.”

I won’t bother to mention why I disabled them in the first place. It wouldn’t mean anything to anyone anyway.

So I keep wondering whether this is a good avenue for me to use as a mechanistic approach to the creation of larger works. The problem is that a big part of what motivates me in writing, what drives my thought process, is interactivity. Or rather, reaction. I am very good at criticism. I excel at giving a persuasive, sound, theroetical discussion in response to someone else’s wrong-headedness.

I am rotten at pontificating as such, which is really the thrust of traditional publishing, for all intents and purposes.

What I really need to do, clearly, is stumble my way through to a Ph.D. so that I can teach. Then I can engage in this sort of thing on a continuous basis (albeit verbally) in a classroom setting, and potentially be as useful to society as I am now on the blogs.

For those that thing this “useful to society on the blogs” nonsense is just that, as well as ecocentrism and insanity to boot… well… welcome to the 21st century. We, the movers-shakers-newsmakers will be happy to leave you behind.