Though an act of rank stupidity, I have accidentally deleted every single bookmark I have for blogs, journals, personal Web pages and so on. They’re all gone; roughly 200 bookmarks, all of which I visit daily, wiped from existence. I find this profoundly irritating — I read blogs, etc for enjoyment but also for professional reasons, so this is pretty damn inconvenient. Curse the “delete” command! We hates it, precious!
But at the same time, it’s tremendously liberating. Suddenly, I’m free of all blogs I’ve been reading more or less out of habit and apathy, because it’s just too much damned effort to delete the bookmark. Also, and equally important, I don’t have to undertake the emotionally discriminatory act of purging the bookmark. I mean, granted, unless someone is obsessively poring over their logs, noting every single IP address, it’s not as if they will know whether or not you’ve pushed them out of your bookmarks. On the other hand, you know, and basically it’s saying “I don’t want to listen to listen to that person anymore.” I have no problem purging inactive blogs/journals, because they’re not saying anything. But if someone is still merrily typing away, it’s hard to pull the plug (or at least, it’s hard for me).
But I’ve just had a guilt-free purge! I didn’t do it on purpose, you know, and I deleted all the blog links I like as well as the ones I grew tired of. It was an equal-opportunity vaporization. Therefore, I don’t have to feel guilty about not putting certain blogs back into the list. Because now adding them back in — not taking them out — will be the thing that requires effort, and as you can clearly adduce by now, whether or not something take effort is the dividing line for me.
Certain annoying political blogs: Gone. Blogs of people who I thought might be interesting but simply turned out to be neurotic: Gone. Blogs of people who I read years ago when the online writing metaphor was new but now just seem to be rehashing their same old subjects entry after entry: Gone. Blogs which I can’t even remember why I put them in the bookmarks: Gone. They’re all gone! I’m free! Free! Frankly, it’s relief.
And more to the point, it will make me actively consider what I want to read. Sad to say, my time is crowding up again these days: Lots of things to write and family responsibilities and all that other real world crap. Now, before I add (or re-add) a blog into my bookmark list, I have to ask: Do I really want to devote any amount of time to this blog? Is this blog worth my time? I understand that people who write blogs don’t necessarily write them for my benefit. But — and this is an important corollary — I don’t read them for the writers’ benefit: I read them for my own. If a blog is not going to entertain me (in a wide-ranging, catholic sense of the word “entertain,” which suggests more than mere, simple amusement — although that’s good, too), then to Hell with it. I expect the next list of blog bookmarks will be tough to get onto.
And I start building it… now.