I Hate the Word Musings.

Monday, July 07 2003

I’ve been playing with BlogShares

for a while, which is a nice bit of fun, but in doing so I’ve discovered something disturbing.

In the game, you’re given $500.00 of virtual cash, and the object is to amass huge quantities of money buying and selling virtual shares in real life weblogs. It’s very well done, and refreshingly original. One of the points of Blogshares is to encourage people to look at newer, less known blogs, which is a good and worthy idea. You do have the opportunity to click through to quite a few blogs you might never see otherwise.

What I’m finding disturbing is that, after seeing perhaps a few hundred “unknown” blogs, I’ve noticed a trend. The following words drive me crazy, and far too many people are using them in the titles of their blogs. In a five minute period, I found (n) amount of blogs containing these words in their titles:

Musings (27)
Ramblings (21)
Random Thoughts (8)
Chaos (5)
Diversions (7)
Worthless Thoughts (3)
Loosely Coupled (3)

Bear in mind that I found these words in blog titles not by searching for them specifically, but because within the game, they met a profile for weblogs that I thought were undervalued, and would perform well for me in the future. The frequency of those words is what disturbs me, and each word used disturbs me in different ways, which I’ll pontificate on:

I hate this word. I picture a wannabe intellectual type lounging about his front parlour in a smoking jacket, pipe in hand saying “I fancy a moment of muse whilst the milk mixes with the Earl Grey” in a sickeningly fake British accent. It drives me crazy.

I have to admit, long ago before I knew what weblogs were, I referred to my weblog entries as ramblings, but I pretty quickly decided that I didn’t like the idea, and dropped it. My blog entries aren’t ramblings, they’re important to me. I spend some time thinking of them, and trying my best not to ramble.

Random Thoughts
It’s not that maddening, but I’m just tired of seeing it. A little creativity would be nice. We all have random thoughts, so stating the obvious gets old quickly. What kind of thoughts are they, predominantly? Fish husbandry? Building circuit boards? Obsessing over Christina Aguillera? Horse racing? Surely something sticks out. For me, it’s bad milk and hating to get my haircut, yet hating my hair to be long.

People generally pick this word because it sounds mysterious and smart or something. If you’re telling me your weblog is chaotic, I’m not going to read it. I don’t want to deal with disorderly masses of letters, and I’m not smart enough to comprehend chaos when it comes to mathematics. Besides, if a weblog were truly in a state of chaos, it wouldn’t be a weblog, it would simply be a jumble of letters, following no particular order (except that the very electrons displaying the chaos follow a strict order, and then you can’t call it chaos anymore can you?).

Why use this? Does it too sound interesting like chaos? Calling it diversions is just another case of stating the obvious, and ultimately aren’t all weblogs diversions, laden with links to other places, arrived at while trying to avoid doing some meaningful work?

Worthless Thoughts
Fair enough perhaps. No need to check a weblog full of worthless thoughts. Besides, anyone who calls their thoughts worthless is probably trolling for sympathy of some sort, and I’m not the sympathetic type.

Loosely Coupled
I’m tired of buzz words. This one is climbing the buzz word ladder quickly. I don’t even know the origins of the term, but people are taking it and running with it because it sounds smart. Besides, I like very tightly organized things. I don’t want wishy washy relationships between busines processes or thoughts or whatever it is that you can couple loosely.

I guess the point of this moanfest is that I really do enjoy weblogs, and the power they give to ordinary people. I just wish these same people would spend a little more time putting some creative thought into what they call the process of writing a weblog. And please, don’t ever call it musings again. That one kills me the quickest. I could see David Beckham saying it on his site.