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i blog therefore I am

Make it up on volume with the island of misfit toys

Happy New Year! We couldn’t wait for 2016 to end even though 2017, let’s be honest, is not going to fare better.

To say that 2016 sucked is a gross understatement. My father passed away on April 10 while I was 7,447 miles away. I still haven’t processed this. I am working up to it while being slowly eaten empty by guilt and regret.

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I mean, I am very good at making them, I am just horrible at keeping them. My best record I believe was one week for keeping a journal. Journals are in general a bad idea: the thing about secrets is that as soon as they leave your mind, they stop being secrets. I did make one resolution for 2017 however: Read more real books instead of trying to read every single article saved to Pocket.

I’ve reached a, what should I call it other than a cliche, crossroad in my professional (and personal, though I am in deep denial on this one) life. So for the first time, I picked up one of the 10,372,763 recommended “this year’s best business books to teach you how not to jump in front of a moving train on your commute home every evening”, called Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, chosen out of, yes, self-aggrandizement. Adam Grant made an interesting point on quantity vs. quality:

It’s widely assumed that there’s a tradeoff between quantity and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but this turns out to be false. In fact, when it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality… On average, creative geniuses weren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers. They simply produced a greater volume of work, which gave them more variation and a higher chance of originality.

I’m taking this as a permission to crank out as many streams of consciousness as my mind can dictate.

“…the most important possible thing you could do,” says Ira Glass, the producer of This American Life and the podcast Serial, “is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work.”

Make it up on volume. Sorry Internet. Blame it on Ira.

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Why We Blog

July 29, 2012

in random

He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage.   George Orwell, 1984

 

Every once in a while, I have to pause and ask myself, “Why bother doing this? Why blog?” IF I am honest when I say, “I don’t really care if anybody reads these words,” why is keeping a journal not enough for me?

For starters, I have never succeeded in keeping a journal. I must have accumulated dozens of journals with scribbles only on the first few pages: my handwriting progressively became sloppier, and the word counts less, until … blank. Blank. Blank.

So am I really that narcissistic, as I like to accuse myself of – getting it out of the way before anybody else points this out.

This recurring self-reflexive questioning was put to an end when I came across this Time article, “Like to Brag on Facebook or Twitter? That’s Because Self-Disclosure Is like Eating and Sex, Says Study“. The title itself is self-explanatory.

Intriguingly, the researchers noted a distinction between types of self-disclosure: introspection, or privately thinking about oneself, compared with having the opportunity to share those thoughts with another human being. Again, as expected, while introspection was itself sufficient to light up brain regions associated with reward, the effects were “magnified” when participants believed their thoughts would be communicated to someone else.

 

In this other article, “Why We Talk About Ourselves: The Brain Likes It“, it was spelled out even more explicitly. Here is the paragraph that I have committed to memory as rebuttal against my imaginary accusers:

We love talking about ourselves, we really do — that’s what a group of Harvard neuroscientists found while testing the theory that we’re big on self-disclosure, anyway. In fact, say the scientists, we love self-disclosure so much because it tickles our core value centers in much the same way as “primary rewards” like food and sex.

The researchers noted that people particularly enjoyed self-disclosure if they knew other people were listening. When people were given a choice to share their responses with others or to keep them private, they gave up 25% of their potential earnings in order to broadcast the personal info. “[The] effects were magnified by knowledge that one’s thoughts would be communicated to another person, suggesting that individuals find opportunities to disclose their own thoughts to others to be especially rewarding,” says the study.

 

There you have it.

It is in our psychological make-up, part of the evolutionary outcome. How can you fight that?  In fact, more people should be doing this –

Blogging. It is good for the soul.

And since it is 100% fat free and at no risk of contracting STD, it is good for the body too.

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