You get where I’m coming from. You can’t fight the fact. There are millions of blogs and there’re only so many topics people want to blog about so there must be hundreds or even thousands of blogs each of us would enjoy reading but will never get to see because we travel in different circles and there’s a lot of that online: A links to B, C, D and E’s blogs ; B links to A, C, F, and G’s blogs; C links to B, C, D and E; D links to A, B, G and H and so on and so forth. No one even knows X, Y and Z exist. This is where Facebook lets us down because when people do stumble across X, Y or Z they never tell anyone about it. They don’t even bookmark it. They pass on by because they’ve already got too much to deal with. This is how I feel about TV. I have more TV saved up than I’ll even watch. Entire series. And yet I watch crap. Or maybe not crap—I don’t watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians or anything—but I do watch stuff with one eye on my tablet because I really don’t care that much about it but we’ve watched the first seven seasons and really ought to see the thing through to the end. (I’m thinking about shows like Bones. We have three seasons unwatched. I could cry.)
It’s a symptom of the modern world that we simply have to contend with. I wouldn’t even call it fashion consciousness. What it is is a limited choice. Which is perverse. We follow the crowd, believe the hype. There’s nothing that delights me more than discovering something no one’s ever heard about and I can think of three examples: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Regina Spektor and Emily the Strange. I used to invite groups of friends round to my house back in 1989 to view Bill and Ted because no one even knew the film existed and it was great. I discovered Regina Spektor by scouring performers who sounded like Tori Amos (my daughter’s a huge fan) and I came across Emily the Strange in a tiny bookshop in Glasgow’s west end a couple of years before she started to appear on backpacks and T-shirts everywhere.
What I haven’t done in a while is look for new friends online. I did at the start when I had no one. I spent days and days trawling through blog lists searching for interesting people to follow. Now it’s the same handful, so few I could probably remember all their names and you know what my memory’s like. Why don’t I? Apathy I suspect. Or burnout. I’ve been at the blog malarkey for over seven years and that’s seven years I’ve been reading the same things and talking about the same things and I really don’t have strong opinions on that many things. Or even any opinions on most things. I live in an insular little writerly world and have no burning desire to leave it. But, of course, that’s no way to get people to notice you and maybe even buy your books. But then I stopped worrying about selling books ages ago. And I never worried about becoming famous even at the start.
I would like to get more out of life online than I am getting at the moment though. So here’s the thing: Who should I be reading that I’m not already reading? Who deserves more attention than he or she is getting at the moment? There’s gotta be someone. Any ideas?