♠ Monday, April 26, 2004
Iggy asked a question about why it is we like blogs, as authors and as readers. I liked my answer so much I thought I'd share it. (And, also, my Email client is acting up.)
What I Like About Blogs, by Lord Geznikor Whompbucket
[Yes, that is a second-grade title. So?]
There are a number of things I like about blogs, why I read them and why I write one.
- Share the pain, or, we're all learning together. A lot of us bloggers are at roughly equal levels of skill. Iggy and Hdouble are probably a bit better than me, BG and Halverson are probably a bit worse than me, but we're all within a loud shout of one another in skill. (Those rankings are based almost entirely on what I read, and so may not reflect reality.) But the point is, that when one of us learns something about the game, most of the rest of us don't react with non-comprehension, nor incredulity ("Well, of course, stupid!"). It's either an important lesson we can learn, or have just learned, so reading the blogs has value in learning itself, or in confirmation that we aren't off the mark in what we've learned. Even bad beat stories, as tired as we all are of hearing them, have value, especially if the reader is running bad: it's not just him.
- Share the joy, or, somebody's gotta win, why not you? The flip side of that is that if someone is running good, particularly with tournament scores, and that person isn't a whole lot different from the reader, it gives the reader some hope that those big scores are out there for him, too. From the other point of view, not all of our coworkers and loved ones understand how truly special it is to outlast and outplay 10 or 100 or 1000 other players for a nice score. And so, posting your score to your blog provides the release of crowing about your victory, to people who truly understand the victory.
- I'm running good, or, I'm running bad. This is therapeutic for both writer and reader. If the writer is running good, then it reminds the reader who is running bad that things will improve, and it reminds the reader who is running good to be a bit more humble: you haven't figured the game out, you're just running good. If the writer is running bad, then it reminds the reader who is running bad that everyone goes through such streaks, and it reminds the reader who is running good that downswings do occur, and be careful. For the writer, posting about running bad is usually a plea for (perhaps silent) sympathy, and a bit of a release: You're a grownup, so you're not supposed to cry when your AA gets beat again, but writing about it can be an emotional release. The same release is evident when the writer is running good: Whether it takes the form of bragging or incredulity at the way one is running, it gets some of that glee on paper and out of one's system so one can look at one's play a bit more objectively.
- Community. Poker-playing is somewhat solitary, even in the casino. Yes, there are people you see over and over in the casino, but unfortunately most of them aren't the type of people you'd hang out with if you didn't have this common interest. Poker bloggers and their audience have two things in common: They love poker, and they're literate. I don't mean they "can read," which is the dictionary definition of "literate," but that they actually enjoy reading, which is how they find themselves reading (or writing) blogs. And so several bloggers I now consider to be friends, and I've chatted with a number of them, even though most live hundreds of miles away. I even met one, which was cool, because he turned out to have less hair than me.
- Entertainment. Some of the blogs are damn funny. Others are fairly straightforward but include some amusing bits, sometimes gleaned from other sources. For the writer, this allows an outlet and an audience for some of his own creative work, such as my own "Casey at the Felt" (see my March archives). It also allows an outlet for thoughts about other topics, like my baseball or BG's football or Mean Gene's politics. Fiction, too: If I were to write a short story, even a non-poker-related one, I'd probably put it on my site.
- A place to rest one's eyes. Low-limit poker online is mechanistic and in many cases boring. For those who play only one table, there is a lot of downtime even if there are twice as many hands as playing live. For those who play multiple tables, they have no choice but to play mechanistically, and having a mental escape hatch during the seconds-long stretches of downtime is important to keeping one's sanity. Hell, I'm writing this whilst playing four tables of $3/$6, for the same reason.
- The Cartesian Reason. I blog, therefore I am.