Last night, I tried to explain to my mother what WordPress is. She does not know what blogging means and until two months ago, my knowledge was only slightly better than hers. So, I told her I’ve been running this “website”, which I haven’t yet paid for so that I can own the domain and tell people about it, as if I was running a business or a brand. Which all sounds very grown up and official to me and I’d have to put on a deeper voice to convince people and myself that I am convinced of what I am doing. And, that was the easy part really, telling her that I may potentially run a website. Explaining “followers” and “likes” and “tags” was the really difficult part. And we’re talking about a conversation that ran into the early hours of the morning.
I marvel, and am hugely envious of, the rare number of people I know who lead full lives without ever using a computer device of any kind. My mother has a keypad phone where she prefers dialling a number to finding it by name on the phone book. Not because she can’t, but because it is just what she chooses to do, remember numbers. She doesn’t text or read texts. Other electronic devices in her life are the lights, the refrigerator, the chimney, the washing machine and the TV. Even with the last, she doesn’t go for the fancy-shmancy despite having the option to. No recording something while watching something else. In short, she behaves exactly how she would have behaved 30 years ago and she feels no compulsion to change it.
She notices the weather and the changing shapes of the moon. She even wakes up by the dawning light and not by an alarm clock. For someone who is blissfully oblivious of the disastrous effects that Facebook and Twitter can have unless it makes the news(which she passionately follows on TV), I am amazed that she never even considers joining those establishments. Why will she, when she actually talks to people and meets them in person. She even prefers making international calls to Skyping.
I am not trying to do a cheesy back-to-nature kind of a thing here. I am just saying that there are people who can still manage to have fulfilling lives without wanting to participate in the new. Who do not wish to take pictures of what they are eating and of themselves every three seconds. She even, to this day, has a photo studio picture taken of her when she was young. And, you thought that only happened in the Victorian period.
However, despite these enviable qualities, I faced a huge disparity in our conversation. I have been blogging for two months. Initially, it was just like goofing around with any other website. However, I could feel it affecting me towards the end of the first month. And last month, I went a little crazy. I am generally not too goal-oriented, as the consequence of that, usually, is not achieving them. But, I thought why not try and see if I can get a 100 followers. I silently cringe every time I use that word because well, Of Opinions ain’t a cult. Never was and never will be. But, it’s much, much worse trying to explain that to your own, disinterested mother.
Okay, so increasingly incomprehensible fact number 1) I run a “website”. Number 2) I have 93 followers. Number 3) They are a varied group of very interesting people. Number 4) I have a greater number of “likes” than followers, though I do not know the exact number. Number 5) No,they do not like me, but my post. Number 6) I am not having an internet romance as they: Repeat 5.
I didn’t even tell her about comments as I am myself quite baffled with how that works. I discussed it a while back in a post called Of Commentary. But, these didn’t even qualify as the Winner of Incomprehensibility award. That went to: what am I doing, and why am I doing it? I told her, they didn’t simply “like” my post, but that it might have meant something to them. I told her they decided to “follow” because they liked my post enough to come back for more. That, in short, my work was worthy and I am constantly, constantly thinking of how to create more value.
My life is a curious mixture of enthusiasm and apathy. Yes, Whitman was right. It is possible, and in fact, probable, to be a multitudinous person. And yet, I do not have this contradictory attitude to what I am doing here. My feelings are ambivalent to most things in my life, but not to this. Not yet. This is consuming me like new love. What started out as a yet another goofy internet thing to do, is becoming a passion.
Though my mother still doesn’t understand blogging any better after our conversation last night, I hope, in sometime, she will actually come see what is going on here.