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New York City meets Munich

Chips for dinner

May 17th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Blogging, Internet, Writing

One thing that lead to a decline in my blogging several years ago was Twitter. Using Twitter made me feel like I was “microblogging”. There was a sense of connectedness and activity, and yet it took less effort and felt very immediate. Once I started piping my Twitter feed on to the site, it felt like I could keep the site fresh without much effort.

But there’s a huge difference between 140 characters of carefully crafted snark, or even sloppily crafted snark, and a longer-form blog post with a few decent links.
“That’s not dinner!”
It touches upon a metaphor I overuse a great deal. I call it “having chips for dinner.” Having chips for dinner involves satisfying a hunger temporarily by eating something convenient and enjoyable, but which has no nutritional value whatsoever. The problem with chips for dinner is that after you eat a bunch, you don’t actually want a real dinner any more. Except maybe later, you are a little hungry again, which can easily be solved by having more chips.

For me, Twitter was the blogging version of chips for dinner. Facebook can also serve a similar role. Both services have utility and purpose, but each can be too much of a convenient, lazy outlet for online expression for me. Writing is work, and it good writing is hard work, but the only way to get better at it is to do that work on a regular basis. Tweets and status updates are not really the best format for actual writing.

Since I got sucked into the lobster trap that is Facebook, I’ve stopped bothering with Twitter. I find Facebook useful for family and close friends if I stick to the core functionality, but it’s not a blog.

In the future I will avoid any social media that can only fit in an SMS message.

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