So, I attended my very first WordPress info session a few days ago (a local Meetup) and I – as expected– felt myself blown away by the two hour-long firehose flood of useful (if confusing) information. Just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of tools and how to use them, shared by both novices, and experts attending the session. This particular Meetup was held in one of my city’s two Tech Centers – an amazing beehive of a place — established primarily to support new and fledgling startups. I could feel the brilliance of everyone around me. I did my best to soak-up as much knowledge as I could. My brain actually felt bigger, somehow, at the end of two hours, pressing on the inside of my skull. It’s for sure that I’d exhausted my ‘bandwidth’. No shame. Truth.
At the end of the Meetup several of us lingered for a random de-brief. I was the only Blogger at this gathering, as it happened. A young guy that had been sitting behind me (who happens to intern at the Center) made an offhand comment about Blogging that ricocheted in my brain, joining some emerging truths already fizzing and crackling in there. On the freeway I began to do a deep dive into his remarks (well-intended, and delivered just matter-of-factly) – almost missing the exit to my neighborhood.
“You know,” the Intern said (with noteworthy authority), “a lot of Blogs are written by AI. Or, if they’re not written by AI, they’re written by people who don’t really have a connection to the Blogger – they’ve just been hired to write.” The Intern’s message was actually not news to me. I’d been told, and had read, that some of the most successful (views and followers) Blogs are actually a kind of syndicate: an amalgam of both AI and humans creating content. Is this a problem ? my inner voice asked. I pulled into my driveway and tried to unpack my new knowledge and its implications.
Later. Actually, now pretty late into the evening. A snack and a shower behind me, I was wondering if I needed to pour a glass of wine (I didn’t seem to be ‘unwinding’ at all). One of the classic lines from the movie “Casablanca” strayed into my mind. At the end of the film, Rick tries to convince Ilsa that the problems of two star-crossed lovers (made more complicated by Ilsa’s husband being a part of the mix) are totally insignificant, in the grand scheme of the world and its troubles (in this storyline, the Nazis). I suddenly realized – the cartoon lightbulb over my head illuminating at full strength — how infinitely small my tiny little voice is, in the vast Blog Sea, or Blogosphere. This sort of feels like a problem, my inner voice responded.
I’ve written previously about the act of Creative Self-expression, citing the emotional process and experiences of the people – artists- I’ve known personally. When a piece of art is conceived, then made manifest, it’s being launched from the heart and soul of a human being. It bravely sails off into the public sphere. What happens afterwards is never guaranteed. Like a message in a bottle, it might be discovered by someone who understands and feels the connection. Or, the message may drift on the sea for a long, long time. But the very act of sending it out is effort in the direction of Hope; of Connection; and of Relationship.
As I felt exhaustion creeping into my body, finally feeling ready to turn out my bedside lamp and allow these thoughts to drift from my mind, I was zapped by one final tiny ‘spark’ of annoyance: AI Bloggers, indeed! As if ! The only thing an AI Blogger can ignite in me is immense gratitude for being able to recognize that bots specialize in mimicry. They cannot, and will never be able to, feel the blood pulse, butterfly-stomach, passionate urge of genuine creativity, in its conception and formation as ‘whatever’ kind of art. The icing on this late-night cake? The bots already know this and are feeling the pressure (give a listen to the podcast, “The Future of Feeling”.) Sweet dreams.