Short version so you don’t really have to read:
Don’t take anything you see on this blog seriously.
A note to my readers about context:
This is my personal blog. In case you haven’t been reading since the beginning of my blogging existence, let me use this post to explain why you should not take anything you find here seriously, unless you find some other reason, outside of my blog, to do so.
I started a website in college because I was hitting the size limits of my AIM profile, where I posted silly thoughts. This is the same profile where, during high school, I announced that I was selling the top 25% of my “senior page” in the yearbook to the highest-bidding advertiser. To the people who I chatted with online, it was obviously a joke, since they knew I liked to make ridiculous claims about corporate sponsorship, including offering to have an Apple logo tatooed on my forehead so we could get more video equipment. In college, after hearing that my high school alma mater would be getting unifoms, I quickly mocked up a sample shirt that would bring extra money to the school:
Again, I really hope that anyone who paid attention understood that it was a joke, especially since two of the logos are pretty extreme. Penn Charter could be considered a competitor, and Marlboro is, well, a cigarette company.
Over time, as I really got into the blogging thing, I developed a bit of an online persona, who was different than the “real” me. Some features were exaggerated, and others were completely new. I created an angry arrogant character who constantly proclaimed to be awesome, and sought to avoid all interactions with people. In reality, I actually like people, I’m generally happy, and I’m more social than ever. (If you don’t think I’m social now, ask someone who knew me a few years ago. It’s all relative.) It didn’t really matter who this character was, because most people who read my blog would never meet me in real life, and those who did knew me before the blog, and understood it was an act.
As my blog developed, it became a mix of satire/humor, venting about college life, miscellaneous announcements about my life, and other random thoughts on subjects such as technology. While I did have categories, the posts weren’t explicitly labeled as “joke” or “serious.”
Sometimes I would create fake news stories:
Shopping is Random
Apple announces move to all-black product lineup
AOL to Shut Down Free Instant Messaging Service
Analyst: Apple’s Fifth Avenue Store Doomed to Fail
Or stories that were only partially accurate:
Apple NEWS ALERT
Or just make stuff up:
My First Lecture
Inside The Blog
News Bit and/or Announcement
They weren’t labeled as humor, because it’s generally not my style to announce a joke. I later learned that this is similar to Steve Martin’s approach, where his jokes don’t have punch lines. I am a bit more extreme, since my jokes aren’t all in the context of a standup act. As I said in the previous paragraph, they’re listed right along with my serious posts. With some jokes, I don’t even expect anyone to find them funny except for myself. Like when I tell people that I’m Canadian. I don’t find it hilarious, but I do it anyway because it’s a harmless lie that nobody has a reason do disbelieve. It’s like telling someone that I had spaghetti for dinner last night when it was actually angel hair pasta. It’s only funny to me because it’s such a random thing to lie about. So on this blog, I may be joking at any moment, and it may not always be obvious.
When it came to the complaints on my blog (I even promoted it as “mostly bitter complaints” for a while), in most cases they were about things that didn’t really bother me. I only blogged them because I thought it was funny to make such a big deal about it. People do this all the time when they pretend to be really concerned about something like donut-cutting etiquette. Seinfeld made millions doing this. If I really was upset about something, chances are I would consider it too personal to blog about. As I’ll tell you in an upcoming paragraph, my blog isn’t a diary.
I understand that this lack of distinction may cause confusion for people, but since it’s my blog, I don’t see this as a bad thing. I’ll make the content appropriate for me, and not worry about what everyone else on the Internet may not like about my approach.
Now someone may say that I shouldn’t treat everything in life as a big joke. That’s true, but this blog is not my life, and it’s not about my life. If this blog was about my life, it would be one of those boring diary blogs, where nearly every post would look like this:
Today was pretty good. Nothing hilarious happened, but nothing made me notably upset either. I spent a lot of time on the Internet. I had a sandwich for lunch. It tasted like it always does and that’s why I like it. Everything is fine. Nothing is ruined.
But that’s fortunately not how my blog is. I generally only blog about things that I find exciting, annoying, or funny. If some people misinterpret my blog as my general, everyday thoughts or mood, then they probably don’t have an accurate impression of the “real” me. I get to be the real me in real life, where I (usually) am careful not to say anything too extreme if I don’t think people will know it’s a joke. My blog is where I can do whatever I want. For example, today in the café someone had left a folder on a counter that said “University of Calgary” on it. Someone asked me if it was mine, and while a potential joke queued up in my head where I would pretend to be offended that someone accused me of being Canadian, I decided not to go with it and just said, “No.” On my blog, I totally would have gone for it, and not really cared if she got it or not.