7.02.2012

Medium-sized fish in tiny, tiny ponds.

I've spent most of the weekend chuckling to myself about how up-its-own-ass this fucking blogging community has become. Burndog has often complained about circle jerk quality of blogging in Korea, and while I could kind of see where he was coming from, my attitude toward the whole thing always remained somewhat blase. Because, as far as I was concerned, there was nothing really to circle-jerk about. These are blogs. Big name bloggers? I mean, we all can kind of imagine who that might be. But so what? Big name bloggers. In Korea. Amongst foreigners, when we're all six degrees of separation away from each other to begin with. Big name bloggers, big fucking deal.

Dorothy Parker said many times that she believed that every time someone wrote anything, they were writing to the best of their ability. That it's a natural inclination to always arrange our words in the most appropriate way we can think of. And I agree. Which isn't to say there aren't times when people try to Write (four years of workshopping will teach you very quickly to spot that right away), but which is to say that no one purposely chooses a worse way to say something.

I think writing is writing is writing, and if you write, then you are a writer. No matter what you write, there is bound to be an audience out there for it, somewhere. It's ridiculous to claim that there aren't degrees or levels involved, but mostly... I mean, who cares? Really?

Interacting with other bloggers in Korea has been one of the strangest experiences for me since leaving my writing program in Brooklyn. When you're in a writing program, there's hardly anyone around who isn't making submissions, getting bylines here or there, working for a journal or zine or press in some context, giving readings or running some small press or zine enterprise of their own. It's the norm, and only the rare obnoxious few get their heads all blown up about it.

And then there's blogging in Korea. Where there are loads of lovely people just doing what they love. And then there are others. Referring to their blogs as "the 'Insert Title Here' blog", rather than just "my blog". Constantly addressing their "readership". Banging ever on about their "articles" or their "work". Showing up in other people's blogs outraged and demanding citations for something they think they may have mentioned at some point in their own blog. Popping in to carry on about how they've slowly and painstakingly and lovingly built their little blog empires up from the ground into the multi-thousand page view wonder of modern literature it has now become.

It's fucking hilarious to me.

Get a little perspective, hey?

Which is all to say that yet again the gents over at The Three Wise Monkeys have gotten their little panties in a twist and are running around the internet abusing people who had the audacity to find one of their "articles" interesting and post it, as well as linking to it. 


Boo hoo hoo. Boo hoo.

I mean, it's fine. You take yourselves exceedingly seriously and only want links and no re-posting of your material, even when it's credited. I understand. You're uptight, and page views are extremely important to your fragile sense of self, and simply having someone compliment your content and pass it around, with a link, is not good enough for you. You need to see the numbers for yourself. It's fine. Somewhat pathetic, but fine. So then why can't you just send a simple message asking for the content to be removed? Why do you need to fling yourselves to the floor in a Facebook message version of an hysterical tantrum?

I don't know what these boys did back home, but I'm assuming it wasn't publishing, in any capacity. They've made several comments about other people being mere bloggers, whereas they run a webzine. A WEBZINE! They are serious business.

Yet they can't seem to conduct themselves like proper adults when it comes to addressing their target community about their "work".

Well. I've given them a link anyway. I would never want to do wrong by them. Otherwise I might get a nasty little childish message on Facebook. Like the ones real editors send. They might even call me a "blogger", and then I might cry.

3WM, you sad little toolbags... you want to know the real difference between having a blog and running a webzine, other than creating all of your own content yourself, instead of just slushing through other people's submissions and hitting "publish"? It's the fact that bloggers, being entirely representatives of themselves, have the right to call people sad little toolbags. Webzines, being somewhat professional in nature, generally try to keep up some semblance of professional behavior in public, especially where it pertains to their readership. You might want to consider that. Then maybe you would stand a chance of getting a fraction of the hits the "Big Time Bloggers" do.

The sad thing is, it was a great article. But it's not the article I've ended up dedicating an entire post to, is it?

Playing it smart with the publicity, boys. Keep up the hard work.

[Editor's note (Get it? I'm the "editor" of my own blog -- gonna have to update my resume later.): 3WM. I've had a little gander over at your "writing" (not blogging) on your "webzine" (not blog), and it seems you are in desperate need of a copy editor. Because on blogs things that are called typos become much more serious and embarrassing when you are a "publication". It seems you have a lot to learn. I'm 20 years younger, but if you ever need help, I was on the newspaper staff in high school for two years, so you should send me an email or something. I'd be happy to assist you, free of charge.] 

12 comments:

S said...

I want to believe the long-awaited rain triggered some kind of mass asshat seizure this weekend. There were not one, but two giant bitchy flounces on Gwangju-related Facebook groups this weekend that made me roll my eyes so hard they nearly sprained. Vacation cannot possibly come soon enough.

Katherine Koba said...

Bwuahahaha, lulz forever.

I'm no Picasso said...

Mass asshat seizure sounds about right.

But the important lesson to take away from all of this is that the internet has made of us all Very Important People. I'm going to sue my grandmother for forwarding one of my emails to my aunt last month. She had not purchased the rights to redistribute that material, you see.

Jennifer said...

Preach it sister.

Roboseyo said...

Ever gotten a personal e-mail from someone whose e-mail signature includes a copyright notice?

I think the idea of there being some "big" bloggers is very 2008. There are just too many, with too many niches and unique networks and traffic flows, anymore. There need to be more, and more nuanced, ways of talking about what the best blogs are, than there used to be.

Personally, I gravitate towards well-written ones, and ones that regularly come up with opinions or views of Korea that don't appear on this list: http://www.monster-island.net/2009/02/say-what-you-meme.html

I'm no Picasso said...

Rob-- To me it's really less about blogging in Korea, so much as it's about the integrity of a writer and an editor who wants to run around the internet telling other people the kind of writing they do makes them a "nobody". First of all, 3WM do not have the kind of numbers to be backing a claim like that, but when you expect a community to respect and accept and literally submit to your project, you should maybe take tue time to consider the fact that you are NOT a blogger, and ways in which that may mean something, other than just looking down your nose at others. As my mother was very fond of saying when I was growing up, no rights without responsibilities.

As for big name anything, within Korea or without, I'm really not young enough to still be concerned. It's silly to get more caught up in that then, say, the quality of your own work considering your own standards, and what you really enjoy sitting down to read.

I'm no Picasso said...

Rob-- To me it's really less about blogging in Korea, so much as it's about the integrity of a writer and an editor who wants to run around the internet telling other people the kind of writing they do makes them a "nobody". First of all, 3WM do not have the kind of numbers to be backing a claim like that, but when you expect a community to respect and accept and literally submit to your project, you should maybe take tue time to consider the fact that you are NOT a blogger, and ways in which that may mean something, other than just looking down your nose at others. As my mother was very fond of saying when I was growing up, no rights without responsibilities.

As for big name anything, within Korea or without, I'm really not young enough to still be concerned. It's silly to get more caught up in that then, say, the quality of your own work considering your own standards, and what you really enjoy sitting down to read.

Roboseyo said...

I've always found it funny that one member of 3WM -- (and that should be made clear - I've had interactions with other of the 3WM that were overwhelmingly positive and courteous, and one of them I've met in person, and liked quite well personally) seems to be out to alienate those who would, under other conditions, probably become strong and interesting contributors to their webzine.

What is it they say about biting the hand that feeds them?

I'm no Picasso said...

Yeah I got the feeling it was just the one, and it's a shame he's doing it under the zine's name instead of just his own. Like I said, it was a great article. But I for one want nothing to do with the publication from now on. Which is fine. Maybe they want nothing to do with me and the rest of the foreigners they've offended with this latest bout of antics.

Brian said...

lol, Three Wise Monkeys. Three years ago they spammed their way around the blogging world, and few things have changed.

Burndog said...

I'm with Brian...I saw the whole exercise as a massive spam fest. That's why I deleted their address from my post and their posts. I have my (very low) standards to maintain.

I'm no Picasso said...

Well you know what they say. If kids can't get enough positive attention, they'll start to seek negative.

http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=12506

Apparently this guy has been seeking it for nearly a decade.

"Peerless"? I'd say they're well on their way, there. Anybody know how close they are to their 40,000 a month circulation quota for Seoul alone?

(3WM used to be/is affiliated with/has morphed from DDD, apparently.)

http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?p=560739

Crickets.