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im-not-a-blogger2So says my Media Studies professor. 1 in 20 Americans (and now I realize I’ve lost the pertinent citation to corroborate this figure in any way, shape, or form) has, at one point or another, begun a blog. The blogosphere doubles in size every 5.5 months; peak posting hours are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m EST … I could go on here, rattling off a few more statistics to remind us all of the looming futility of this particular brand of public sphere participation. But I think I’ll just blog instead.

This begs immediate comparison to another statistic: > 50%. That’s a number which, according to my Working Class Studies professors, reflects the number of people worldwide who have ever made a phone call. And it’s one that leaves me feeling comparatively privileged, whiny, and downright high-tech despite the distinct tone of lament communicated in the paragraph above. Not that I fancy myself a blogger (’cause I don’t) but I can’t avoid falling into that first statistic (’cause I do) and feeling somewhat disconcerted by the second (’cause I really, really do).

And, finally, one more for you: 2 out of every 3. That’s the number of my 101 students this semester — according to a Monday morning show-of-hands — that own an iPod. An unsettling (to put it lightly) figure for a gal like myself, trying to keep the dimly lit flame of live music a’sputtering in the Pittsburgh scene. 2 out of 3 of my students own an iPod, but 1 out of 25 of my students have seen a live music show since they moved to Pittsburgh (most of them are freshmen, so I’ll cut them a little slack … but even so! That’s 5 months already!). And how, you might wonder, might I begin to feign an overall connection between all these statistics? Like this: we live in an individualized — and increasingly custom-fitting — culture. Blogs are part of it, so are iPods, and anything else that gives us the illusion of singularity and loneliness in a world that is anything but. Those who talk about the democratizing effects of the internet (Microsoft … I’m looking at you) need to take a moment to consider the image 100 internet-users in a room together: silent, forward-facing, entranced by a glowing computer screen and not by the slightest whiff of humanity from the person sitting next to them. I see it everyday on the campus where I work, in the coffee shops I frequent (“My iPod means I don’t have to listen to your inoffensive, populace-pleasing jazz!”), and it throws that second statistic back in my face again: less than half. Less than half of the world gives a shit about the Facebook pictures you added over the weekend.

I may be some class of a blogger, but I’m no Facebooker. And I still like music out loud.


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