Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2

Webslinger or Weblogger?

Web superhero-dom has its burdens.

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Here’s what I learned from watching Spider-Man 2.

It’s tough being a famous weblogger. Every time something happens, you feel obliged to post an entry. In fact, people expect it. At first it’s exciting, but it soon becomes overwhelming (and you’re not even getting paid for it). The next thing you know, you’re not performing at work, going out on dates, or getting on with your life. And to your surprise, you’ve become a target of criticism. All you’ve ever done is try to use your weblogging abilities to help humankind from the forces of corporate, political, and aesthetic evil. And what does humankind do? They turn on you. They take you for granted. They spam your commenting system.

Our hero is the worse for wear in Spider-Man 2
The wounded webcrawler.

The next thing you know, you’re looking out your window and asking, “Am I not supposed to have what I want? What I need?” Eventually you realize that you have a choice to make. Either continue the demanding life of a weblogger or call it quits. You conclude, “I want a life of my own. I’m weblogging no more.” (See Powazek and Merholz.)

CUT TO: Geeky ex-weblogger walking outside for the first time in years. Sun is beaming. “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” plays in the background.

At first you’re incredibly relieved. You can’t remember the last time you felt so free and alive. You read a book. You work on projects. You talk to your family. You go out on a date. But then, out of nowhere, it happens. Apple announces a new product. America goes to war. You have a funny thought. You instinctively run to your computer and begin to post a weblog entry—until, that is, you remember that your weblogging days are over.

What to do? What to do?

You dash onto Metafilter to make a few comments about the latest news, but it is not the same. Other voices get in the way. You are misinterpreted. Snarkiness abounds. Flames are everywhere. You offer some insight, but not in the way it is needed. And then, suddenly, you realize that with great power, comes great responsibility. The world needs weblogging heroes. Courageous, self-sacrificing people setting examples for all of us. (Product placement: And Blogger believes there’s a hero in all of us.)

So you return to your weblogging ways. (See Winer, Powazek, and Merholz.) You post with new vigor. You defend yourself. You confront the forces of evil. You declare your loves. You make sacrifices. You know what you must do. The world needs you. The world needs your weblinks and webthoughts. Because years later, they’ll tell how they bookmarked, trackbacked, and refreshed your weblog just to get a glimpse of your webbyness.

Go get ’em, tiger. :::

posted by editor ::: August 02, 2004 ::: philms :::