What is the Friday Five about?

So I'm kinda new to the blogosphere (I know, swearbox for even thinking the word), and I stumble across this. First off, I thought it was some kind of policital campaign: Free The Friday Five. A bit like Radio Free Ben Hammersley. He's an institution, that man, or at the very least a republic in SW7.

But I digress (which is what I'm best at). I read a few FFs, and thought, this is dull. I know it's not cool in the online-o-sphere to not think everyone else is fabulous, but it's boring. Admit it. The Friday Five is for people who can't think for themselves, who relish the system over the content, who acquiesce to structure without considering what the structure is about.

It's about link-whoring. It's a traffic generation scam for the visitor-challenged. And I don't have a problem with that - in a way, it's what makes blogs/personal websites interesting. If I hadn't met The First Blogger (well, first one I'd met) last year, I wouldn't have gone on the link journey of writing and thoughts and ideas that has brought me here today writing tosh for you. So, it's a good thing, then, right?

Wrong. I respect independent thought. Original perceptions. Chaos. And, I guess, leaders over followers.

The Friday Five and its ilk (I'm sure there's a Thursday Three and a Tuesday Two, but I don't want to know) is pyramid selling for the blog generation. It's taking the meme to its ultimate, teeth-clenchingly dull final resting place.

Or is it that, deep inside, we're all emotional voyeurs? Or perhaps some of us are emotional exhibitionists? Like, I don't really know Ben but I've seen his wedding pictures. And, I don't know Mike, but I know about his whole life.

Don't get me wrong. I've read some inspiring writing online in recent months. And I'm sure I've written things here that people think are way too personal. But you should know what's in my head that I haven't written. Believe me. And I know that the blogger-as-personal-editor thing means that no-one ever writes anything they don't choose to.

The blogs that interest me are personal, to some degree. I mean, sure, I like good links and weirdshit as much as the next person, but it's the personal stories that make me come back. But almost exclusively when they're well written.

And maybe that's why so many people go for the McDonalds-stylee content of the Friday Five. It's like an Ikea-flat-packed version of a human relationship; you don't have all the parts and the instructions are meaningless. You try in vain to fit the dowls into the stupid little holes and then give up and go get the real thing. For more money/investment/energy.

You don't have to think about what to write or whether it's interesting. You're just following orders. Right? You just know that the majority of Friday Fivers would torture their pet if the psychologist doing the experiment told them it didn't hurt.

Herd followers, I say. And weird people; the woman who co-ordinates them, answers the "Have you ever helped a stranger?" question today with "This one's pretty tough. I don't have a lot of contact with strangers and I'm more likely to spend my time and energy helping a friend. We did give money to BFAS last time we were in PetsMart."

She should get out more.

28 June 2002

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