Amanda Palmer on Twitter, boredom, and blogging

A wide-ranging discussion about the pleasures and distractions of the internet with Amanda Palmer, a musician whose DIY spirit, creative energy, and songwriting skills I deeply respect. “I think being bored is really important,” she says. Yes. I’ve sometimes thought I owe a real debt of gratitude to the optometrists and orthodonists in whose waiting rooms I spent so many endless hours of my childhood. Without them, would I ever have developed the habits of mind necessary for that kind of focused daydreaming we call writing?

But I also saw myself in Palmer’s description of her writing process, needing to be online in order to look up words on Google and explore ideas in Wikipedia. I’m not ashamed to admit that I use Wikipedia almost constantly when I write poems — who wants to risk being badly mistaken about some Norse mythology allusion, or (to cite something from my latest poem) the exact purpose of a gyroscope?

I share Palmer’s sense that the relationship with one’s blog is almost indistinguishable from a long-term, committed relationship with another person. I don’t feel that way about Twitter or Identica, though, much less Facebook. To me, those sites are more like fun, low-key parties where you can drift in and out of interesting conversations without feeling like you have to stick around.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

6 Comments


  1. I watched the video with fascination and some amusement when Amanda talked about how her generation, when young, had time to think, to be bored — all the things she thinks the generation growing up with Twitter and Facebook is missing out on, and how one’s blog can be grounding. Amusement, because it echos the same type of lament my generation used to invoke when blogging hit the world…. Good discussion, though — and an even better series you have here on poetics and technology.

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    1. Well, I think she includes blogging as an example of something that can be either a distraction or a touchstone, depending on how you use it. It’s a very nuanced reaction. Like us, but unlike kids in their early 20s, she would’ve grown up without any internet.

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    1. Ding ding ding! That was the 12,000th non-spam comment on Via Negativa since it moved to WordPress on April 1, 2006. What a distinction, eh?

      Reply

    1. I don’t know about a pony. It was only a one-word comment. I could send you a horseshoe!

      Reply

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