If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stop reading now. You hate these lame self-congratulatory catalogues of the year’s literary efforts, but you like to point out how lame self-congratulatory people are.
You’re still reading, so you don’t know what’s good for you, or you do but your actions don’t follow. Don’t fret; that’s human nature.
Why do I do this Smatter thing? I potentially injure career opportunities if my sense of good judgment veers too far from the herd’s. Certain employers and/or recruiters may have a visceral, uneducated response to a leader that flips around high-minded opinions on the Internet. “Have you seen Matt’s blog? He said dirty words, in French.”
Of course, The Smatter actually cements my position at the vanguard of social media, whatever the heck that is, making me supremely employable and handsome. In general, I keep everything I do on the Internet completely open and out there. It’s a natural filter. I won’t post anything I’d be ashamed to show my mom or my boss. I can gently nudge the envelope within this policy, I think. See “Here’s a Tip”, about politics and pizza-delivery fantasies.
I’m a writer by design. I’m compelled to do it. In college, I wrote for The Daily Northwestern, mostly about things I’d be ashamed to put on the Internet now. Luckily, we didn’t have Facebook at the time and my pals at NU have yet to put archives online going back to the mid-1990s. Take your time, kids. My political aspirations are yet unhindered.
In my early twenties, I wrote a novel. Seriously. It was terrible, both the process and the finished product. I painstakingly vomited my soul into the keys of a forty-pound laptop sporting a wicked 386 and composed a self-indulgent Bildungsroman that is only slightly better than Kardashian Konfidential.
You never read that, and you never will. But you and thousands of other people gladly read and interacted with my polemic against waiting in lines. I felt like a modern, ice-cream-addicted Thomas Paine. It was my glorious 15 minutes. I’ll take it.
Unlike Paine or Thoreau or other grandiose dreamers, I type thoughts into an iPhone between meetings. I see what strikes a chord with the relatively washed masses, and what doesn’t crusts like barnacles upon Google’s crawlers.
The ones I fire off in a rage are always the most popular, because humans create the fieriest, most relatable language when really angry about some minor customer service affront (read the one about waiting in line for ice cream again).
I don’t do this completely alone. Sean Deveney took an occasional break from turning our NBA-inspired yawns into sporting a-has over at The Sporting News, and Mary K. Moore ingeniously exploited the obvious humor in Grindr. Check out her latest gems via her regular gig at HuffPo.
You really should read my novel. Maybe someday I’ll post it serially, Charles Dickens-style.
Until that fabulous day, read three more Smatter posts from 2011: