I mean, there are laws. I’m not talking about those.
No, I’m talking about rules.
We are surrounded by them, day in and day out, and I have been thinking a lot about rules lately. Where they come from, why we have them, why we obey them or break them. Don’t you think they’re fascinating, especially when they more or less show up in places where there is nobody in charge?
Take for example, blogging. There are a lot of rules when it comes to blogging, at least there seems to be.
And it seems odd, doesn’t it? I mean, a blog is just a personal weblog where you can come and post anything you like, any time you like, about any topic you like. The entire concept seems to scream that there are no rules and should never be any rules.
Yet there are thousands of bloggers out of the hundreds of millions of bloggers that exist who have developed a community and who love to more or less impose their set of rules over all blogs everywhere. And, anyone who breaks those rules, hears about it from “the community.”
The rules include: do not be too emotional in your blog posts. Do not write blog posts longer than x number of words. Do not ever get too popular too quickly. Do not issue press releases. Do not commercialize your blog too much. Do not insert page breaks. Write every so often. Do not write x amount of days ahead of schedule. Don’t ask for Facebook likes. Do not ever ignore the “blogging community” when they tell you what to stop or how to run your blog. Lots of other rules.
But who comes up with such rules? Why do they come up with them? And why do they feel like they can somehow enforce them, especially in an environment that thrives best in a ruleless setting?
Perhaps to understand that, we can look at a couple other places littered with all sorts of rules, starting with my gym.
Always wipe off your equipment when you’re done using it. Do not use certain equipment without a spotter. No outside food or beverages. No beverages that aren’t water. Footwear required in the steam room. Those are the posted rules, or at least some of them.
But then there are the unposted rules that everyone just seems to know. Certain gym rats have first dibs on certain equipment. If your body is of a certain type, you must wear certain types of clothes in order to make everyone else feel weak and insignificant. Try your best not to fart in yoga class. Don’t stand next to the tall fat bearded blogger in the cardio dance class or you will go home with his sweat and your sweat all over you.
Yes, this is the gym. Let’s see, where else has rules?
CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE