Seeing as how I began this blog as an experiment of sorts – and as a project for a writing class – I’ve naturally been doing a lot of reading and thinking about why people blog. During my short time here in Blogland I’ve made the acquaintance with many diverse and talented bloggers. All are different in their own ways, and how they answer my question will no doubt be as unique and as individual as the faces and personalities behind the posts.
Most of my reading and interactions have been positive. Then I came across Andrew Keen’s book The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture. As the blurbs promise, it is a blazing polemic against us, the people blogging on a regular basis, adding our noise to the din that the author finds deafening and inane.
In his introduction, he writes:
At the heart of this infinite monkey experiment in self-publishing is the Internet diary, the ubiquitous blog. Blogging has become such a mania that a new blog is being created every second of every minute of every hour of every day. We are blogging with monkeylike shamelessness about our private lives, our sex lives, our dream lives, our lack of lives, our Second Lives. At the time of writing there are fifty-three-million blogs on the Internet, and this number is doubling every six months. In the time it took you to read this paragraph, ten new blogs were launched.
He goes on to decry the ways blogging, as well as other online collaborative (Wikipedia) and community (MySpace and Facebook) outlets, are conspiring to erode the foundations of both objective journalism and the entertainment establishments. He makes some interesting points. Consider how many people blogged about the death of Madeline Neumann over this past week. Much of the information in the earliest posts was inaccurate or downright false. Only as the details of the investigation began to enter the mainstream did posts begin to get the story straight. But, as in the case of my own blog post, accurate details weren’t the reason for posting. Regardless of the timeline or the details of who called 911 and when, my post was a personal reaction to the tragedy itself. I wasn’t reporting information, and I hope people who came across my post didn’t simply assume every jot and tittle I posted was scripture. Even linking to the AP article I read isn’t a foolproof assurance that everything at that stage of the unfolding story was accurate. His point? Many people do assume blog posts to be accurate, and end up believing lies. I concur.
So why do I blog?
As I’ve mentioned many times, this blog is a living memoir. What I write here pertains to me – where I’m at, how I’m living and what’s percolating in my noodle just prior to hitting the “Publish” button. In her essay collection titled Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott shares this story about a spiritual lesson she taught to a group of (mostly) attentive children in her church:
I’d been pumped up about the lesson the night before, when I saw an art project suggested in the curriculum materials that involved building a paper Wailing Wall with students, to teach them about pouring one’s heart out to God and about letting go. I’d also printed images from the Internet of men clustered at the wall, crowds milling around nearby, harder-to-find shots of women at the wall, multiple copies of one block of stone, and a picture of a young boy and his father in yarmulkes, pushing prayers written on paper into cracks in the wall. This is something I do all the time, shove bits of paper with prayers and names on them into desk drawers, little boxes, my glove compartment. I’ve found that when you give up on using your mind to solve a problem – which your mind is holding on to like a dog with a chew toy – writing it down helps turn off the terrible alertness. When you’re not siphoned into the black hole of worried control and playing fretful Savior, turning the problem over to God or the elves in the glove compartment harnesses something in the universe that is bigger than you, and that just might work. [Emphasis added]
I am an amateur in many ways. And I never pretend to be a professional when it comes to presenting anything on this blog. I blog to “turn off the terrible alertness,” a phrase I’m still grappling with.
Now it’s your turn.
Why do YOU blog? I’m eager to read your comments . . .