This site has been a long time coming. Ever since I graduated college, I’ve been wanting to find a way to keep writing on a regular basis. It’s 2014, so starting a personal blog is kind of the obvious and really easy way to satisfy this desire, but I’ve been pretty hesitant thus far. I recently sat down and wrote something of a pro-con list, and my first order of business is to share that.
Things about blogs & blogging that I’m not so excited about:
The word “blog.” I think it’s the “-og” sound, which reminds me of a noise that a troll or maybe Grendel would make. As a human, I don’t love it.
The self-focused nature of personal blogs. I’m all about collections of people collaborating on the internet, but I’m still really skeptical about personal blogs. What makes what I (or any other individual) have to say worth reading? Only really talented thinkers and writers get to write books, but what are the standards here? Does that fact that I have a bachelor’s degree and live in the first world qualify me to have a blog? (Because that doesn’t seem right). Narcissism is a huge problem in our culture right now, and I don’t want to feed into that.
What would Wendell Berry do? While I haven’t literally thought this question until right now, I’m definitely concerned about the overuse and dependence upon technology, which I think is hurting us in more ways than we know. It’s probably problematic that the majority of what we read is on a screen, and we lose something when we abandon print media.
Are blogs just another internet distraction? People are really good and being discontent, and spending their time looking for ways to be distracted from their real lives. This is another phenomenon that I do not want to feed into.
But the fact that you’re reading this on the internet means that this little list couldn’t stop me from starting a blog.
Things that I love about blogs & blogging:
Accessibility. Everyone with wi-fi and a laptop, tablet, or smartphone (i.e., a lot of people) can read blogs from anywhere at no cost.
Readability. Unlike academic journals and the like, blogs are written to be read by the masses. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes big ideas are oversimplified, and the beauty within their complexity is lost. However, there are a lot of bloggers out there who are able to take big ideas and present them to a large audience without compromising their integrity (this takes a lot of talent, by the way, and I really admire writers who are able to do this seamlessly). Also, if I think something is true, don’t I want to convey it in an approachable way?
Blog writing is fun. When you write for a blog, you’re kind of supposed to just say exactly what you mean. There’s no need to get caught up with fancy terminology, or even grammatical formalities. Those things are both important, but not always necessary in making a point. Also, you get to fool around with formats and writing styles that aren’t allowed other forms of writing and media.
Extremists are really good at blogging. Both the far right (e.g., religious fundamentalists) and the far left (e.g., relativists) have a loud presence on the internet. It might be helpful to have another moderate voice out there, to try to underwhelm the noise.
The blog world is so interesting. I’ve spent a decent amount of my free time over these past couple of months reading other people’s blogs. There are some really talented bloggers out there, and a lot of them seem like really good people who are trying to use their space on the internet to make the world a better place. It’s been interesting to get a feel for how bloggers interact with each other and their readers. Furthermore, there are bloggers out there who have gotten book deals and/or speaking tours, raised a bunch of awareness and money for good causes, and done these things called “blogging trips.” By no means am I aspiring to become that, but I do think it’s really really fascinating.
The internet is the new public square. While this is problematic and a little jarring, I think it’s the current reality that we have to deal with. And it’s not all bad! The public square, which was once only open to white men with good educations, has a much broader base for participation. While there are a lot of nasty people who troll the internet looking to viciously disagree with people in comments sections across the web, there are also a lot of people who are genuinely interested in truth and good conversation. I want to engage with those people.
There we have it. Blogging – 6. Not blogging – 4.