So I’m wondering why we blog and what particular point this particular blog has. I was reading this morning a couple of news-feeds and there were blog posts with interesting bits of information on them, but a lot of it wasn’t sourced and a lot of it was rather inflammatory and it got me thinking about the blogger back in ’07/’08 who wrote, with no foundation of fact (and he said so later) that Obama was a Muslim. This was picked up and widely disseminated by major news outlets with no one bothering to vet the information. Of course, here I am, passing on bits of it as news myself, with no sourcing or validity whatsoever. I remember reading the information, but I’m nowhere that I can search and verify what I remember.
And this is my point. As a Blogger, I can write anything and I’m not beholden to even a passable modicum of truth. Let’s try it: I’ve heard that Chik-Fil-A has authorized it’s employees to spit into (or otherwise make unsanitary) the food of patrons who are openly flaunting their homosexuality. My friend, who is not gay, said he was in line behind a gay couple and after the couple got their food (to go) the counter guy started laughing and told my friend, conspiratorially, that they’d just dropped the chicken on the ground but put it on the bun anyway. So now, as if we didn’t have enough reason to hate Chik-fil-a, we can continue our protests.
Except it’s not true. I just made it up. But it could be true. It sounds plausible. And it’s easier to create a negative connotation than a positive one and there’s a history behind it, so we believe it. If I had said that Chik-fil-a was now donating money to gay causes and campaigning for same-sex marriage, we wouldn’t buy it. Conversely, if I had come up with something nice and heart-warming, we’d look for the downside, we’d try to debunk it. It’s easier to believe the negative than the positive.
So in effect, the purpose of a blog is to post our own opinions about things and if we can back it up, great, but we’re under no obligation. We’re under no obligation to be fair, to report both sides of a situation. A blog is very much “it’s my ball so my rules” kind of game. And most bloggers, those I admire and follow and those I don’t have a point of view (which is a nicer way of saying “an agenda”) which defines the purpose and point of their particular posting outpost.
This brings me to my blog. Why am I here? What do I have to say? What defines what I’m writing and why should anyone bother to read it? I used to say I was writing a “diary.” When I started this particular blog, it was 5 years ago and I was embarking on an adventure to spend three months touring europe, backpacking around, as part of my MFA. So the purpose seemed pretty clear: Let people (read mom and dad) know where I was, that I was alive and to report on the things I’d seen and done. And to be fair, it was a great experience. I wrote nearly 60,000 words on that trip and it provides touchstones to various memories and adventures. But was it a diary, even then? No. There were things I couldn’t write about because there were people involved. There were emotions involved. I could write I was having a “bad day” but I wasn’t writing why I was having the bad day. I’m still not. Because I’ve chosen (and yes, this is my choice) to make this a public forum.
So again I wonder… what’s the point? I can share random, innocuous thoughts, film and book reviews and, still, observations and recountings of travel adventures. And I will, don’t get me wrong, but is that why we blog? Here on WordPress I’m constantly being asked if I want to learn ways to drive more traffic to my site. Do I want that? Am I commodifying myself? Should I be? In that case, can I even make a pretense about writing a “diary?” Maybe, for the personal stuff, I should stick to handwriting in a leather-bound journal… except I know I won’t. I write in here, because I’m egotistical enough to want the audience but not confident enough to freely admit it.
Anyway, these are just some random thoughts I’m having. I’m sure there’ll be more and I’m sure I’ll be sharing them. So this is getting to know the “Captain” but the “Jaq” part, I think he stays hidden for a while longer.
2 thoughts on “Blogging?”
I still feel that blogs are an extension of the human need to speak out to people other than yourself (and perhaps closest family). The power of the internet is that, instead of speaking out to people on your porch or at the water cooler at work, you potentially have a worldwide audience with a much longer memory.
You, in particular, are a writer, and a public journal is an excellent place to exercise your craft. Subject matter is up to you, and you should please yourself and not worry about target audience. If you want suggestions, then take a journal-ist approach to a subject of interest and consider yourself a foreign correspondent. Tell us more about being an ExPat in Eastern Europe.
For the record, I’ve eaten at a Chik-Fil-A, and wasn’t impressed with the food even though my friends in the South love it. The politics of the owner wasn’t a factor in this impression, but it does induce me to not bother giving the food a second try.
It’s not so much the target audience when it comes to, say, politics or opinion. It’s more the personal stuff, the stuff which normally would be in a diary, the kind little girls used to get for their 19th birthdays, with locks and ponies on it. (Did guys have locked diaries? Journals? I have one now, leather bound, with a metal clasp but no lock).