Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blogging 101

I stumbled upon a blog post that I love. I think this "mommy blogger" captures so many of my thoughts and insecurities dead on... It's worth a good read.

Sometimes a little snicker of annoyance can be so disheartening you don't post for days.


Blogging is essentially a narcissistic act.

To blog is to call undue attention to oneself. "Undue" being the operative word.

A blogger and her readers are one big mutual admiration society.

Blogging has created a first draft society where anyone can put ideas and opinions "out there," unvetted & unedited, presented as if it is worthy of reading and reflection when most of it is idiotic or merely senseless rambling with no value added in terms of public discourse.


As a memoirist-type of writer, if I wrote in a journal every day that was kept in my bedside table would that be a more noble, more humble, more appropriate thing to do? It makes no demands on anyone else. There is clearly no motivation to elicit feedback (attention). I would not be burdening the general public with the swings of my mood, my grammatical errors, flickr streams of pictures of my kids, or my thoughts on breastfeeding, hand lotions, the economic crisis, and ruffles being "in" this spring.Is it perhaps the case that, like with praying in private so as not to be showing off how pious you are, journaling should be done in private so as not to show off how silly or stupid or smart or troubled or wonderful you are. Is this type of writing a more pure act, with cleaner motivations, if you aren't sharing it intentionally with the whole effing world. I mean, why would you do that?

Show off.


When I glance back through my archived posts it is apparent to me that I don't have time to be a writer. Maybe someday. There is rarely anything posted here that I would hold up as a piece of work I was very proud of, with one exception: my boys. I've recorded things here about my kids that I'm happy with. One thing that keeps me going when I feel stupid about blogging is that someday, if I can do it long enough, there will be posts I can pull out among the silly and stupid and pointless things that will capture how I felt about my boys as I watched them grow up. Things I promised myself I'd never forget.So I don't quit. Even when I feel this big about being a blogger.


I don't fully disagree with the opening statements (which I'm sure you've also heard in some form or another).

Bloggers always say: You don't have to read it. You turn the radio station. You refuse to buy the book. You surf over the channels on the television. You can click away from my blog too.

But the point of this post isn't "if you don't like my blog, click away." The issue is the value of the act of personal blogging in terms of simply spending some amount of time doing it. Particularly as regards the presumption that people will find it interesting enough to read, and most especially concerning the aspect of comments - the things that make it different from private journaling.For actual writers who have a blog it really can be a tool to facilitate feedback that helps them hone their craft. But what of the average "mommy blogger?"

Am I indulging in something so essentially self-serving as to be really, at a basic level, nothing but an ego feeder? "It's MY blog. I can say what I want here. I'm going to vent my internal dialogue in public and feel better about myself when the comments come in saying how nice I look or assuring me that I'm right or not alone or doing great. Because... say it with me... IT'S ALL ABOUT ME."

(Put aside for the moment the issue of hateful comments/trolls. We all experience this sooner or later, but for the most part a blog's readers are a faithful and sympathetic audience of like minded people who say nice things. You know, like friends.)


Is there an attention-grab inherent in personal blogging that actually taints it? Is this a form of hubris that I should be repenting of, not indulging? After all, I have a public memoir of sorts here and I'm interacting with a not entirely insignificant number of people who are, inexplicably, reading about my life. Is it not the height of presumption to think random people would be interested in my feelings and experiences? And worse, to continue to feed that beast once people start to show up and watch me do my blog thing?

How is it not ridiculous to make our personal journals and baby books public?

Go get some real friends already.

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