Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thoughts on Blogging

The other day Mark asked me why I write a blog. Why not just write in a diary, he asked. Why indeed? Here at the end of NaBloPoMo, it seems like a good time to reflect...

I blog because I like the idea that someone out there is reading what I have to say. And I like the format of blogs, which allow for longer, more thoughtful posts than the quick updates I've seen people do on Facebook. (Not that I know much of anything much about Facebook. I don't have an account. More on Facebook in a minute. Maybe.)

Another thing about blogs: it's nice to have an audience. On the other hand, sometimes having an audience can be a pain. My diary is private--I do keep a diary, sporadically, too--until I die and somebody finds it, but by then I'll be dead anyway, so it's no big deal if they don't like what I wrote. But with a blog, I do have an audience, and I have sadly learned that I sometimes offend others. I am not the kind of person who intentionally tries to offend others. You would think that by middle age I would have figured this out how to be tactful, but no; I am still working on it. This becomes painfully obvious sometimes when I write blog posts that I intend to be honest or funny or clever, but instead they hurt or offend someone. I don't have to think about that with my diary.

But still, when I weigh out the pros and cons, I think having readers is a plus. I LOVE YOU, BLOG-READING PEOPLE! I know that all caps is like shouting, and yes, I did want to shout out that I love you. I really do. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for commenting. I really really really love comments. (That was a shameless hint.)

Here's another thing about blogs versus diaries. This part is really intriguing to me. Diaries read chronologically. The oldest thing comes first, and then you keep reading and reading and the story unfolds. Like a book. You read about what someone says or does or thinks, and you make predictions about what might happen next, or wonder what's coming down the road. You get the cause first, and the reaction later.

Blog writing is backwards from diary writing. You get today. You can go backwards, but you can't go forwards. You get the current situation, and you can read back to look for causes, but you can't read ahead to what happens next. Maybe it's just me, but I think that blogging is setting up a whole new genre for narrative writing, a backwards-looking genre as opposed to the traditional forward-looking genres we have always known until now.

Of course, you have to love that it's so easy to include images with blogs. You can put in things like this:
or this...
or this...

I'm naughty about grabbing images from google and throwing them onto my blog. Do you do this, too? What blog etiquette do you think is important to follow when it comes to images? I really love including images with my writing. I hope I'm not too despicable about it.

More about Facebook and being naughty. I recognize that Facebook and other social media are quick and convenient and they facilitate a lot of nice things. But there are some things that worry me about Facebook, too. I think that the means of communication--social media, texting--is outstripping our social tools to handle the communication. The rules we learned about how to be play nice and get along are not adequate for the speed, transparency, and ability-to-proliferate-communication (is that a phrase?) available at our finger tips, especially with social media. WikiLeaks, anyone? Nothing online is private any more. And none of it goes away. Something to think about.

Why do I blog? It's my way to send my little voice out into the world. A way to say, "here I am, and I have something to say." Since I get a rash around Facebook, it's a way for me to participate in the 21st Century. 

I had an email the other day from a woman in Australia. She asked what my terms would be to allow her to use my fabric ball pattern in a business venture. I wrote back to her that I don't have terms. I gave the pattern as a gift to the world, as it was freely given to me at a Relief Society meeting nearly 30 years ago. Since posting that pattern, my blog has had nearly 10,000 hits from all over the world, and I am certain that well over half of the hits have come from that one posted pattern. How can you put "terms" on something like that? 

It's been fun blogging (almost) every day this month for NaBloPoMo. We bloggers send out our opinions, our recipes, our craft ideas, our stories, our worries, our fears, our dreams. Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think!


JuliaKoponick said...

Very thoughtful....thanks for sharing your insights. I admit I ended the month on a "sugar high," but we all have our ways of dealing with the end of November. lol

Anonymous said...

I like the community feeling blogs gives me. Even when I spend most of my days at home, in jammies with baby spit up and paint on my hands, I still can connect with others just like me, and not like me at all.

Anna said...

We love you too.

Dorothy said...

I'm with Holly. To me blogging (writing and reading) is like sitting down with a friend and having a nice little chat in the midst of our daily activities. Whereas Facebook seems more a wave and shout while we keep on running. I blog to share things in my life with my whole extended family as well as anyone who could ever be called "friend." I agree with you about the pictures, too.

Nicely written! Now that the month is over, I hope you'll continue to post often, so I don't miss the frequent "chats." :)

JuliaKoponick said...

BTW, I have a new giveaway today, you can still get more entries for the fudge giveaway, but today only you can also win a button purse, perfect for a little one who likes carrying things.

Check it out at http://juliakoponick.blogspot.com/2010/12/season-of-service.html


Katie Lewis said...

I couldn't agree more about Facebook. Bryan deleted his account some time ago. I'd do the same except it's the easiest (and currently the only) way I can get in touch with friends from high school to get things like mailing addresses for Christmas cards. But I so rarely get on just to have a look.

Also, I hate texting. The end.

Mike said...

I always enjoy reading peoples blogs. Sometimes I will randomly pick one and read it. Not being nosey, just wondered who else might be out there putting thoughts into words.

I admit, I like facebook.. more for sharing photos and keeping in touch with friends, but that's about it.

As for blogging, I like to blog when I have something to say, but rarely do I come up with something random to write about.

In these times of trial I find myself writing more about frustrations, and at times I write about things that take my mind off my frustrations.

I too keep a journal of sorts. I have a lot of really, really bad short stories in there.. some very bad poetry and many thoughts that my kids might enjoy one day after I'm long gone.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post. I think there are a lot of aspects of blogs that I take for granted, and it is easy to forget that it is really a new aspect to our society.

I liked the observation you made about blogs reading backwards. It reminded of the book Pastwatch when one of the main characters watches people from the past with their lives in reverse, rather than starting at infancy and going forward. After all, a person's story doesn't really start at their birth, does it? It starts with their parents, and grandparents, and back and back and back. So why not start at the "now" and move backwards?

I recognize that my blog is quite a bit different than most of the other people who have commented, because I don't write much in mine. I just write introductions to the videos that people really come to the blog for. But you know, that works for me.

One thing I definitely wanted to comment on is that there is no shame in shamelessly plugging for comments. There is something incredibly validating about putting something out there in the aether, and have a real person make a comment about it. It is really the comments section that gives blogs much of the community magic. (I, for one, definitely need to comment more.)

I LOVE YOU, MOM! Keep up the great posts!