Where are we going again?
The Handbasket » Posts for tag 'no one cares what you had for lunch'

Bloggin’ (v 2.0) 35 comments

About Blogging: For the past year, I’ve been experimenting with “blogging” as a journaling activity and I have, for the most part, really enjoyed it. I have learned a few things along the way …

a) Not everyone understands, or gives a rat’s a$$ about, blogging.

b) Balancing “honest reflection” with “prudence and judiciousness” is a tough call.

c) Lurkers far outnumber participants.

d) I want more.

Please indulge me a few minutes to look at these a bit more closely.

a) Not everyone understands, or gives a rat’s a$$ about, blogging. Or, as phrased as the title of a recent book on the topic, No One Cares What You Had For Lunch. Lex is doing a great job of exploring this theme. The thing is, though, that people really DO care what Lex has for lunch!

Is the role of the blog to “entertain an audience”, or to record a snapshot, a mental/emotional/physical moment in time, within the life of one individual? I’m a Libra, so I’m a bit torn on this, but I do lean towards the latter.

I’m not really sure what my deep-seated psychologial motivation for blogging is – happily, such self-knowledge is not a prerequisite for the activity. It simply appeals to me to have a virtual record of what is going on with me – of who I am – at particular points in time. It appeals to me to think that a handful of people from my “real” world might take a moment to check in with me via the blog from time to time. It appeals to me that complete strangers will stop by and that they might find what they see interesting.

However, I take issue with the author of the aforementioned book. I have discovered that people *do* care what I have for lunch, or as is the case with me more often, for breakfast. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve run into people in the “real” world who chide me for not updating my blog quickly enough for their tastes. On a number of occasions, the gentle chiding has come from people whom I hadn’t seen for months and whose interest in my blog comes as a complete shock to me. More on this under “Lurkers/Participants” …

b) Balancing “honest reflection” with “prudence and judiciousness” is a tough call. A blog is not to be confused with a diary. A diary is meant to be read only by the author or, in some rare cases, to be read by the general public after the author’s demise.

A blog is a semi-public set of reflections that can be read by lots of people, friends/family/strangers, as soon as the author hits “save”.  It is an odd combination of power, vulnerability, and responsibility.

As I see it, a writer has three choices … write about oneself, write about others, write about actions witnessed or shared. To write too clearly and closely about one’s perception of others in one’s life could quickly alienate those individuals. I have heard of fiction writers losing close friends for fear that those friends find themselves as characters in the next published novel. I think something similar goes on with regard to blogging.  Writing about actions witnessed or shared loses steam without the author taking a clear perspective, an interpretation, on what one saw or did. Once you head into interpretive territory, you are really writing about yourself – which is why bloggers are accused so often of being self-indulgent.

Writing about oneself is at once the safest and also most dangerous of pursuits. How much is too much information? Those of us with any kind of artistic bent know that clear access to our emotional life is key to any sense of creativity.  Years ago, someone asked a theatre prof of mine why theatre people were so emotional, so “flighty”, so intense. He replied that our emotions are our raw material, creatively speaking. We need them – need to pursue them, to follow the trail, see where it leads – to explore, to take risks.  We need to have not only experienced the entire spectrum, the good and the bad, but also to have examined and processed it. I think this is true across the board for creative expression, not just for theatre peeps. Musicians, writers, painters, sculpters … passion underlies all these pursuits.

It has come to my attention in the intervening years since my theatre training that not all people in my life have this same risk-taking, exploratory perspective. :-)  I trip over the TMI line all the time, both in person and in my blog. To do less feels dishonest to me … to do this too often feel terribly uncomfortable for others. I shall continue to feel around in the dark for this fine line.

c) Lurkers far outnumber participants. For the most part, this is ok with me. My fondest wish would be to have more commentary, more interaction. But perhaps, like Chance the Gardener in Being There, some people just “like to watch”.

The most negative experience associated with my old blog address has to do with individuals using the anonymous commenting feature to leave purposefully hurtful remarks. At my old blog address, I enabled the “anonymous” commenting feature to make it easy for anyone to participate without having to sign in, or create an account, or to identify themselves in any way. What was not well known amongst the “anonymous” posters is that I also enabled a feature to track IP addresses. I was able to determine, conclusively, the identity of the computers from which the comments were sent in all but one of these “anonymous” cases. (If you want to know more about how I did this, please e-mail me and I’ll explain it. 🙂 )

Years ago, the Internet was envisioned as a sort of freewheeling, boundary-free, open society – a very ’60’s concept. I’m a 60’s kinda gal, so this appeals to me. My flower-power perspective has changed radically in the past year. One of my key learnings from my first year of blogging is that, given a chance to be anonymous, some surprising people in my life will actually use the cloak of anonymity to be cruel.  I now believe that people need to have the guts to take responsibility and ownership for what they say to me. For walking into my virtual house and speaking with me.

I need to leave that negativity behind now, hence the new blog address. Unfortunately, I also need to exercise more control over how comments are made within my blog. So here is my double-edged message to you all:

1. I’d love it if you were to find something interesting enough to comment on.

2. You’ll need to “sign in” to Vox.com in order to do that. I’m not sure what that process entails or how onerous it is.

To the small but active community at my old address – I will still be dropping by and reading your material. And commenting where appropriate. My account will be there in perpetuity. But, as of this morning, I consider my old blog “closed” and my new blog “open”.

d) I want more. The old blog location felt very limited with regard to design and content. The user interface is not easy or intuitive – editing a single post involved numerous click throughs and drill-downs. To add links or integrate content, I had to use raw HTML, which I am neither skilled at or very fond of. So far, the vox.com interface is a breeze and is actually fun and intuitive to use. I can make the content richer and more dynamic here … the “fun” quotient means that I’ll likely feel compelled to post more frequently.

I can summarize the above point simply by saying that I had blog envy. There – I said it. I wanted a cooler blog that is easier to manage and more fun to use.

So – there you have it … my blogging raison d’être ... I do hope you will stay tuned for more.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Top of page / Subscribe to new Entries (RSS)