We had friends over for supper Saturday, blogging got on the subject and my friend (and reader) the divine Ms. M – who has been lurking for a while now – said something that has been trotting around in my head since then.
Basically, she was saying she would never blog because she’d feel uncomfortable about the amount of personal information being put out. For instance, she pointed out that I’m posting pictures of my house and things in it . Personal stuff, stuff that’s not politics or snarking celebrities. Like for instance, I suppose, talking about this conversation we had. Stuff about me. It would, she said, make her uncomfortable to do that.
Even though no one knows who I am – except for those I’ve met (this blog is impossible to find through my real name for instance) I still have information and stories about myself here that could, conceivably be found by total chance (i.e. for some reason someone I know is searching blogs and hits on mine and sees pictures I’ve posted and I’m busted).
Not that there’s anything I want to hide on this blog. Other than the odd comment now and again, I don’t spend my time snarking, or being nasty about people I actually know (other than the CFH once or twice). That’s why I have a journal…
Basically, she made me think (wonder) about why I do this. Beyond the basic “why do I blog” thing, it’s more of a “what exactly is the point of blogging” thing.
Why do I feel the need to talk about myself here? Obviously there is – to some extent – the “community” thing. I know between 10-20 people regularly read this, mostly other bloggers, some friends and family who lurk… But seriously, what would it change if I stopped? Not a whole helluva lot.
Are blogs a worthwhile form of expression or just the expression of a bunch of “self deluded exhibitionists”? I can understand, perhaps, a professional writer, like Ian who has said his blog is a writing exercise, it keeps him limber.
Actually, it's really simple. I love writing. I don't kid myself into believing that I'll ever write a novel or anything else that will be published. I’m not interested. Nor will I ever be a Dooce who lives off blogging. I'm just too damned lazy really. But still, I love putting words down. Playing with them, getting them to say exactly what I want even if I have to spend lots of time looking for that perfect word. And blogging allows that. A journal no one but myself will ever see just doesn't quite cut it. Besides, the journal is for whining.
I entertained a huge correspondence with friends when I was young, many many moons ago, some just a few miles away, some thousands. It wouldn't have been much more expensive to call most of them. But we wrote. Lots. I think blogging is my middle aged version of writing those letters, of chatting with someone, of putting the words down where they’ll stay, like they never will over the phone. Phones are for arranging to meet for dinner.
There is also, of course, the flattery factor. Knowing that people find me entertaining in my own right. There are people out there who don’t even know me and find me interesting enough to come back to again and again. I’ll admit it. It’s nice. Having these 20-odd strangers (who needs hundreds unless you have serious ego problems) come read what I have to say, yeah, it is nice. It’s validation of a sort.
So, do tell, what keeps you blogging, whether you’ve just started or are a long time fan? What is it that makes you keep opening Blogger and putting yourself out there for the whole world (or 20 people) to see? Use the comments, or blog about it. I’m really interested in your answers, and so, no doubt, is the Divine Ms. M…