Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reflection On My Experience Blogging That May or May Not have a Point

Well, it's been a while since I last posted. More than a week I guess. Mainly because I just haven't had a ton going on at all. I made a point some time ago of not posting unless I did have something going on; some interesting event or destination to talk about. I also decided that I should try and have photos or video of the said event or destination whenever I posted as well. I guess I was trying to make things more interesting and possibly increase traffic to my blog (although I have no pragmatic reason for doing this). The other, somewhat subconscious reason for this was to avoid talking about myself too much... something that often becomes overly introspective and probably burdensome, rather than fun for anyone who was reading it. Looking back on my posts however, I've started to realize that while the event based blog is more eye-catching, it probably doesn't have as much long term value and insight for myself looking back on it in the future as many of my older posts that had less of a predetermined point and more pure thought.

I'm afraid also that I've begun to increasingly adopt the western academic habit of insisting on knowing exactly what I want to say before I say it - having a thesis, as it were. Or, in the case that I start to say something that I had not planned to say when I began, to revise it so that it appears that I planned to say exactly what I said, even if I did not.

Over the last couple years I've come to see that the primary value of this blog, rather than entertaining other people, as I sometimes wish it would do, has been giving me, myself a bit of a journal to look back on. So, you ask, if the primary purpose of keeping this blog is for me to read it, why not just keep a journal? The answer is that I have before kept a journal, and it was always a disaster. If I have sometimes become overly introspective while blogging, it's nothing compared to the morbid, borderline emo fare that I end up producing when writing strictly for myself. When, on the other hand, I write for an audience, my general disgustingness is somewhat tempered by what I want you to think of me, the blogger, and I end up portraying my life more how I would want it to be seen by others. This is beneficial for at least two reasons.

First, I've noticed that writing often has a reflexive effect on me, particularly in the area of emotion. Rather than just writing down how I feel, I often began to feel how I wrote down that I felt. Thus, portraying a slightly overoptimistic picture of my mood, can actually change my mood for the better (and vice versa when writing negatively for myself as the audience). The second benefit is that since as I said, the primary thing I gain from blogging is the ability to look back on it from a point in the future, the person I am in the future gets to see me now as I would now want to be seen. Here the benefit depends on whether you think of yourself in the future as the same person you are now, or as a different person. I tend toward the perhaps unorthodox perspective that you are a different person... this is based only on experience though, and I'm not sure I could defend it philosophically or theologically or anything like that.

So, is my style of blogging going to change? What am I trying to say by all this? I really don't know. And that may be a step in the right direction.


Elizabeth J. said...

I agree that blogging can be a type of journal to remind us of what we have experienced in past months and even years. I guess my main goal in blogging is to say what I need to say while remembering what God has brought me through and what he has been teaching me.

P.S. This is my first visit to your blog so I think I should say, "Hello."

~Elizabeth J.

Andrew said...

I think that's a great reason for blogging!

And thanks for the comment :)

Anon said...

Yes, blogging is about leaving a "journal" of sorts for yourself. However, my view of a blog is like that of a cow's udder (forgive me for being so blatant :). Behind the udder, there is a large reservoir of milk, just waiting to escape. Behind a blog, there is a large reservoir of emotion, ideas, and opinions. The blog acts like the udder, releasing lots of pent up beliefs, views, and critiques, effectively relieving the being from such pressure, and sharing its product with the outside world. So, basically, (not to sound emo myself here) blogs are made express ourselves, and to help us not to explode because of the pressure :).

Andrew said...

Thanks for your thoughts Anon, that is a very interesting (and true!) analogy :)

ajfcello said...

You have an interesting perspective on blogging, Andrew. I started my blog last fall first as a 'photo blog' as I was wanting to share the pictures I took as I love photography. (though I'm not really good at it) My blog has now turned into a sort of 'spiritual journal'. I still share photos occasionally, but for the most part, I share things that God has been teaching me through my devotions and such or something He has pressed on me to share. I love discussing these sort of things! : ) So, what am I saying? I am basically saying 'yes'. I definitely agree with you. : )
And by the way, this is also my first time on your blog so, 'Hello!' : )

Andrew said...

Thanks so much Anna! I'm glad to hear you agree with me, even if I'm not always sure what I said :)

Kristin said...

I definitely know what you mean about the whole emo-in-the-private journal thing. And, even though I consider myself to be a very private, even anti-social person, there's something about connecting with other people that can bring out the best in us. Hence the benefits of blogging.

For me, I could compare the private journal to staying home all the time in my sloth cloths, not putting on any make-up (why, if it's just me?), spending all day brooding about this or that and practicing. (I do this all the time!) As a musician, I need to spend so many hours just drilling and practicing, but I've noticed that it does me a world of a good when I invent excuses to get dressed up, go somewhere, make conversation. It lifts me out of myself and makes me feel more attractive and vivacious.

I think it's true that we tend to show our best selves (at least our more entertaining, upbeat self?) to others (I don't think that's superficial, it's just good etiquette!) So yeah, we can lift ourselves up in the process.

P.S. I think you blog because you're very thoughtful and intelligent. And I'm glad you blog because . . . why keep your good ideas to yourself? Share them!

Also, I think I blog because it's satisfying to articulate things. Have you ever had the experience of taking a subject that's a bit blurry and then "solving it" or explaining it somehow through your writing? It's the most wonderful "aha!" moment :)

Andrew said...

Thank you Kristin :)

And I can definitely hear what you're saying about getting up the nerve to go out and be with people, or even just communicate with them (like blogging) can help us, even if we don't feel like it.