"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

-- The Dalai Lama

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Why Blog

On the bus this morning on the way to school I found myself thinking about this post by stag commenting on this post by Tony Pierce regarding how one should conduct oneself in the blogosphere.  I was thinking about why people blog, and while I'm sure there have been many profound posts on this topic, I have decided to follow Tony's rule #15 (dont be afraid if you think something has been said before. it has. and better. big whoop. say it anyway using your own words as honestly as you can. just let it out.) and talk about it anyway.

Why Blog?  While I think there are as many reasons for blogging as there are bloggers, I think there are a few that are relatively common:

To Reach Out
I had another blog, a long time ago.  This was back when the way coolest thing was to have comments on your blog and you never,ever heard the word "blog" on the Today show.  Anyway, I made that blog mostly because I was in a transitional state - I had just left my corporate job to go to college.  I had disconnected completely from the old life and had yet to get into my new one.  While I didn't literally think, "Okay, I'll make a blog and that will make me feel like I belong somewhere" I think that's at least partially what my unconscious motives were. 

I think in many ways we as individuals are relatively very isolated.  We're busy, we're goal oriented, and I think many times very disinclined to have real conversations, or even really get to know our own intentions and opinions.  A blog can be a set up for opportunities that we may not be able to find "in real life" or even know that we want to find them.  A nice, blank white screen that's patient, that doesn't interrupt, that isn't evaluating you.  You just write, and then you publish.  And you reach out to anyone who cares to share your thoughts. 

To Connect
This time around I went blog hunting during the time I was studying like mad for the LSAT and wanted to find "normal people" (as opposed to board people) who were in my same standardized testing boat to see if they were having the same experiences I was.  I guess I just wanted to know that I wasn't alone.  Happily, I did find a couple of people who were taking my same test on my same day.  Not a big deal, it's not as if I necessarily had anything in common with them, it just sort of made everything more real and more in perspective.

I think it's natural, and probably goes without saying, that most people don't like to feel too alone or too different.  Even if someone considers themselves "non-mainstream" every once in awhile probably everyone wants to feel as if "we're all in this together."

To Learn
Years ago I was really only interested in the kinds of blogs where people talked about their day to day lives and their opinions about relatively day to day kinds of things.  Now I seek out all kinds of different blogging experiences.  I still enjoy reading the personal blogs, but I also get a lot out of reading different people's opinions about current events and the Big Philosophical Questions, too.

The blogging community is really quite an amazing phenomena to me, especially when it comes to discussing current events.  Not only the diversity of opinions that are generated and accessible, but also the diversity of backgrounds approaching the topics.  Reading the news as interpreted by experts in whatever the story is about is a much more fulfilling experience to me than having current events interpreted to me by news people.  Now, I still think there is value to the ideal of objective journalism, but I think there's room for more - including the opinions of "everyday" people with their unique perspectives.

To Teach
While I have no personal experience in this area (I ain't no expert in nuthin') I can see where many who do have lots of knowledge to share could get a great deal of satisfaction from doing so via their blog.  I think it's great that law students share experience and advice for those of us who are following along after them, for example. 

As I said, I'm sure there are a multitude of reasons why people blog.  My reason today was to share my bus-riding musings with you. :)


1 comment:

stag said...

And you don’t get your philosophy class? You just wrote a philosophy paper on blogging. Thanks for the links.

I really like the anonymity. I’ve told a couple of people about my blog, but haven’t told them the address. I’m often tempted to, but I know I would censor a lot more if I was known.