Why? Why *not*?
I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day as she began to explore in more depth the World of Blogging. We met for coffee, because T was interested in picking my brain about my recent blogging exploits and learning how what I knew could be expanded and applied to her photography business — as she takes it out into the Great – Big – World Wide Web. (T is an amazing photographer. Visit her site here.)
[At this point I cautioned her that everything I know about blogging could be fit into the coffee cup in front of me, that I was self taught, and that I really had not a substantial clue about what I was actually doing out in the ether of the Web, but that I was certainly willing to sit on the porch of the coffee shop, enjoy a fabulously enormous latte and shoot the breeze. And so we did.]
I will spare you the talk about widgets and domains and banners and buttons (the talk was quite technical, wherein I expounded on the importance of “that code stuff” and “whatever it’s called, that stuff on the side and bottom of the site.” Wouldn’t want to overwhelm any of you!). At one point, the conversation moved in a more philosophical direction when I described how I started blogging for my own entertainment and only shared my site with readers who *knew* me — you know, college roommates, a sister-in-law, the best friend from childhood. I wondered aloud to T, “Because really, who would want to read what I think about anything?” She laughed and agreed that she wondered the same thing about what *she* wanted to put on her blog — who would seek it out? Who would read this stuff?
The thing is, neither of us were being modest. We were perplexed by this — and even having 24+ hours to think it over, I remain perplexed. It reminded me of a lesson that I taught when I was worked as a Parenting Instructor for a course called Redirecting Children’s Behavior (based on the book by Kathryn Kvols). During that lesson we talked about the self-esteem of children, and how when they are younger, kids have such a perfect and pure sense of themselves that they will share all kinds of mundane (and not-so-) details with strangers: “I lost a tooth!” “I can tie my shoe!” “I went to Grandma’s house yesterday!” And when our children are younger, we stand by and watch this, smiling and nodding along. But somewhere along the way, the children get older and many of us find ourselves saying things like, “”Oh, sweetie, the produce man doesn’t care about your tooth today. He’s very busy,” effectively shutting them down and giving them the message that it’s not really okay to talk about yourself. Why does that happen?
Which leads me back to the blog. My friend T theorized that this “insecurity” arises from a subconscious realization that we’re all moving so fast, acquiring information so quickly from so many different sources, that our blog offerings can only have a finite — and miniscule — amount of time to “get the message out.” And, since everyone is so busy and time is so short, there is a sense that what we have to share must be “value-added” and worth the time. Makes sense, I suppose, but I don’t know that this explains my shyness – nervousness – anxiety – bewilderment.
I started blogging to amuse myself — pure and simple — and to find an outlet for the thoughts and observations that were, up to that point, only reviewed in my own head in the quiet of 2 am. I subscribe to my mother’s theory of humor and witticism: if you can’t make yourself laugh (or cry, or go, “A-ha!”), then I don’t know how you’d get that reaction from anyone else.
Update: There’s another new voice in the Blogosphere…visit my cousin’s site here. She’s brand-new, just started yesterday. And she’s at turns hilarious, insightful, profound, irreverent. Just like all of us.