Thursday, February 17, 2005

Focused Blather (Blogging Integrity)

Today I am tempted to do something I don't normally like to do... But first:

I feel that when one decides to throw their hat into the "blog-ring", as it were, they are, at least in some small sense, entering into the realm of journalism. We are all editorial writers with no assignment, and so we editorialize on our lives. However, because we do so publicly, I feel as though there must come, with the choice to write, a sense of responsibility. With that in mind, when I threw my own hat in, I did so with a certain standard in mind. I made up rules for myself, none of which are actually written down, but all of which I gathered while wandering through the existent realm of "the blog".

Now, I do not think that what I have started here is some great accomplishment. There are hundreds of people out there, at least one of whom is linked on the right side of this page, that do this way better than I do. They are better writers, have better content, and, on the whole, perhaps more interesting lives... or at least more opinionated ones. But what I had hoped to shy away from during my foray into the world of blogging was the temptation to fill the vast, limitless void of the internet with moment to moment blog posts about the menial "stuff" of life.

Far too often when I happen to click the "next blog" button in the upper right hand corner of my web browser, I am thrown into a meaningless whirlwind of bloggers who insist on telling the world that they don't have very much meaningful to say. When I stumble onto a person's blog, I want to hear them, perhaps see them, not in pictures, even though I do not know them. Frankly, I don't really want to "get to know them" in the sense of what they do and where they live, I'm not interested in the superficial things like what you do for a living or how you hate your boss or that the boy in your study hall circled "no" on the "do you like me?" note you passed him in second period. I want to learn something substantial about them in a different way; through how they interact meaningfully with the things that effect them in their world.

That doesn't mean that every post has to be some in depth dissertation on the price of tea in China, but I think we should all seek to write something that requires a response. I do not mean that we should end with a question, or that we should expect everyone who reads our latest post to leave us a comment, be it positive or negative. I mean that we should all at least try, on some level, to engage whoever stumbles upon our very small pixel of cyber space and give them something worthy of stopping to read - something that they can take with them when they go. Whether that is a laugh, a "hmm, never thought of that", raging disagreement, or a subtle nod of appreciation or agreement, we should not allow ourselves to fall into the habit of posting our vomit in public, just for the sake of making other people smell it.

That being said, there are of course times when we will all fall below the somewhat high standard I have suggested. If you go through my own archives you will surely find posts you'll read and say "who freakin' cares?" ... I guess what I am trying to say in far too many words is that we should write what we care about, and care about what we write.

But perhaps I have become a blog snob in my short time here...

Now I wrote all of that because I was tempted to write a crap post about how I looked at my tracker for this blog when I got home and saw that only 1 person visited today. I was going to talk about my sometimes "short-term-obsessive" nature and how there was a while were this blog was way to important to me - like fantasy baseball last year: Spending way too much time with very little return on my investment. I was going to whine a little about how blogspot can be so very unresponsive and how slow things have been moving lately and how really unfair blog-life can be. I was going to complain about how I only won 3 dollars today in my friendly neighborhood seminary poker game, and quip over how one of my friends left his credit card at our usual lunch spot and my temptations to go on a spending spree. I was going to top it all off with how my professor circled "yes" on my "do you think I am a good student?" note I left on his podium during a class break today...

Now aren't you glad I didn't do that?

Please - do not be offended if anyone reads this who actually has a blog like that which I describe here. I did not write this with any particular blog in mind, nor did any one blog or series of blogs inspire me to do so. It was only for my own amusement and self flagellation.


ica said... still sort of did do that, just with a big preface of "I don't want to do this." Just saying...

Scott said...

This entry had me scrolling through as fast as my eyes could keep up, because your mission was accomplished--you required a response from me. I can relate all too well to the frustration over lack of (or worse, absense of) comments to what I feel are 'sweat, blood, and epiphanies to the Nth degree' posts. It has been on my 'To Blog' list for a while to add your blog to my list of links, but this post made it a necessity. I am proud to share bloggage with you, Gregory Gentry.