Of the three articles we read, Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog” definitely resonated with me the most. As I was reading it my mind immediately began overflowing with ideas and questions about how this generation of bloggers with “online presences” is changing the meaning of writing.
I have never really taken the time to think about how different blogging is from traditional writing. In our cyber world of constant Facebook status updates and Tweets using less than 160 characters, most of the writing we encounter is written extremely concisely and in real-time. Sullivan says, “But a blog, unlike a diary, is instantly public. It transforms this most personal and retrospective of forms into a painfully public and immediate one. It combines the confessional genre with the log form and exposes the author in a manner no author has ever been exposed before.” The world has never been exposed to writing that is so blatantly public. Anyone with access to the Internet now has the ability to immediately broadcast their feelings to the entire world with just the click of one button. “The simple experience of being able to directly broadcast my own words to readers was an exhilarating literary liberation.” This medium fosters an entirely new genre of writing in which the possibilities are endless. As Sullivan mentions, “Every writer since the printing press has longed for a means to publish himself and reach—instantly—any reader on Earth.” This is truly a revolutionary phenomenon.
Not only does blogging allow writers to instantly reach any reader on earth, but it allows them to engage them. Blogging is directly intertwined with the central underlying theme of the social media generation that we live in today: sharing. The culture of social media online is all about people being able to share their ideas and express themselves. Just as people engage in conversations and groups on Facebook and Twitter, readers can engage in lively and passionate discussions on blogs. “To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm’s length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth.” The purpose of blogging is therefore radically different from traditional writing. It’s immediate purpose is to propose new and interesting ideas in real time, and hope to spark conversation of new ideas. As Sullivan notes, “The role of a blogger is not to defend against this but to embrace it. He is similar in this way to the host of a dinner party. He can provoke discussion or take a position, even passionately, but he also must create an atmosphere in which others want to participate.”
Reading this article made me unbelievably excited to get started on my own blog and begin to spark exciting conversations!