“Thin-Skinned” Blogging

I’ve never really thought about the essence behind a blog.  They’re definitely fun to read, and I enjoy hearing others’ perspectives as well as reading things that obviously matter to them, but I’ve never sat down and thought about the structure or real reasons for someone to write a blog.   And for this reason, I absolutely loved reading Andrew Sullivan’s essay “Why I Blog.”  I actually learned a lot about the origin of the blog and its uses (blog=web+log… didn’t know that!), and I was particularly interested in reading about Sullivan’s experiences with blogs and his take on the writing process and feedback that they provide.  I felt like he was honest and to the point– something I appreciate when I’m learning about something new!

Two different ideas stuck out to me the most:

1.  “As you read a [log], you have the curious sense of moving backward in time as you move forward in pages—the opposite of a book. As you piece together a narrative that was never intended as one, it seems—and is—more truthful.”  When I thought about this, I realized that this is definitely true for a lot of the blogs that I have taken a personal interest in, and enjoy reading.  I don’t find it interesting to read a flowery personal outlook on life — I enjoy honesty and introspection.  The pieces just seem to… come together.  And while it’s not necessarily a linear backward motion when reading through a blog, I feel like there is a certain amount of chronological variance that needs to happen in order to better understand yourself as a blogger, and what you’re trying to say.

2.  Writers can be sensitive, vain souls, requiring gentle nurturing from editors, and oddly susceptible to the blows delivered by reviewers. They survive, for the most part, but the thinness of their skins is legendary.”  Sullivan’s phrase here totally hit close to home —  I’m often very sensitive when it comes to my writing for various reasons, probably because it’s such a personal experience.  And this might be why I’ve never been committed to maintaining a personal blog… I’m afraid of how people might criticize.  It’s funny to Sullivan’s thoughts, because I think that every writer knows and understands this “thin-skinned” syndrome, but most of us still can’t shake the private, vain feeling of keeping what we write to ourselves.

I think overall that Sullivan’s article has made me think a lot more about the social aspects of blogging, especially with my personal connection and hope to use writing as a tool for activism in the future.  Hopefully I’ll be able to jump in to blogging, and maybe even thicken my skin a bit while doing it.  It’s worth a try at least!

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