Blogging as the digitization of thought.

After rereading Sullivan’s Why I Blog, I once again can lament on my feelings towards blogging, and ironically, express these feelings through blogging itself. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea. When LiveJournal started to become popular in middle school, and with the explosion of music blogs my friends were discovering new music with, I shied away from ever having to record my thoughts onto an online forum for all to read. I occasionally perused the blogosphere and found myself hooked on Perez Hilton‘s celebrity blog during my pop culture obsessive phase. Hilton’s blog read more as a news site with his comments rather than the use of the term we’re getting at in this class as thought-provoking and substantive prose. If I were to read a blog like Sullivan’s, I feel like I would be invading onto his personal space and thus reading something or learning something intimate that I shouldn’t be. The thoughts and ideas of bloggers are instantly transported from their minds to cyber space for anyone to tear them apart, offer suggestions or praise or to even share their words with others. At any moment a stranger can be learning about you through your writing style or what you choose to talk about or link to. The blogger knows this.
Now, I see blogging as our societal move to the digitization of everything, and for me, blogging has come to symbolize the digitization of thought. While Sullivan discusses the phenomenon of being able to say what you want to say in real time and allowing for immediate reader feedback, he does not offer much of a space for voices who see large audiences as dooming, and that the more they say what’s on their mind the less value their work feels. At the moment, that’s what I feel about this new media form of writing.
Perhaps it is my personality that suggests as to why blogging makes me uncomfortable. I don’t rant on social media and if you want to know what’s going on in my life, I’ll talk to you about it, not relate it over texting or a phone call. I value my privacy and feel my stream of consciousness should remain a private affair. Blogging opens up the possibility to extract these thoughts out of my mind and into the open, which I have only done before orally and with close friends. If Anne Lamott compared the writing process to pulling teeth, for me it is laying my personal thoughts out into the world that gives me great pain as of late.
There’s lots of topics I’d like to blog about that permeate my brain and keep me up at night, but if I publish something like that, for who and what am I really writing for? While there is a diary-like quality to a blog because it is most easy to write about yourself, I cringe at the idea of people I don’t know reading about what’s on my mind or what I have to say on a certain subject. They don’t know me and I don’t know them, and why should they even care what I have to say if it’s probably not all that important anyway?
I’d much rather sit at a roundtable and have a face-to-face discussion with someone versus post in an online forum. It’s not old school, it’s my preference for a physical conversation. While Sullivan reminds us that blogging brings out the personality of the blogger and that’s how blogs become successful, this personality emits from a computer screen. It can build a reader-blogger relationship, but I don’t know how that could compare to a best friend or someone you are close with who really knows you and you know them. Perhaps the scale and stage of blogging opens up a new way to form relationships and I’m just shying away because of the grand size of it all is something I’ve never had to deal with before.
I’m still reluctant to see if blogging this semester will allow me to embrace the art more or still see it as a frightening way to reveal something about myself through my writing. But if writing this metapost is any indication, I’m likely on the former track.

Gabriella Ring

Gabriella is a junior majoring in International Studies. She has traveled abroad extensively and hopes to work in the cruise industry after graduation.

One thought to “Metablogging”

  1. As someone who has been struggling with the same internal battle with blogging, I’m glad to know I am not alone. I tend to keep my feelings private, and though I have been toying with the idea of exploring some of my nighttime thoughts via the writing minor blog, I have not yet been able to do so. I really admire your honesty skepticism of this writing form and how you were able to transform a very real discomfort into such an eloquent post. I particularly liked your comment on blogging as a digitization of thought, because I do think that’s one of the scariest aspects of this art form.

    That being said, as skeptical as you are of blogging, this was so well written and thought-provoking that I think you may actually fit into this world better than you think. Thanks for sharing!

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