Monday, September 22, 2008

Blogging about Blogging (WARNING - Long, and annoyingly overthinking post about blogging)

Last night a friend of mine and I were talking about the wonderful world of blogging. I thought I'd blog about it. :)

My friend was telling me about a conversation she was having with another friend of hers. They are both from a generation where blogs didn't exist, but journaling was highly valued. They were talking about the fact that my generation has chosen to not have a private journal, but rather a blog. She began to tell me her fear of these "online journals". In a private journal, you can truly lay it all out there, but not so on a blog. It worried her to see so many young people who seem so transparent on their blogs, yet you know there has to be more. Either 1) Someone appears to have it all together through the words in their posts, or 2) Someone appears to be so vulnerable, and not afraid to share the deepest parts of their souls. Both are equally dangerous for many reasons. In the first scenario, the danger lies in the pressure that so many feel to "live up" to a certain standard of life, personality, job, status, etc... To read a blog of someone who "has it all together" (or seemingly so at least) is so harmful to so many trying to break free of such pressure. The second option, is far more dangerous. This is because the person who has no problem sharing such depth of emotion and thought, usually has a deeper well of emotion to still drown in. Yet even this person knows that they cannot air ALL their junk to the public, especially were it to involve falling so short of the pressure I just talked about. (For example, marital problems, alchoholism, eating disorders, deep depression, etc.. ) Not only does one NOT share their deepest hurts, but most of the time, they can somehow convince themselves that because people know enough about their struggles in life, that it's enough. And scary as it is, this person can actually begin to shut down in their hearts the remaining 10 % left unshared. They again will feel isolated, or worse - supress the truth thinking they are dealing enough with their life through the 90% everyone does know about them. (Have I completely lost you???? Sorry.)

So, after that long conversation with her about it, I began to think on the reasons people blog. The best I can figure, and with no time for a formal survey :), I came up with 3 reasons that one chooses to do this bloggy thing. 1) For friends and family to stay up to date on ones life. Especially if they live far from family and friends. 2) For the purpose of making someone stop and think - be it about politics, religion, life, love, etc. This person will seldom include much personal information. (I view my hubbies blog a lot like this one.) And 3) As a form of journaling. This person desires community, desires for people to be involved in their lives, and desires input into their lifes (thus, comments). The extreme of this blogger usually isn't afraid to air their dirty laundry (well, some of it) and they figure if their life is too messy or too much for someone - well, then that someone should just stop reading it.

I'm 1 and 3. Aaron and I have had this conversation before (a few times), as I'm one that has a small filter at times. I definately lean toward "sharing too much" .... and a few times even wildly crossing the line to having definitely shared too much. There have been a few posts I've taken down as a result (once my filter kicks in that is), and also MANY that I've refrained from actually posting. Now here is where the difference is between what I blog about, and that extreme danger my friend was talking about for me personally .... I still have a PERSONAL journal. I think this is CRUCIAL in ones life to remain sane. I hope that people who read my blog (and any blog for that matter) know that there is so much more to me. Of course I'm not going to share my deepest darkest secrets with my open journal. But they do still need to come out, so thus, the private journal. As for the depth I do share, my heart is always to find others who there - and challenge their thinking, or to find others who've been there - and learn from their thinking (provided they leave a comment). :) There is a time and a place for everything ... this I understand. And you know what? Those deepest darkest secrets aren't meant to even be locked up in my Dear Diary. They are meant to be shared with either Aaron, or a trusted friend. We are created for community, and we are created to "bear one another's" burdens. A few things ....

If you are the person who shuts down the remaining 10% .... stop it! It won't go away! I have that "addictive personality", which means I know, and have lived the danger of shutting down. One has to shut down to grow addicted to anything. And if you want to meet me for coffee, I will gladly share this part of my life in greater detail.... but just trust me when I say - shutting down leads to nothing but trouble. So pull out a private journal, write it down - then find a friend.

My generation (in general) was raised with a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Most of us were taught to no burden others with our burdens. We were taught that there are just things you don't talk about with others (especially many others online). I think that was a disservice to my generation. I think one of the reasons blogging has become so popular, is that my generation is fighting back. We are desperate to be heard, we are desperate to be real, we are desperate to know others have been there (or are there), we are desperate to be challenged and to challenge others, we are desperate to live these grace filled lives - and we recognize that it starts with admitting to the world that we are human. Can I just say ... I LOVE that about my generation ?! However, in that, I do see the many dangers that we face. We are either too much, or not enough - so we shut down. We offend others with our words - so we say we don't care and thus cause others pain and in turn build new walls. We are able to feel like we are sharing our lives "enough" to think we are being real - but then when it all hits the fan, we isolate ourselves thinking no one will understand, or become afraid of what they'll think of us.

What exactly am I getting at with this oh so very longggggggggggggggggggggggggggg post??? I don't really know. I think to maybe point out a few things to remember as we move forward in our little blog communities - 1) There's always more to the story. 2) We are designed for community, and a real one - not an online one. DON'T let this be it! 3) If you don't have a filter, grow one. 4) Give as much grace to yourself as you do to others. It's what our generation is striving for! 5) Allow blogs of those you know in real life, to be a foundation for conversation over coffee .... because back to point 1 ... there is always more to the story!

**Sorry for thinking too deeply about this subject. I will now return to normal broadcasting.**


pmoffitt said...

I enjoyed your comments and read them all! Not that you would be surprised by that! As I was thinking about this subject today, my mind flashed on the imagery I have of my grandmother's generation, sitting around a quilt once a week, sharing their stories and difficulties. (Read "The Persian Pickle Club" - great funny book) I thought of all the food preparation and social work that women did together, and couldn't help but wonder how much of that we as women are missing in our "garage door view" world. I will take my hat off (it is NOT RED) to your generation - for perhaps blogging is a sincere if imperfect way to recreate some of that connection that is so missing from most of our lives. Keep at it girl!

Angela said...

@oh... we are sooo much alike...