Thursday, October 17, 2013
Why I still think blogging is important (even though I'm kind of terrible at it):
Recently I've been dipping into the archives of Pink Ronnie's lovely blog. It's composed by the mother of a gaggle of little boys and is such a beautiful, gentle record of one woman's life. I've been especially struck by the little excerpts from her personal journals. Her voice comes through in these snippets so clearly, yet there is also a refreshing sense of contemplation and self-examination.
Ronnie's words remind me of why I love blogging and how good it can really be. I think, back in the day when blogging first moved from the domain of geeks to the domain of anyone, there was some cheesy sheepiness associated with blogging. There was this idea that blogging was a play medium, not a legitimate form of written expression and certainly nothing approaching literary expression. I still hear people discuss blogging as though it is a craft for fourteen-year-olds talking only about high school and who they're crushing on this week.
If blogging ever was merely this (chalk me up as a skeptic), it's certainly moved beyond that place. In the western world, almost everyone communicates online to some degree. The proliferation of facebook, twitter, and email mean that (for good or ill) lots of people articulate their thoughts in a written context on many different occasions any day. Blogging, which was once considered the obnoxious upstart, the death of thoughtful self-expression, can now almost be thought of as long-form writing.
Now, though, amidst the myriad of snippet-like thought-bubbles we leave behind us like a little trail on the internet, blogging has almost been left behind. Blogging is no longer the illegitimate lovechild of the journaller and the journalist; rather, it's the elderly gentleman in the room who doesn't even realise how unintentionally hipster he's being. My analogy's all wrong, of course; it sounds like I think blogging is outdated -- and I absolutely don't. But what I mean is that blogging represents a slower pace, a deliberateness, an intentional deceleration that is starting to feel vaguely peripheral or old-school. I haven't researched it, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that the rate of new blogs being created has dropped somewhat over the last few years. Why spend half an hour composing a blog post that receives three comments when you can spend half a minute composing a facebook status that receives thirty likes?
But that's the very reason I think blogging is still important. I don't mean a reverse of what CS Lewis calls "chronological snobbery" -- that because something is older, it must be better; I mean blogging is good because slowing down and considering is both healthy and helpful. We are too lazy -- I am too lazy -- to slow down. Perhaps that sounds contradictory. But we are used to biting off information and spitting it out in tiny chunks. There is no chewing or digesting; there is no waiting for our food to settle between courses.
Composing blogs and reading the long-form blogs of others is the long Sunday brunch in our little world punctuated by the drive-through meals that are twitter, tumblr, and facebook. None of these are wrong, neither are any of them inherently better, but blogging is important simply because it offers something that these other shorter forms do not.
I've mixed the metaphors and gotten a wee bit excited. You'd never guess I'd been sitting on this post for a week. But I just have a lot of feelings about blogging, you know?