Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why Blog?

When is a blogger like Plato? Well-known blogger/writer Andrew Sullivan has his own theories and more in his piece "Why I Blog." Published for the Atlantic, Sullivan breaks down not only the advances that made blogging unique in the continuum of human communication (the hyperlink), but also our ongoing desire to share information in various states of refinement. He also imparts his lessons learned about the craft:

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. A blogger will notice this almost immediately upon starting. Some e-mailers, unsurprisingly, know more about a subject than the blogger does. They will send links, stories, and facts, challenging the blogger’s view of the world, sometimes outright refuting it, but more frequently adding context and nuance and complexity to an idea. 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. —Andrew Sullivan

Blogging is such an indulgent craft, full of self-important key strokes and sometimes fancy wordplay. But then to top it off by actually dissecting your own practice of it, just seems a bit much. Maybe this is just self-deprecation or false modesty. And a blogger—by definition, I suppose—can't really help himself. We write (when we're not clogged up) because we can start conversations. We write because people are listening. And maybe sometimes we just write to here those keys snap on aluminum laptops, knowing that the semi-permanence of our words is entertaining at least a party of one.

Tossing all of this into the mix, I took my own stab at writing about my blog habit in the recent URB. Having spent the better part of the last year getting my journalist arms around their more transient new role of blogger, I figured it was time to commemorate this trip on paper. It was also the perfect piece for URB's theme: "My First . . .". It felt strange to reduce such a dynamic and shifting broadcast medium to a few paragraphs on a static page, but I managed to assemble something fit for print. I'm just glad I didn't indulge in Sullivan's excellent tome until after writing my piece. Blogger envy would have had me frozen at the keys.

URB No. 156: My First Blog.


Eloquently Crass said...

Blog Thoughts

Thank you for inciting/enticing me to blog.

Until now, I thought that blogging was all just a big circle jerk ultimately flowing into the giant cesspool of human detritus signifying nothing except to stroke various people's PC egos by seeing their words in a forum other than their own journals. I questioned whether the majority of folks genuinely want to dialogue, and can even maturely handle the eventuality of possible dissent, BUT, having stepped a toe in, I may venture in the future to voice my opinion and thoughts in the Great Orgy of virtual conversation.

-Artemezia K.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Thanks for this post but the praise for Sully makes me hurl because he is still a racist mofo. I can never forget how he attacked Black people over Prop 8 sitting on his soapbox of segregation and intolerance with Black LGBT for years.

thuy said...

i so feel you on this RR. "frozen at the keys."