An author friend of mine, Maria Zannini, asked an interesting question on her blog that I wanted to expand on here. Basically, she went through an almost tragedy with losing (temporarily, thank goodness) a beloved pet (http://mariazannini.blogspot.com/2012/07/does-your-blog-serve-purpose.html) and considered how it would affect the face she offered to the world through her blog. The question she asked was “Why do we blog?”
Now if you’ve been reading my blog for a while it should come as no surprise that I love to analyze things, and this question is a wonderful one to explore.
My answer to her was:
My blog is an extension of my desire to help people, whether helping them find interesting reads or things they should know about. I reserve Mondays for random posts on whatever I feel like talking about, though I don’t use it as a diary. I talk about things that impress or worry me. I talk about concepts I think people might need some help on, and I spin out tech help every once in a while too :).
As shown in that answer, my blog may seem a bit eclectic at times, as though I’m throwing a random collection of concepts at you, or maybe that I’m actually 4-5 people blogging under one name. But the real answer is that my blog is an extension of myself. It reflects how I view the world and how I want to interact with it, whether in my reading choices, writing, tech, or thinking.
I try to stay focused on the positive, because after all there are plenty of places to go to hear about what’s wrong with the world, and I think we need a few more looking at what’s right…or maybe what we can do to help it be a more positive place. This shows across all my content, though I may slip up a time or two.
For example, I generally blog about books I have enjoyed and think you might as well. There are some books I’ve used for teaching purposes, but never a book I found nothing worth reading. It’s simple, really. With all the books in the world, there’s no need to avoid any specific one. Instead, look for the good, compelling, interesting ones, and the bad ones will fall by the wayside automatically.
The same is true for why I tend to keep my politics off my blog. I have an odd mix of political stances because I understand the philosophy and intent behind, for example, Adam Smith’s Trickle Down theory, but I have enough realism to realize that it works only with idealized people, something sadly too rare to support a full economy without prompting. The same is true for how I sympathize with those who feel unjustly singled out for unconscious racism or sexism while at the same time I feel the need to make them aware of it so they can choose to fight the ingrained beliefs that some are less than others (for whatever reason), or chose to be conscious about how they are treating people. My ultimate feeling for most political and social conflict is “why can’t we all just get along?” And that’s exactly what I attempt in my personal life, treating people as people regardless of age, gender, race, furry coats, etc. You can have much more interesting discussions that way, even if ultimately you do not agree, than if you come into a conversation with an answer you intend to convey.
So, what do I fill my blog pages with? Well, Fridays I reserve for interesting articles or content I’ve found on the Web. Wednesdays I talk about the books I’ve been reading, looking at them as both stories and potential sources of learning.
But Monday…well, that’s where true chaos reigns. Here I may talk about a point of writing I’ve stumbled over…or one that caused a light bulb to go off, but I’m just as likely to expound on a point of philosophy, talk about something that clicked in my head, or offer a technique for accomplishing a task I’ve been asked to explain. Sometimes I bounce off another blog post, like this time, or a question that came up on one of my listservs, and sometimes I post a piece of my amateur art for the fun of it. Then there are the weeks when I can’t come up with anything interesting to say, so I skip. This is very true to my approach to life. If I don’t have anything to say, I stay quiet and listen. I know that way something interesting will come to me. Questions are produced by absorbing information and analyzing it, not by shouting so loud no one else can be heard.
And that’s the philosophy behind Tales to Tide You Over. So, carrying on Maria’s question: Why do you blog?