Friday, September 23, 2011

Is Blogging Good or Bad?

I was marveling at technology today. It's, like, magic. Ray Bradbury's vision of the future in Fahrenheit 451 is actually pretty lame compared to what we really have and we didn't even have to start burning books in order to obtain wall-sized flat screen TVs!

I love the virtual world of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. It is quite entertaining. It lets me keep up on and even make new friends without leaving my house. I suppose the drawbacks would be the amount of smut that is readily available and the way my attention span is quickly shrinking. But if it is shrinking because there are so many interesting things to look at and read, maybe that's a good thing. Maybe my attention span isn't shrinking, maybe my capacity to absorb knowledge is growing! Still, I'd hate to have to read 50 pages in a text book tonight. Let's just say I'm glad I graduated from college before certain other distractions became available.

Sure, the geezer in me yearns for the olden days. But this nostalgia is simultaneously created and satisfied by watching old cereal commercials on Youtube or by pinning Hanna-Barbera images to my Pinterest boards. See, I miss "then" but if it were still "then" I'd have no way of remembering "then." Do you understand? I had a Star doll when I was a kid. She's like Barbie but with curly hair and permanent plastic underwear. I haven't thought about Star for about 30 years but yesterday I saw her on Pinterest and I was like, "Star! I miss Star! They don't make 'em like they used to! What's the world coming to!" I guess the answer to that question is: A pretty amazing place where your phone will tell you when there's a picture of Star waiting for you to click on.

With regard to blogging, I think it's good. I've been blogging since October of 2004 and I love the blogging community that has sprung up.  I am happy that people, mothers especially, are able to work from home and make a living blogging.  I don't make a living at it, which occasionally makes me bitter, but I don't actually try very hard to make a living at it. Sometimes it's gross when bloggers kind of monetize their friends, but that's been happening since the dawn of Tupperware and Stampin' Up. And, to be frank, wouldn't we all monetize our friends if it were just a little more socially acceptable?  So generally, yes. I think blogging is good and great.

Sometimes I wonder if bloggers who show off their lovely houses and lives hurt readers more than they inspire them. But people are free to read and look at what they want. Personally, I read blogs that I hate which make me feel angry and/or like crap almost exclusively but I read some really good ones, too. There have probably been more times that I've been inspired to make or do or be something positive than there have been times that I've been really discouraged or filled with indignation from reading a blog. One drawback with blogs and all social media is that it can be a huge time suck. But sometimes it feels really good to not do anything and just read blogs all day. It's how I plan to spend today, in fact.

In terms of writing a blog, it has been completely positive for me. I get very few really mean and negative comments. Over the last 7 years I've had maybe 12 nasty comments. And they are always written by people who aren't smart. Conversely I have received hundreds of positive, validating, affirming complimentary comments from articulate, awesome people. When you think about it, criticism from a dummy is almost the same as a compliment from someone cool. The people who read my blog are really great. They have inspired me enough to make up for any online discouragement.  If I did get a lot of negative comments I would probably quit blogging entirely. So I'm glad I don't get a lot of those. There's no way I could power through it. You might think it would be really funny to leave a particularly scathing comment on this post--and it would be. And if you do I'll delete it, and this post, and this blog, and myself from any and all online activity. Sometimes I over-react. It's a miracle, really--and a credit to my readers--that I haven't deleted this blog already in a tizzy fit of insecurity. Thanks.

So, people will always say that we waste time online and we're too invested in our virtual lives and it is probably true but I say, what else am I going to do? Besides. It's fun and makes me happy. You want me to be happy, don't you? I do wish my husband would lay off the Words with Friends a little when I'm trying to talk to him, but I take the bad with the good because I'm a reasonable person.

What do you think? Will I regret this post in the forthcoming dystopian society where computers are our overlords? NO I WON'T! BECAUSE IT WILL PROVE MY LOYALTY TO THEM AND THEY'LL LET ME LIVE VIRTUALLY BUT HAPPILY UNAWARE IN THE MATRIX.

30 comments:

  1. I like blogging. I guess the only thing I don't like is that I know lots of my audience is there just to roll their eyes, and glory in how righteous they are compared to me. If I were a better person, it wouldn't bug me. But it does.


    Alternately, when I feel really evil, I like knowing that people are there to be pissed off. I am providing a valuable service!

    Woot me!

    I like that suddenly it is a lot easier to be inside the brain of another person. Not entirely, because people edit and show what they want, but we are closer. Suck it, existentialists.

    Anyway....

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  2. I love the term tizzy fit.

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  3. I have lots of controversial opinions, but I almost never put them on my blog because I don't like controversy, or anyway I only like to be an observer of controversy. It makes my blog boring, but it keeps the trolls at bay.

    Also I never meant to have a falsely picture-perfect blog, but it's hard to avoid since I have perfect children. Also I do not blog about the times when my children are incredibly difficult.

    I sense that I'm about to write a super-long comment, so I'm going to stop myself after just saying two things. 1) Before blogging and social networks were common, I was a lot more lonely, especially during the stuck-at-home phases of my life. But 2) the internet is also very addictive for me, and I struggle to keep a balance of time spent online vs. time in the real world--about 50/50 is my current goal. (That was a joke. Which is unfortunately based in truth.)

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  4. As someone who once deleted her blog in a tizzy fit of insecurity, I have to say that I think blogging is generally good, too. Really. I just worry sometimes that by blogging I am putting myself in the same category as the narcissists who blog (who shall remain nameless, and NO you are NOT one of them). I don't do blogs about family outings and children's milestones. I mainly just blog about. . . me. And that has me worried about looking like a narcissist. Then again, I don't participate in and post the results of monthly photo shoots of myself. So maybe I'm ok?
    See, this is why blogging is so awesome! Because it encourages this kind of meticulous concern for the impression I make on other people. Where would I be without it!?

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  5. I am glad you blog. I write lots and lots of blog posts and don't publish them. When I die, Topher will publish them all and it will really shock my 5 readers! They'll be, like, "Oh no she diiii-dn't!" and I'll be like, "No, I didn't, but then I guess I just did!" and we'll laugh and laugh. . . them here on earth, and me, stuck in the Matrix. I, too, hope I'm unaware, existing as a moderately successful actress. , ,

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  6. I had a Star doll and compared to my older sister's real Barbie, she was lame. The clothes didn't fit her well because she was flat chested and her feet were way too big for the tiny Barbie shoes and her wrists were floppy. I'd forgotten all about Star too! Poor Star. She was much more realistic than Barbie and I didn't appreciate her.

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  7. One thing I like about blogging is that I am able to use all of my humiliating experiences from adolescence for good. Now, instead of being humiliating, it's just funny. Sometimes. Depends on the day.

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  8. I'm glad you blog. I remember that one Sunday when you said, "If I did a blog, would you guys read it?" We said yes, and a lot of years later we still are. So don't delete anything. Also, the word verification on this is "El Hot", which we all know is Spanish for hot, which is you.

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  9. "You is kind. You is smart. You is important!". --The Help

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  10. I wish you made piles of money off your blog, because every post is pretty much solid gold. And I'm not just saying that.

    I don't blog, mostly because I'm uninteresting and also because I couldn't handle the abuse that would inevitably come if I shared the majority of my innermost thoughts (ie Stephanie above).

    But I love reading blogs, especially the hilarious ones like yours. Love.

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  11. I feel like I can't criticize people who get really successful from their blogs because I'm sitting on the couch watching Buffy instead. But I do sometimes wish that the ones who were so successful were as gifted as you.

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  12. I'm with Vern. I usually blog to lessen the sting of regret, embarrassment and stupidity by exposing it out in the open for the enjoyment of others.

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  13. i once went to a theatrical reaading of fahrenheit 451 and got ray bradbury's autograph!

    that is a true story.

    i like blogs!

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  14. Anonymous6:53 PM

    I love your blog because you remind me not all Mormon bloggers are obsessed with cupcakes/parties/ruffles/Anthropologie.

    What's your Twitter?

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  15. OMG. This post made me laugh, out loud. This line cracked me up:
    Personally, I read blogs that I hate which make me feel angry and/or like crap almost exclusively.
    Thank you for expressing how I feel! You're hysterical! I love you and I don't even know you! (Another benefit of blogging, I might add. Loving strangers because they are great writers.) Keep on please.

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  16. "When you think about it, criticism from a dummy is almost the same as a compliment from someone cool." - I expect this to see this displayed in a fancy font and saved as an image on Pinterest in no time.

    I'm adding "dystopian insurance" to my list of reasons to blog, cheeeeers.

    P.S. I ended up here because...I think...of Design Mom...I think.

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  17. *sans the first "this". Argh.


    And re. that Anon comment, that's EXACTLY what made me stop for longer than 38 seconds on your blog today - I saw the "I'm a Mormon" badge...but so much that wasn't the often-accompanying culture...

    ...although I quite like cupcakes. Especially since I can get the middle of those morsels cooked...unlike the ever elusive cake, which is a little hit and miss.

    Anon's comment also made me feel a little better about all those posts I read about insanely coordinated and well-executed parties...for me it's a "party" if there are straws. I like colour, and fun...but also like injecting a li'l ol' fashioned Spartan into kids - so much fuss and fluff when surely hangin' out and eating sweet stuff is the key.

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  18. i, for one, don't feel bad anymore when people who pictures of their perfect houses because i've been posting pictures of my own house lately, and i know what's REALLY going on. when i took pictures of my bedroom, i literally only made one corner of the bed at a time....whichever corner was showing in a particular shot. the rest of the unmade bed was covered with all the junk i'd cleared away for the picture. now i just assume everyone else is doing the same thing, and i stop feeling bad.

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  19. I was thinking earlier today how interesting it is that we're all socially networked, but not very social. I mean, people don't even email happy birthday anymore, let alone call.
    I gave up reading blogs that irritate or upset me, and I find my life is better. I don't finish books that I don't like anymore, either. It all goes through my "life's too short for this crap" filter.

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  20. I like your blog. That's why I read it.

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  21. Never, never delete. Your blog is my favorite; no pressure but I wish you did write the book (here) everyday.

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  22. You have one of the most clever and honest blogs around. Keep up the good work!

    I blog because it is a release of pent up frustration. And, because it helps me remember my life.

    I sorely wish blogging had been around when my oldest was a babe so I could have felt more connected. Sadly, the internet had just been invented (thanks Al!)and I was just getting the hang of email back then, so most of my communication came from neighbors and stuff.

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  23. I like blogging and I love reading yours. I hope mine isn't one of the blogs you don't like.

    Thanks for always making me smile.

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  24. Fer reals. All hail the computer gods!!!
    And I believe in miracles. Please allow those miracles to continue working, for all us lucky people who get to read your words.

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  25. I have been reading your blog for about a year now, and I enjoy it! You are a great writer, you are funny and refreshing and you tell it like it is. I am glad you are in the blogging world, thanks for sharing a part of you with total strangers, like me :-)

    Melissa
    www.pdxritchie.com

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  26. I am delurkimg to say "I love your blog!".

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  27. I liked your elongated, meandering non-argument that incredibly finds its way back to a semi-resolution without being overly conclusive and then finally just throwing in the towel and saying there's nothing else to do and also going for sympathy points to boot. Very adroitly strategized and executed. It's the ultimate chaotic yet nuanced blog-a-thon in living color right before our very eyes. While talking on the subject of the relative virtues of blogging. I don't know if it's more impressive if you did all this on purpose or if it just came naturally. And then it even got better the second time through. Good sign that it ages well. Voting 'yes', along with a precariously hanging chad for the blog treasurer. That one could go down to the wire.

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  28. I'm a secret follower who looks forward to your new posts. It used to be you and Tamners. She's gone, now you're my only. Keep it up!

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  29. Anonymous3:07 PM

    I'm very late for this party, but I'm a lurker and I'd like to say that your blog is the best.

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  30. I think, like everything, it has its good and bad points. I think it allows amateur writers to grow and grow and be stimulated and appreciated within a community, but as with all communities they come with their own dramas and controversies. But overall I would say that blogging is good, without a doubt!

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