Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is Blogging What's Wrong With America?

Following my talk on blogging to a senior computer user's group, a woman remarked, "I just came to see what this group was all about. Actually, I think blogs are what's wrong with America today. People just want to talk about themselves." I may have paraphrased that last sentence, but the rest is a direct quote. Of course the first thing out of my mouth was about the good information on blogs such as Time Goes By, Changing Aging, The Lazy Environmentalist and many others. She didn't care.

I angsted over it all afternoon. Here is what I wish I'd said:

1. Blogging is writing, and writing is good. Writing for the Internet is as valid as writing for any publication. True, there is no editorial gatekeeper deciding what the public should (or will pay) to read. You'll need to think for yourself. I browse blogs the way I browse the magazines in the library, and I subscribe to my favorites. With the comment options blogs provide, we can even interact with authors and other readers.

2. Personal stories are good. Not only for the insight and meaning it offers the writer (like all journaling), but for the insight and meaning it offers readers. Ronni Bennett has a interesting post discussing the importance of sharing about our private lives. Here is an excerpt:

Even if you “only” got married, raised children and tended the backyard garden, you have stories to tell. You especially have stories your children, grandchildren and beyond will care about. Everyone wants to know who and where they came from and what those people were like, how they lived, what they did. Link to the full post.

3. Personal opinions are good. Opinions give us something to chew on, challenge or applaud. Jay Rosen of Press Think has called blogs, "little first amendment machines".

4. Photos are good. Period.

Hey! And what's wrong with talking about yourself? We just need to take turns. It's called conversation.


Unknown said...

Interesting subject matter and I really like your responses. I don't think that Blogging is what is wrong with this country... that's quite a stretch! But by living in this country she is entitled to her opinion (at least for now anyway!) Thanks for posting this...Elaine

Pearl said...

agreed on all points. And blogs mostly can become conversations. Little relationship nodes form as offline.

Anonymous said...

I have recently instructed my family and friends not to ask me how many hours I spend on the computer each day, but to ask how much writing I got done each day. Heck, writers don't use typewriters anymore. What else is a writer to do?

I also tell them that my blog is like my own personal magazine that I post an editorial to each day. Power to the people.

naomi dagen bloom said...

goodness, how convenient to pile onto the mellow practice of blogging ALL that's ailing the u.s.

guess it similifies a person's life. have you noticed: often creative pursuits make those who resist tapping into their own creativity very uncomfortable? sigh.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it always the case that the dissidents force us to formulate, in our minds at least, what our opinions and priorities are? Even, such a blatantly silly question (surely the are a few corrupting political, environmental, and social issues other than blogging), makes you and your readers think.

I come from an Irish background, a storytelling nation. Yet, in my parents' generation in Canada, storytelling almost became extinct. Blogging has already created a lively resurgence between people of different cultures and generations.

Unknown said...

I should think blogging is not what's wrong with America but is America, namely, one of its voices. Because so many people do it, it must be a compulsion. Loving to write must be the main thing. Just my idle thoughts.

Cheryl Finley said...

Hi Sharry,
My gut response is:
Only someone who has nothing to say (that's positive)would make a comment like that. By "nothing to say" I mean she obviously she doesn't feel anything she has to say is worth sharing..unless it's of course she can't relate. -- Rev. Michael Beckwith reminds us that "Medicrity always criticizes greatness" .. 'nuf said, huh.

Jerry in Tampa said...

Amen! Blog - on!
You have an AWESOME blog - interesting and creative!!! Congrats!

Jerry in Tampa