Someone asked me today why I blog. The question made me feel defensive for some reason and I gave a hurried answer along the lines of "because."
But I've been thinking about it all day, trying to articulate to myself why I do this. I have more reasons than you probably have the patience to read so I'll just give you the most compelling.
1. I am a writer. I may not do it professionally but it's as much a part of me as my brown eyes or my size 7 feet. Even if there were no internet I would still write. My post about Boston from yesterday? Yeah, not a blog post. Just a thing I wrote because that is the thing I love to do more than anything on the planet. My computer is full of half-written pieces that I may or may not finish but had to get out. The backs of church programs, work notebooks, hotel message pads-I will write things down anywhere I find a blank space. With or without a reader, I am a writer. Having a place where maybe a few folks get to see what comes out of my head from time and time and even like it now and then is just sort of icing on a cake I was already going to make.
2. This is not a journal. Trust me, I still keep a handwritten journal and it is not something the world ever has to worry about seeing. I do like to write personal things here but there is a difference between things that are personal and things that are private. There is plenty of stuff I don't think is appropriate to post in a public forum and I am careful about what ends up here. I don't complain about my job and try to only talk about work in general or vague terms. What I say here is always genuine, but I try very hard not to cross the line into giving too much information. (my sister says the bikini wax post did indeed go too far but that's still one of my favorites!)I would never post anything that I wouldn't mind getting back to my boss or to my mother which I think keeps me pretty safe.
3.Blogging keeps me connected. I had a roommate who used to tease that some people collect stamps but I collect people. I feel incredibly blessed, and sometimes almost embarassed, at the sheer volume of quality friends I have made over the last 30 years. I love having a way to stay connected to them. I love that even though it can be so hard to keep up on phone calls or emails, I can go read about my cousin's kids or my friend Kelly's job search or Betsy and Rebecca's awesome adventures anytime I have a free moment. It's nice to be able to talk about things that are happening in our lives beyond the "hey how are things-good and you-good-gotta run" conversations that are often all we have time for.
4. I believe that communication is powerful. I believe that sharing experiences and ideas with others is part of the reason we have those experiences in the first place. I have been moved by the things I've read on other blogs-whether those of a good friend or those of someone once removed. I've been following a blog written by a woman whose mother died of cancer. Her writing is beautiful and inspiring and I feel lucky and a little humbled that she's letting us into this part of her life. A few weeks ago I wrote something that led to a conversation with my own mother that I've been wanting to have for years but never knew how to start.
5 And finally, how awesome is it that because of tools like Blogger and YouTube and MySpace I can read and watch and listen to a whole myriad of things I never would have been exposed to fifteen years ago? I am madly in love with the idea that what I read and watch is no longer controlled by a few networks, publishers and record labels.
So there are my top five reasons for my raging blog addiction. Like anything, I can blogs can be good and blogs can be bad. I guess I feel lucky that my own experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
Many of you have blogs...what are yours?