Friday, January 09, 2009

Top Ten Reasons to Blog

Yeah, everyone is always re-examining blogging and whether they personally should do it. (Often these same people are writing comments in their favorite blogs saying 'Please, please, don't stop.')

In countdown fashion, let's do it. Top Ten Reasons to Blog:

  • The number ten reason is....Because everyone sees things differently and my viewpoint is important. (See above photo from the clock they burned during First Night at Auditorium Shores. Pizza on Earth. A more realistic goal. One person's added footnote.) I thought maybe this should be the number one reason, but, really it's so egotistical. I mean, speaking for my blog, I just write what's in my head most of the time and don't research Middle East politics or something. In fact, your faithful chronicler has yet to get it firmly in her head how close Egypt really is to it all. Geography-wise. I can't remember all the new countries from the Soviet bust up, much less research and interpret the Gazprom crisis between Ukraine and Russia. Anyway, so my viewpoint might be worth something, but not the top of the list of advisers you should listen to on World Affairs or philosophy or domestic politics or the revamp of the SEC so that Madoff represents the end of an era of fraud.
  • The number nine reason is...Even if your viewpoint isn't an earth-shaking opinion, it is a little bit of human life. Add up all the blogs from all the people and it's a history of ordinary life and all that jazz. But really are one woman's friends, meals, movies, rants, reading list yada yada really a significant part of what's going on? Particularly when, statistically, she is 'out of step' with the mainstream?
  • The number eight reason is...Otherwise how would I keep up with my own life? I note that one of the blogs I read mentioned this recently:
    "I don't really want to stop blogging. It's been part of my life for over six and a half years now, and besides all the stuff I've recorded that I'd never remember otherwise..."
    This reason isn't higher (lower) on the list because, really, why not have a private journal and stick all the pictures and words there and don't pull any punches and really have it all. You could still use handy search and keyword stuff. You could make it a blog but entirely private. But, no, we do this writing entirely in full view of whomever. Who, after all, are we fooling? We don't just expect to keep track of stuff, we expect to be read. (Hi, faithful five readers!)
  • The number seven reason is...It gives me an excuse to type like someone is making me (paying me?) to do it each and every day (or so). Hence I'm sitting here with a fresh cup of coffee at nine in the morning with bed head, wearing sweats and writing here because it's a 'duty' after all. So I'm not writing a book, reading the paper and getting material for more reasonably important views on something, exercising, managing my money, cleaning house or saving the world (for peace or pizza). But it's OK. Gotta blog first, then all that will come.
  • The number six reason is...Bulleted lists are fun. No, that isn't it...let me think. Yes, that's it...I have a 'rule' that each entry has to have a picture. Usually an original one and not just something stolen from the WEB. Between that and Austin Daily Photo, I have to take pictures and I like the result. There is a collection of my pictures made automatically by Blogger and also I can just sit and watch the slide show screen saver on my machine. Yeah, I love words but I love pictures, too.
  • Number five. hmmm (can I really think of ten reasons for my biggest time waster???). OK, links. Since a blog is hyper-text you can link to sites that have real information or other blogs with more articulate and clever writers. You can link to yourself, too, in endless loops and circles. You can link to random silliness. Your readers (and you, later) follow a little trip through cyberspace with you as tour guide. It's not just writing, it's hyper-writing. Some people forget that this form is different in that way.
  • Number four? It keeps me somewhat connected to modern technology. Oh, sure, I use a blogging tool that the legion of monkeys typing Shakespeare could probably navigate but once in a while as I blog or sail through others' blogs (an inevitable result of blogging is reading other blogs) I eventually want to do something that makes me look at HTML or puzzle something out that is at least vaguely technical and this makes me feel less like the techno-saurus that I am.
  • Number three? Otherwise I'd be doing Facebook. Nothing against social networking sites but they are so 'in and out,' so one sentence/one picture, tag you're it' that really it's not writing is it? The best Facebook folks link to their blogs. (The journalists do this, I've noticed. Well, one journalist anyway.) I mean I just went over to Facebook so I could write about it and found some cool links and such and I made a status update that I was blogging. Which wasn't as interesting as the person who found a double yolk in an egg or the one drinking a smoothie and coffee at the same time after a run but still one doesn't bump into a coherent essay unless one follows someone's link. Facebook, though, has become exceedingly popular with my set lately. But, I digress which brings me to number two....
  • Number two reason for blogging? It supports my favorite modus operandi: digression. If you are writing a book or a real essay or article, there is a call for a certain, dare we call it dramatic?, structure. A beginning, a middle, and end. With a blog, it is more like we are creating index cards or pages in our scrapbook with random pictures, drawings, words, quotes, diary notes. It's OK to say "Today I got up late because I had a hangover" then ramble on about hangovers without really concluding anything. You have more to say than you do with a sentence on Facebook: "Linda got up late because she has a hangover." But the expectation is somewhat less than an essay on hangovers. You can 'finish' with less polish. And you can go from hangovers to what booze you like and digress into the ridiculous prices of some wine and talk about wine bottle shapes and then just wrap it up and call it a blog entry. I have rules, but they are lax for blog entries. (Sometimes I even leave out the picture but I really hate doing that. I really like it if they picture relates somehow to the text but I even let that go pretty easily.) [Ed. Note: Do you have a hangover today? LB: Not at all. Nothing to drink last night and two glasses of wine the night before. One Pinot Noir, one late Harvest Malbec. If you must know everything.]
  • Number one reason for blogging? Have we really already done nine? I thought I'd run out of reasons. Anyway, the number one reason for blogging (especially as opposed to published work but also in contrast to commenting on other blogs and sending messages on other sites) is that you can edit it to your heart's content. I usually publish an entry and then reread it for typos and confusion. So I might publish it and change it one minute later. Yes, I know someone can get the stuff before I edit it, but I ignore that. I even come back days, months, years later and edit and delete. I'm never through editing, I've found, so this makes me feel very satisfied if a little dishonest. I've even been known to hunt down online journal entries from back in the day when I didn't use a blogging tool and edit them. When you see something in print with a typo, does it make you crazy? Especially if it's your own work? Well, that's me. Even other people's typos make me crazy. So writing with pixels that can be turned on or off at a whim? Priceless.


Jerry from Dallas said...

All I can write about all that is, "Blog on!"

deb said...

And I thought I was the only one who was editing my own typos after I published! Geeze, you just never know some things about some people...until they blog!

Sarah said...

I think you omitted an element about blogging from your excellent list. My friend Sue, a professor of women's history, says it best:

History as we read it is a series of actions by prominent men; but history is also the joint decisions and support and day to day lives of the women (and men) you never hear about. Her mission is to record and preserve those histories.

P.S. I edit my stuff, too, and I find it very frustrating to notice an error in a comment I've made just after I've posted it--and there's no way to go back and edit it. Or delete it.

And to all those people who send me emails full of typos and misspelled words--I wish you'd proofread your stuff before hitting send. There. Thanks. Good to get that off my chest.

Linda Ball said...

Thanks for putting the link here. I think that was what I was getting at with "history of ordinary life" and, indeed, I had actually read that blog entry so I may have plagiarized (now there's a hard word to spell) it! Although sometimes I worry that all these pixels in cyberspace (or on our computers) will be preserved any better than old paper diaries and letters. (Or even as well.) One of my greatest reading pleasures in actual books are letters and journals, by the way.