I tend to think of writing blog entries as a letter writing activity. Not quite a diary, really, because if I wrote solely of self-congratulatory or self-deprecating thoughts inside my head, or day to day occurrences, my imaginary audience would not care to read them. But it is, above all else, an introspective activity. And I am often too introspective for my own good.
I’ve noticed several people quoting Dr. John Grohol’s Psychology of Weblogs because it was mentioned in Schoolblogs.com’s method of increasing weblog readership posting. But it’s largely taken out of context, turned into a missile rather than a missive.
Most weblogs are drivel, banal shit written by angst-ridden teenagers and adults sharing feelings, thoughts, and mind-numbing details about their daily lives that provide little insight into anything or anyone.
Only a fool would say that this is inaccurate. However, to stop at this is to do Dr. Grohol a massive disservice. Directly following the “bomb” what he says is this:
But the gems can be found amongst the long-since abandoned or forgotten sites. These gems are personality- driven. That is, the person or persons writing for them are genuinely interesting. They are storytellers. They understand the need for a beginning, a middle, and an ending. They draw together like-minded links into themes for the day, for the week, for a lifetime. The authors of such weblogs and online journals have an inner drive for their work. They don’t look for adoration or attention from other folks online. It comes to them naturally by the power of their work, by the originality of their stories, or by the genuine nature of their words.
The piece was originally written before the blogging explosion, before software began to facilitate the activity and the sheer volume of daily writing became so staggering. While people who share their thoughts online, writing messages to an imaginary audience may come and go, the impulse does not seem to be abating in any way. I think this is a good thing. Somebody said, on a weblog that has faded from memory, “Who cares if you had cornflakes this morning?” I’d have to answer, “I do,” as long as it’s in the context of a story that interests me.
The popularity of sites that often share mundane insights like this shows that I’m not alone. Slice of life sites are more popular than “soapbox” sites, which I confess, this site flirts with all too often.
But I must declare that these are missives, not missiles, and I write about deep issues because I’m trying to figure them out for myself, not because I’m trying to sell my point of view to someone else. It feels more like writing a letter to a friend. A friend I wish I had, a friend who shares my interests who I want to explain the stuff I’ve discovered to. A friend that is always there when I feel like talking.
Reading even a few entries on my site provides a great explanation why I don’t have many friends. I’m just too intense, and I take things too seriously, but most of all:
I have too much sustain.