A little Narcissus in all of us: reflections on blogging

Given the fact that I only recently registered and paid for my own domain name, and paid for four month of hosting, this probably is the worst time to start reflecting on blogging.  Nevertheless, that is precisely what I have been doing lately.  The question: what do I do this for?

I have always had difficulty telling precisely what I think about something.  My father has always been very good at calling things as he sees them.  It’s an admirable quality, one that I would like to develop more, but his presentation is at times lacking.  Sometimes he appears to be rude or angry when he’s honest about an issue, even if that is not his intention.  So my fear is that if I attempt to honestly say how I feel about a subject I will come across in a similarly rude manner.  Added to this potential problem is that I don’t think well on the fly?I often need time to process my thoughts (often done by playing devil’s advocate) before I can respond with any confidence.  So, instead, usually I just shut up about something, or simply smile and nod.

I saw blogging as an opportunity to hone my honesty skills, since in writing I have time to consider my thoughts, to form my sentences so that my thoughts come out ?just so?.  Now, however, as I develop blogging ?relationships?, and particularly after having met a lot of local bloggers, I find that I am once again editing my thoughts, padding them with other readers in mind.  So, I’m back to square one again.

The truth is that there is a third element to my reluctance to speak my mind: the need to belong.  I realize that I ?belong? to a great number of people in my life, but when new friends come along the sense of the need for belonging resurfaces.  I want to say things that will please these new friends, make them laugh or nod in approval.  But that, too, gets in the way of being totally forthright, as I’m always conscious of how people will possibly react to what I say.  It’s a bit of strange thing, I know: I’m well aware that most other people speak their minds freely, without concern, so why wouldn’t the same be expected of me?

That problem aside, there is also this: who is this blog for?  Is it only for me?  If so, why do I need to ?publish? it and make it available to the world?  And why do I fret so when there are infrequent comments and few hits?  If it’s just for me, why don’t I just keep a private journal?

If it’s not just for me, what does my opinion matter in the greater scheme of things?  Most of my posts are ultimately questions (which seem to be increasing with age), just me ?thinking out loud?, but when I do post an op-ed piece, what does it matter?  And does the world (or those few citizens of it that read this space) care about my personal issues (such as with ?belonging?)?

Is ?having my say? enough of a reason to do this?  Isn’t that a rather pompous/Narcissistic reason for this blog’s existence?

The biggest question of all: why am I posting this particular entry at all?  Oh, the irony.

7 thoughts on “A little Narcissus in all of us: reflections on blogging

  1. becky

    Ah, the familiar blogger’s conundrum. I know it well.

    My only advice would be to keep it real. Don’t be afraid of speaking your mind — it’s a quality about you that I admire. I know I’ve teased you about being controversial — but I was only teasing. I like the fact that we can see differently on issues. It forces me to rethink my position and to see things from a different angle.

    If everyone always agreed, the world would be a very boring place. Rant, op-ed, speak your mind away on your blog. You’ve never come across as rude or angry. I may not always agree with you, but I appreciate your perspective.

    The hard part of blogging for me is knowing when I should censor myself — not necessarily in terms of what I believe, but in terms of my content. I’ve got a bad habit of getting too personal on my site, and that’s not going to work for me anymore.

    Anyway, I hope you can work your way through this. We all go through it, believe me.

  2. Marc

    Thanks Becky. That’s encouraging. Believe it or not, you are among those I consider when I write my entries (at least when they have the potential for controversy).

    Honestly, though, I don’t think you and I disagree as much as either of us think (or I’m simply not aware of our differences).

  3. becky

    We probably don’t, now that I think of it. To tell you the truth, I see you as in a place where I was — not that long ago. At least from what I’ve read on here.

    Anyway, don’t let me or anyone else stop you from speaking your mind on here. It’s your playground, and we’ll all play nice. 🙂

  4. Todd

    Marc,

    I’d say post whatever you want to talk about. It’s your blog and your effort, so you should post whatever you want, whatever you think, whatever you feel.

    There are a few topics that I generally shy away from in blogging (work, the inner workings of my relationship with my partner and direct comments on friends if it could upset them) but otherwise, I post it like I see it.

    Worrying about hurting others feelings shows that you are a kind and compassionate person. I’m sure whatever you post, that will never change.

  5. Leighton Tebay

    Blogging, like so many other things in life can be done with good motivations or bad. In that sense it is no different from speaking. Why do we talk? Why do we share? Are we trying to change something? Are we satisfied with hearing our own voice?

    When I started out I was more concerned about traffic and climbing up the ranks of Technorati. I found that the one thing that did increase traffic was controversy. If I was embroiled in some sort of debate on my blog the hits went sky high. Intense debates take a lot out of me, and I’ve learned how to better avoid some of the nastier ones.

    I’ve now got to the place where I have so many online relationships I can’t keep up with them all. At this point my blog is primarily my method of communicating with my friends. I just have a lot more of them now.

    One thing I’ve found very good about blogging is the community. I had a very bad week last week but I had a number of people praying for me, ask me how things are going.

  6. Randall

    It was interesting to me how I responded when I found out some people were actually reading my blog. I kinda got weirded out you know?

    They were in my mind when I wrote, and I began to censor myself a great deal. Then I reacted to that and just struggled unevenly down the road.

    I kind of “Lost my voice” a bit then, wondering what and why I wrote.

    But it’s getting better lately, and the relationships I’ve been able to form as a result have been a delight.

    So I go back to the reason I started this blog thing in the first place. There is so much crap on the net, I wanted to carve out a place where I could live out my life in as much honesty as I possible. The good the bad and the ugly, just lived out before God and people.

    Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. But I can get up and try again tomorrow.

    And I will.

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