Friday, June 12, 2009

What can blogging do for you?

I have a friend at work, we'll call him "Eric," who is witty, insightful, intelligent, and opinionated. He has three small children, two of whom are Hispanic twins that he and his wife adopted as embryos in a snowflake adoption (and theirs one of the first transracial embryo adoptions to be done!). He also works in a creative field, and has strong views on politics.

Basically, he has a lot to say. And he knows how to say it.

But he doesn't blog. And it baffles me.

I've had this conversation with him many times.

"Eric, why don't you blog? You would have a fantastic blog," I tell him.

"Oh, I don't have anything to say," he replies. "I wouldn't know what to write about."

Wouldn't know what to write about?

Well, let's see.

There's the parent blog, where you tell the cute stories like how your daughter sweetly says hi to the little girl in her Sunday school class every week even though she realizes that the other girl doesn't particularly like her. You may not have thousands of readers with this one, but you'll document your family's experiences, which to me is one of the most valuable ways to spend your time. Yes, I'm a scrapbooker, and so I value such things, but if you think about it, do you really not value such things?

Then, there's the technical blog. What do you do for a living? You are an expert on something. Everyone is an expert on something. Why not share your expertise with the world? If somebody I worked with (and, ahem, wanted to be when I grow up) wrote something about...I don't know...sound design... man, would I read it.

A lot of people, like my mom, compare themselves to super-witty bloggers and therefore don't want to write lest they be compared and judged. Let me just say... that's complete bull.

Blogging should not be about others. Blogging should be about you. Perhaps that's why I never pursued journalism after college. I love to write what I want, when I want, and I don't have to care what anybody thinks. And that's why I still love writing.

Are you afraid of spelling and grammar errors? That not every entry is super-witty or interesting? Okay. The more you write, the better you'll get at writing. Afraid of offending someone or being too vulnerable? Make it a private blog! (Though I will say that the motivation to write goes way up when you have an audience.) Either way, the point is to write. To document. To rant! To storytell. To remember.

It's interesting the way blogging has changed my perspective. Given the choice, I would rather meet Jennifer Mckinney, Jessica Turner (and Matthew and Elias!), Ellyn McCall, Sara Frankl, Lindsay Ferrier, Jill, or Angie Smith than Jay Leno, Brittany Spears, or Ryan Seacrest. Bloggers are real (okay, for the most part). I can relate to these people, and I feel like they could relate to me. I don't have any problems looking up to them because I believe they are genuine people. Good people.

This week in chapel, Chuck made a reference to us losing deep, meaningful relationships as they are replaced with "fake friends" on places like facebook and twitter. I usually don't disagree with Chuck, but I can tell you, it had been a long time since I prayed like I prayed when Stellan was in the hospital, and I have hardly ever been as excited for a friend as I was when Ellyn told me that Seth had been approved for cochlear implants and that she had raised God had provided all the funds.

No, this world doesn't take the place of my in-person relationships, but I refuse to reduce these "internet" relationships to fake. They are not. I think that's why people were so upset about the April Rose scam. You get involved. You fall in love.

Blogging has changed the way I look at things, the way I think about things, and the way I remember things. I have a record of my entire engagement and first year of marriage, and I will have a record of every year from now on. I will have a record of my pregnancy, of my child's first steps, first day of school, first car, and first college. I can look back and see what God has done in my life. And nothing can replace that.

There is nothing more valuable to my physical history here on earth than this blog. And there will be absolutely nothing more valuable to my loved ones when I'm gone than this blog.

This is how I will be remembered. How will you be remembered?


gitz said...


When I started blogging, I wasn't doing it for anyone else... and I'm still not blogging for the purpose of gaining readers [I just learned what Stumbling is... I'm so clueless]. I started writing because I needed an outlet, and I write now because the people who show up every day are friends to me... a lifeline that connects me to a world I otherwise wouldn't be able to be a part of.

I decided awhile ago to never use the term "IRL" friends... just because I only see you all on the screen, it doesn't make you any less a part of my real life. The friends who come by my house are physically in my real life, but you all are in my every day moments of life. If we're living authentically and with intention, those two things work together beautifully.

But again, it's the intention. I love having lots of people show up, but I want them to be friends, not fans. I love the relationship.

Jess :) said...

Well written, Mandy! Wow!! That was great and oh, so true!! :)

I'm so with Sara, and you, as well. My blog was not intended so that others could become "FANS" as someone so nicely stated recently (aka article)! Seriously????

Moving on, it was for ME and my friends and family who don't live near me. It was so that I could keep a record of things going on in my life. Obviously, it has also become a place for me to show the changes and growth of my nephew. Now, I totally understand that most people don't really care about that. However, he's MY nephew (who I love more than anyone could ever even imagine) and I care!

Okay, I'll stop rambling, but thank you for this post!

P.S. I prefer to consider others who read my blog FRIENDS...NOT fans! Well, hopefully. :)

El said...

Mandy, what a beautiful post. I think you're right...strong, real relationships are still possible on the internet. You're the best! Love you.

Eric said...

Now that you have effectually called me out... I find that Facebook affords me the same platform but not the demands of keeping a blog up.

The larger issue for me is that I would look at a blog post not as an opportunity to share my thoughts and views but more like a homework assignment that would weigh on me until I got it done - oh and it has to be witty and insightful, so it can't always be just thrown out there without a lot of thought. Maybe I'm wrong, but I wouldn't be reading yours if I didn't know you and you weren't a clever writer.

Also, since I don't read many personal blogs - preferring to skim through a bunch of various professional, political, topical, and technical blogs, I don't know that I would ever gain an audience. Although, as glitz pointed out, she wasn't doing it for anyone but herself and there is value in that.

That said, I do think real friendships are possible online - to be formed as well as cultivated - and even broken - all from the comfort of your laptop and bunny slippers.

Mandy and Jack said...

Hi Eric! :)

I hope you know this post wasn't all about you (and hope I didn't offend you by using you as an example) - you were just a convenient example. I could have also easily talked about my friend Brittany, or others, who I rag on about blogging.

I know your reasons for not blogging and I do believe they're valid... much more valid than my mom's, which are "Ooohh I'm a bad writer I'm not as clever as you guys... so the way I would write my story wouldn't be interesting."

Like you said, writing should not feel like a homework assignment. If it's that, then you're right, there's no point.

To each his own. :)