On blogging

I'm still trying to get my head around this whole blogging thing. For many years I have dismissed blogs as something for people who are either a. entirely narcissistic or b. without a life. I mean really--to be a vibrant part of a blogging community--updating regularly with witty and charming posts, laced with beautiful photos, and to be reading and commenting on other people's similarly gorgeous blogs--how much time does that take? And who has that time? Aren't real life relationships and real life events way more important than blog-gy ones? 

But then I became a stay-at-home-mom, and I moved to a new country where I knew no one, and my entire community was one I maintained online, and, well, I started a blog. And it's been fun. So even though we now have a Hong Kong community of sorts, I'm still blogging, using it to document our days, both for us and for those at home. The downside, of course, is that I'm not journaling or writing letters nearly as often as I used to, and I do wonder if the fact that now most of my journaling is public impacts how I process my life. (as a sidenote, I'm considering starting a new blog, to blog the lectionary, writing weekly reflections on the week's lessons. Not as a pastor or a seminarian or a theologian, because I am none of those things, but as a baker, a mama, a 30-year old woman living in a new country. This is basically what I do for Augsburg, and I love it. We'll see ... may be a bit more discipline than I'm up for ...)  

But--I am blown away by the community that exists out there among bloggers--particularly among certain communities of bloggers. Admittedly the blogs I frequent--those dealing with crafts, food or parenting--are primarily written and read by women who hold similar passions, and so is it any wonder that communities form?   

I know that many people are skeptical of online communities, and see the internet and computers mainly as a way of withdrawing from the world. And I get that, I do. I know of too many marriages that have been harmed by internet pornography to ignore that reality, and the numbers of people who gave up facebook for lent only testify to its addictive possibilities. But for so many of us, the internet is not the way we hide from the world, it's how we engage the world. The computer is now the center of all media in our lives in a way totally different than even one year ago--it's where we read the paper, listen to the radio, listen to music, organize our photos and videos, write letters, talk on the phone and otherwise keep in touch with family. It's where we research, shop, look up recipes, watch tv and watch movies. 

It's not that I don't have my qualms about this state of affairs. Not only do I wonder how my processing and reflection is different when done primarily in a public format, I also wonder how my newsgathering is different when I just click on the stories that interest me and easily ignore the rest. And I wonder mostly how all this time spent on a computer is going to impact Finn's life, and the lives of all children growing up today. I don't necessarily think it's going to be bad, and it certainly makes living in far away countries or remote areas a much more feasible option for us, but it is certainly something I'm trying to be mindful of. We've always been a family that limited "screen time" and planned to raise our kids without a TV. But when you can watch tv without a tv, and when the computer is the phone, dvd player, stereo, library, and archival system all rolled into one, it gets more complicated. I'd love to hear from other parents out there about how they are navigating computer use in front of and by their kids--not so much what "rules" you may have, but the guiding philosophies. 

PS--I just read a post about how to have a successful (read: popular) blog, and the primary advice was to break up the text with pictures. Good ones, theoretically. So I tried to take a picture of the sesame croissant and jar of Nutella my dear husband put out for me tonight, to help me get through the final push of editing on my Augsburg project. But since I am the kind of person who gives not one fig about settings or lighting, the pictures sucked. You'll just have to imagine how good it was. It was really good--so good, in fact, that even after I finished that dreary task, I came on over here, to write a little bit more for you, dear reader ...


Marcy at Life is Good said...

I've had my blog for 5 years now. The first few years it was just for fun, and mostly just for me-- a place to record my thoughts and our lives since I had long before abandoned writing in a paper journal. Then we moved abroad and suddenly it was my blog that was helping me connect with other expats, both local ones that I met and befriended in person, and others who were scattered across Europe. And then I became a mother, and the comments, support, and advice I got on my blog were my saving grace at times. I think one needs balance-- your entire social life cannot be contained in a computer-- but it is astounding the power that blogging communities and the connections made can have.

We too plan to limit media time-- TV, computer, video games, etc, to me they all count as the same category. Of course as I read your post I'm realizing how much time I spend on the computer while Donovan is playing, which I need to change as he becomes more aware of my behavior and the example I am setting. I will probably always spend a decent amt of time on the computer each day, but will probably have to hide it by doing it when he's asleep... ; )

debi said...

Life is a funny thing. I sat down to write something because I felt I must, felt I needed to keep my creativity moving on a day I don't feel like doing just that - a not totally incorrect thought because I have an art show scheduled in a couple of months & need many more paintings & feel quite uninspired, etc., etc., etc. My blog serves that purpose of making me think a bit differently - a bit outside the box of everyday life, while actually paying attention to everyday life, but it also can feel like pressure. I began blogging to make myself take my art seriously, and lo & behold, less than year later, I found myself published as "A Blog with a View" in Somerset Life. "Me?" I thought. "Oh, no, I have no view, this must be a mistake." But publish me they did - a wonderful, wonderful thing, but now? Now I feel I must be more than I was. Now I check my site meter to see how many people are reading me, all the while telling myself it doesn't matter, that I am being silly, that I need to remember why I began blogging in the first place. I am slowly getting back to that, and like I said, I was about to post, to get my creative juices flowing, as it were, but I checked my email first & found your reply to Slow Blog.

Bless you. You helped me this morning. Yes, I will blog, but I will blog for me. I am glad to have found you, and your timing was perfect. Indeed, the blogosphere is a funny place, and the Universe smiles on you sometimes - it plays games.

Take care.
:) Debi

Meredith said...

thanks for posting this...i have had a lot of questions surrounding whether or not i would enjoy/should begin a blog...

foodsmith said...

Well, I for one would enjoy reading what you have to say, Mere. The only caveat is that it shouldn't become just another thing you feel you have to do ... moms have enough of those things already!