Thursday, June 24, 2004

I bow to inevitability

Yes, all right, fine, I'll start a blog. Twist my arm, why don't you.

I've been accused of blogging before. I wrote bi-weekly updates while I was in England, which I posted on this website, along with some pictures I was proud of. But I insisted it was just "letters home."

Blogs seem more like those Christmas newsletters some people send. I don't really like the idea of personal newsletters, anymore than I like the idea of public journals. It seems very self-absorbed.

I also didn't think it was likely to revolutionize journalism, because it's one-to-few instead of one-to-many. We've already got outlets like that, which usually do report the relevant news, to their small audiences, sooner than the big outlets do. Actual letters, sent from the front and passed hand to hand, in wars going back to the beginning of written history. Flyers and pamphlets. Mimeographed newsletters passed out at official Podunk county Communist Party meetings. Personal webpages, in the early days of the internet. Even small-time broadcasting outlets.

None of those changed the world. Nor did the literary magazines or short-lived personal publications I helped write in college and high school. And why should they? Who am I, that anyone should care what I have to say? Why should strangers want to know my thoughts on topics I choose? I'm not really an expert on much of anything. I'm out of every loop. Nobody really needs my perspective.

I don't think I've really changed my opinion about any of that, but now I read more than a dozen blogs on a daily basis, and I get excited when I see a news story there (like the coronation of Sun Myung Moon, not to mention the torture at Abu Ghraib) before it hits the major media, or reading dispatches from front line soldiers and Iraqi civilians that reporters couldn't really hope to imitate. I find myself posting to the comments sections, in spite of the fact that I already spend too much time arguing on the internet (I went on a date with someone who googgled me in advance, a while ago. I suddenly wished I'd never heard of the internet.)

Some of the blogs I like best seem to be by people who are just as ordinary as I am, and so I can begin to convince myself that maybe there is some value in the perspective of someone who just stands in the corner, out of the way of the revelers and deal makers, and pays attention. Hence the title.

I know I'm too opinionated and too introspective and do too much of my social interaction through the cowardly medium of writing already, but just knowing I have those flaws doesn't mean I can resist something which plays to them as perfectly as blogging, especially when it's easy, and free, and so socially acceptable. All of my friends are doing it, and a couple of them have encouraged me to give it a try. And since I suddenly discover that a large number of my thoughts really seem to belong on a blog, rather than e-mailed to random innocent victims... I give. I'm blogging.


whizler said...

I've been surfing a lot of blogs (am new to this like yourself), and I really liked this post. Keep it up!

Mary said...

Hey, wow, a reader. I wasn't expecting that. Thanks for the encouraging words...