When I first started this blog in September, none of my friends had blogs. I was somewhat bashful and ashamed about my essentially narcissistic exploit, and this sentiment is reflected in the title of the blog itself. If you read my first entry (https://throwinginthetowel.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/throwinginthetowel/) you’ll see that I was mildly asking for forgiveness for becoming a “blogger” (cringe) and that I was in the middle of some type of mini-crisis that I don’t even full remember the details of.
What I didn’t include was why I had decided to express my thoughts publicly instead of writing them to myself or discussing them with friends. The truth is I was actually inspired by a practical stranger’s philosophical pondries (apparently not a word!) that he posted via facebook notes. Until that moment I had always found the assumption under which blogs and myspace entries were written to be utterly self-deluded, presumptuous, and arrogant. I mean, who do you think you are to make your thoughts public and assume that people will want to hear them?
And then I read this stranger’s thoughts and actually was incredibly interested. And his thoughts made me think, and I appreciated being put in a position where I had to think. And then I thought some more, and wanted to get those thoughts out, and suddenly the idea of having a blog didn’t seem so bad. People don’t have to read it if they don’t want to. People can read it and not like it. And people can read it and disagree and maybe make comments and make me think some more. It seemed like a win-win, really.
And now, on this ugly February day, it hit me that now more of my friends have blogs than don’t. Usually I like to take credit for starting fads (I still hold that I started the pea coat trend at my high school) but don’t worry, this one I’ll blame on some weird simultaneous fusion of coincidental circumstances. It’s like all of us either suddenly have a lot to talk about, a lot of people we feel distant from and need to communicate with, too much free time, and/or a great deal of instability in our lives. I’m relieved to find out that I’m not the only one who is not overwhelmed, not depressed, not enthusiastic, not eager, but rather characterized by apprehension, ignorance, and uncertainty…and all those things combine and make you feel how exactly? What’s the verb for waking up every day without any direction, with very few concrete things to look forward to, and feeling isolated from your former life/self? Got me.
I’d also like to remark on the fact that such a sheer rise in blogging is reflective of some societal shift. Maybe this societal shift is all in my head, or maybe it is actually just a personal shift I made, but it seems to me like public opinion on internet self-exploration has veered towards acceptance of the phenomenon. I’ve kind of expected to meet some Sour Sallies when I mention that I have a blog but no one seems to have a problem with it. It’s actually surprising how much positive feedback I’ve gotten about the blog…that is, that not only do people think having a blog isn’t strange, but they actually like it and have an active interest in following it. Is this a consequence of the transience in my life (and people’s support for me during this time), some transience and mild hopelessness our entire society feels (war, economic crisis for the next several years, a failure of a legislature, numerous natural disasters, global warming, an eerie number of plane crashes, terrorism), twitter/facebook/email (the information age)…? Anyone agree with me that the tides have turned in favor of baring your soul on the internet? Any thoughts on why? Any thoughts on why so many people feel the need to blog?