Friday, June 11, 2004

The enigma of the blog

I'm still struggling with the question of whether or not blogging is going to become a continuing experience in my life. Somehow, it seems appropriate to be dealing with this in a blog.

The core question is "Does anyone bother to read blogs?", or in the case of this specific blog, "Will anyone ever see this?" [My initial expectation is that no one will see this for considerable time, if at all]

Yesterday I ran across a blog called "My Private Thoughts" which I cannot locate again. I've tried looking in my History of web pages, and it doesn't appear anywhere, and of course it's not in the "more..." link of the recently updated blogs which are listed in my Blogger's Dashboard.

The fact that I can't find it again, raises another question: How does one find a blog that one might be interested in? I've tried doing a Google Search on "My Private Thoughts" and while there's a lot there, the particular blog I saw doesn't seem evident.

The reason for mentioning this particular blog is that it creates another question for me: Why would anyone want to put their private thoughts in a place where they could possibly be discovered unless they want (or secretly hope) that these thoughts will become known to somebody?

There is a considerable difference between writing down your thoughts in a journal or notebook which you keep locked up in a private place, and leaving that journal on your front doorstep.

There's a matter of ethics in this too. If I discover someone's "Private Thoughts", my code of ethics tells me that I should leave them untouched, or if I happen to see them to at least keep them to myself. I can't imagine many people admitting that they had been reading another's private journal unless they had been invited to do so.

So, if I publish my own private thoughts in a blog, can anything I put there be considered libelous? Are my private thoughts private or aren't they? On the other side of the coin, if I deliberately put my private thoughts in a place where they could be seen by another person (the public) do they then become "public" even though I continue to call them private? I would incline to say they are no longer private, no matter what I choose to call them.

Now, what is the purpose or value in blogging? I've seen quite a number of blogs which are referred to as "rants" (defined) and I suppose that there are people who will maintain that ranting in a blog is a good way to vent one's anger and frustration, as opposed to taking some kind of destructive behavior.

I wonder about that. Not that I'm advocating violent, destructive action. But, I think that when one is angry, that anger might be more productively channeled into seeking a positive solution for the cause of the anger, rather than just blowing off steam in a manner which does no harm to anyone. Venting one's anger could be looked at as a coward's way out, or at least a lazy way out. So you rant in a blog, let out the pressure, but everything stays the same. Tomorrow, next week or next year the conditions that gave rise to the rage are still there and you, yourself, are subject to a repetition of the same which might be even worse because your anger is compounded by the repetition.

I'm considering using bloging as a way of sorting out my own thoughts on subjects that I may not have thoroughly thought through. Somehow, the idea that someone may be watching may cause me to be a bit more careful and precise in putting together my thoughts than I would be otherwise.

It reminds me of noticing (in the past) that whenever I was really trying to be complete in my deliberations about something that I found myself thinking in Spanish.

I should explain that my native tongue is English and I only learned Spanish as an adult. For some unknown reason, my subconscious seemed to equate careful thinking with the extra effort that it takes me to express myself in the new language. I don't know whether or not it produced any better thinking in terms of the end results. But I do know that Spanish speaking people have a view of the world different from Anglophones. Maybe that was the point ... using another viewpoint might help ensure that I covered all bases on a topic.

Well that's enough of this thinking for today.

I also started in a Tai Chi class today, something which I've been wanting to do for several years but couldn't find an instructor. This one seems to have a considerably different approach to the subject than the one I had in '96. Who's to say whether he's right or wrong, or simply different? Certainly not I, as a novice. It's the results that will tell so I intend to follow his instruction until I start to see something happening.

1 comment:

fishboy said...

I think you'll be surprised how many people will find and read your blog, and the paths they take to get to it. My only advice for new players is to find a blog you like and follow their links, and those blog's links, and so on. That gets you places you might never find through search engines etc. Also blog-rings are an interesting source of linkage. Incidentally, I found your site through the comment you left on Tracey's blog (Caribou), comments are another good source.

I find that writing in my weblog is not usually very good for 'letting off steam' except when you really don't care who reads it. I'm not really a ranter though. I do find that keeping a journal of any kind is a good way of ordering you thoughts and working out problems. Much the same as talking to a therapist, without the irritating questions about your mother or the $80 an hour...

Basically it comes down to whatever you want for it - sometimes that takes a long time to figure out, and the chances are that your priorities will change in time anyway. But it's a place for you to voice your own thoughts and never be shouted down.

Blog away!