I have read a few posts while browsing through other peoples blogs about why they blog. Some people write from a deep, inner calling, others want to share their families, some people hone their writing skills this way, others use the blog to connect with other likeminded souls and so on.
But what is a blog actually, or what is it becoming. Blog is short for weblog. The first time I heard about it years ago, it was described to me as an online diary that was accessible to others. That seemed utterly strange to me. A diary was a place for your inner most private thoughts. Why would you put that online for others, strangers, to see?
I believe some people indeed hold blogs like their private diaries finding a freedom in the anonimity of the medium combined with a comfort in knowing that some people 'out there' care about them without the need to truely face them. In a way the internet functions like the screen set up in confession boots for them, a filter of identity that allows to share the inmost and most private in an environment they feel as safe and hopefully judgement free.
Can you imagine the uncomfortable feeling of being cornered at a party by someone you vaguely know who has had a glass too much and tells all you did not want to know about his or her current divorce? A 'tell all' blog gives many people the same uncomfortable feeling. With of course one difference: at the party it is very difficult to get away without causing a scene. On the net, we can easily click away, without a comment or a trace. Even people who prefer to share their intimate secrets in their blogs do not foist them on unsuspecting strangers, because those strangers have the choice to simply move on, without rudeness or ackwardness on their part.
Many of us now keep our blogs more like a 'log' or a chronicle. We chronicle our daily lives and opinions, while keeping that remarkable step back into discretion about things that are too private to share with a bunch of strangers, and often here we agonise, because we have things to say that we think might be interesting to others, or on which we truely want other peoples opinion, but over which we still feel some hesitance about speaking out in such a public sphere. (That is where my 'intimate subject' button appears, on topics that are just a bit more sensitive than I would like to talk about in a full voice amidst a big crowd.)
Most often we will read about happiness, activities, maybe some sadness,some doubts about theological, philosophical or political concepts, but few people will strip emotionally naked and many of us prefer this type of writing.
We want to get to know you, but we do not want to know your inner most secrets. Not until we have met you in person, or corresponded seriously for a few years and have formed a close personal bond, which would allow some soul sharing.
We want to root for you during problems, share in your triumphs, whether they are a new house or a finished craft project, and pray for you during your doubts or hurts on profound issues. Yet we acknowledge that there is another part of you, a private side, something that is for your eyes only, or maybe shared with those that are a part of your most intimate circle, your family and closest friends.
It does not mean that the people we meet through blogs are not real to us, or that we do not care. We often even become quite emotionally envolved in the lives of just a few of those people whose lives we follow through their blogs. We wish and hope for them. Sometimes we even cry for them. We care.
To say that 'meeting someone over the internet' is not real, would be the pinnacle of irony for me, since I actually met my husband over the internet, and here I am, less than five years later, feeling blessed by this every day. It is not the medium itsself that creates the distance, it is our own feeling of reticence, propriety and distance. For each of us this feeling is different. It is partly culturally determined and partly personal. That accounts for the diversity of blogs all through the internet.
I think what is most important is that, how much or how little we chose to share, we share the real us. Maybe not the most intimate us, the deepest us that belongs only to those we allow into our innermost circle. But the person that we would meet on the street. The internet can be a mask we wear or a medium we use. The choice is ours. Wether you chose to share your families recipes or your recipes for a happy life, your joys or your worries, with most people enjoy in a blog is to have the feelign that they are finding someone with whom they share something. An ideal, a hobby, a way of life or a quirky sense of humor. There are many reasons why I visit different blogs, and each one is special in their own way and for their own reason.