Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why Blogs Don't Work...

I've already given my reasons for why I've left Facebook, but I've also taken a break from blogging for a while.  Although with blogging, I'm willing to give it another chance, because from my perspective, I believe it can be more easily redeemed than something such as Facebook.  

Blogs, like Facebook are by nature usually quite narcissistic.  It's usually an attempt to promote self, or some grand idea that really is a masquerade for promoting self.  (i.e. look how smart I am, with this profound advice or experience; let's fill the comment section with how great I am).  It becomes all too easy to promote ideas or experience as gospel truth, and anyone who questions those ideas or experiences is being insensitive at best, intolerant at worst.  

As I've grown as person, I've learned that sometimes, people just have bad advice, and other times, people just give the wrong advice.  Just because it's blogged about doesn't mean it's true, and yet we see it that way.  

Along with this point is the fact that blogs can serve a smoke screen to hide reality from the audience.  I can take a story where I reamed out my kids for something stupid and paint it with words into this beautiful or funny anecdote with a wonderful message, but that doesn't change the fact that I have a real problem yelling at my kids.  Furthermore, I can say I "know" I have a problem getting frustrated with my kids, and by "confessing" it in a blog, I'm being "authentic", but really all I'm doing is using the internet as my priest and I have no real intent on changing.  Frankly, the hard work of change doesn't happen on a blog post, it happens in the shadows of the drudgery of life.  And unfortunately, that's not as glamorous as a blog post that goes viral.  

Another problem with blogs is that the forum validates all experiences.  Frankly, that just logically doesn't work.  All experiences can't be valid.  You can tolerate all experiences, you can hear out all experiences, but they're not all equally healthy valid expressions of life.  Everyone sees themselves as right in their own eyes;  I know I do, and the last thing I want to do is use my blog space on the internet to further ingrain in my head how right I am and how wrong everyone else is.  

So, can blogs be different?  Can I redeem this space?  What would a redeemed blog look like?  

1)Humble attitude:  Yes, it's my blog, but that doesn't mean I'm always right.  I've got to be teachable.  If I provide a piece of parenting advice or a leadership principle or a rehashing of an experience I've had, does that mean I'm necessarily right?  Of course not! I never want to write as if I know everything.  

2)Appropriate authenticity:  On one hand, I don't want to paint myself as having it all together.  That's important.  But like I stated before, the more insidious aspect of inauthenticity on a blog is that idea that by being "real" on our blog, it somehow absolves us of checking back into the drudgery of the real world and working hard at relationships.  A blog better not matter more than loving my child.  A blog better not matter more than my husband.  A blog better not matter more than a hurting student at church.  It's just a blog, and at the end of the day, it's going to always be like priority 15 on my list, because being authentic in real life takes a lot of time and work.  

3)Real conversation:  Oh my gosh.  If you're going to talk about how awesome my post is, just don't waste the time writing a comment.  First of all, I'm an achiever at heart, so telling me how awesome I am doesn't help my cause.  Second of all, I'm only 27, so by definition, I'm not that awesome, because I have like zero life experience.  I don't have the answers to the universe's problems, so let's save the comment section for offering different perspectives, constructive criticism, and the like.  Let's have a genuine conversation, and for goodness sake, let's have the comment section be a safe place to disagree.  

So that's kind of how I imagine a healthy blog functioning.  Humility, "real" authenticity (that should be a redundant phrase, but authenticity is such a hip catch phrase today that it's sadly not redundant), and real conversation (as opposed to butt kissing).  

My vision for blogs that function like that was inspired by Richard Beck's blog