There are a number of blog posts that have been floating around in my head lately, but they hadn't coalesced until I read Facebook and the Greek Heroization of America at Breakfast with Pandora. Now, they've all come together in one long post.
Now, as I wrote in A Riff on Breakfast with Pandora OR The Purpose of Blog-Reading AND "You're Not There" by Pierce Pettis, BwP and I seem to have very different approaches to online interactions (and he's far better at writing brief titles). Although I differ with BwP, I'm not criticizing (even though this is a lengthy post).
In his very thoughtful post, which you should go read in its entirety, BwP discusses how recent innovations have changed the previous anonymity of everyday life:
...But now, with the reality show culture, video blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest, potentially all of us are now in a global competition for eyeballs, as we consider the most ordinary details of our everyday lives worthy of being published to at least our larger set of friends and acquaintances.
We are becoming the poets of our own myths, in 140 character plus segments.
We are becoming micromythologists...
I can see his point, and it makes lots of sense.
But it is so foreign to me.
Not that I don't like having people read my blog. I definitely enjoy it when more people read (and comment), but that's not my major goal, and it certainly wasn't the goal I started with* (although, if you want to make me happier, you could go check out our new blog, (grin)).
In many ways, it's similar to teaching aerobics. Some aerobics instructors have huge classes, others don't, and I've usually been somewhere in the middle. The huge classes are definitely an adrenalin rush to teach, but a small class of enthusiastic participants really makes me just as happy.
If only one person shows up? I try to throw myself into teaching that one person just as much as I would throw myself into teaching a large class. That's part of professionalism.
Earlier this week, I came up with a fun Broadway/aerobic routine to Greased Lightning, and I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to share it with the class I've taught for six years at the club that closed two weeks ago. I know that they really would have gotten a kick out of it.
Two weeks ago, I went back to visit the class, which I still couldn't take, knee-wise, in order to say "Hello again/goodbye" before the club closed. The class was only a shadow of its former self, number-wise. The club was fairly deserted, and the lights even seemed dimmer, but I was glad to see people again. I've enjoyed interacting with them for six years, and they've been an inspiration to me as far as choreographing routines. They pretty much have been able to do whatever I've thrown at them, though some did it high-impact and others low. And they loved the Broadway routines.
I'm really going to miss them.
There's the intellectual side to choreographing the routines, which includes making sure that all the muscle groups are used and the moves are varied enough. There's the more artistic side, making sure the moves go with the music and that it all flows well. I can do all of those making up moves at home. But it's the interaction and enthusiasm (mine and theirs) that make it all come alive in a class.
It's the same with blogging. I can enjoy putting the ideas together. Actually, I hate proofreading and editing. I do them because then the ideas come across better and a connection may happen.
Would I rather write something that a thousand people read but don't necessarily understand, or would I rather write something that five people understand and connect with?
Do I consider "the most ordinary details of our everyday lives worthy of being published" (emphasis mine) to be the point of blogging (or Facebook updating) about myself and my everyday concerns?
No. I don't consider them worthy. That's part of why I'm a quiet person. I don't push myself forward or expect people to listen to me. I'm amazed at those who do put themselves forward.
However, I blog, or Facebook, because I know someone out there is concerned or interested, whether they are family, friends, readers, or casual, internet passersby. On Facebook, it would be nice if the notices could be more specific. Not everyone that I have as a Facebook friend wants to know my results for the "What musical are you?" quiz (Phantom of the Opera). The same is true with blogging. Some people may read the musicals posts and skip the homeschooling ones, or vice versa. I don't expect everything I write to be equally interesting to all readers.
Back to BwP:
...Maybe we will get tired of hearing each other's stories, and loading up on those microbursts of pleasure and satisfaction from hearing about someone's trip to the DMV with Junior ("They grow up so fast!") or that someone else had papaya for breakfast (I read it, Beth. Brava!)...
I've had my DMV story (What I Didn't Say/"The One Who Knows" - Dar Williams). It's actually one of the posts I was the most pleased with - complete with book references, a Star Wars quote, and a beautiful Dar Williams song. I like the way it flowed from beginning to end.
And, although it's a familiar story and old hat to many, some people will connect with it (I can name a few (grin)).
As far as reading is concerned, the subject of a story also matters. If a story says something about the person, I'll find that more interesting than a story that just seems to be recounting details. The latter I find harder to focus on.
Maybe this emphasis is because I'm at such a busy stage of my life. I can write and be interested in analytical posts. But the only ones I usually carve out time to write are the ones where my emotions are more involved.
The same is true for reading. Because of our busy summer, I haven't had much time for blog reading. I keep up with (online and offline) friends' blogs and with a few informational blogs. Besides those, however, the blogs I'm most likely to read right now are ones where I feel something in common with the blogger - often personal blogs and momblogs. They may write about very common experiences, but they're writing well, and, in general, without a need to show off or condemn others (in other words, I'm not spending much time on political blogs).
I don't have an opinion on Twitter or video blogs because I don't know much about either, and I don't understand the appeal of Twitter. I would have agreed about the reality shows. After all, why would someone join one, and risk embarrassment and failure on prime time TV, if they didn't want fame and lots of people looking at them?
However, my daughter pointed out, recently, you get a different view if you look at the interviews with the dancers on So You Think You Can Dance. Although many dancers do mention the fame first, and I'm sure all would like it, many of them emphasize the opportunity to dance many different styles, from ballroom to Bollywood, choreographed by excellent artists, as their primary incentive to join the competition.
The first Riff on Breakfast with Pandora was about reading blogs; this second one is more about writing them. For me, blogging is about expression, and creativity (and proofreading), but also about connection. I'm happy that I still occasionally get comments on my Christian themes in Rent post from people who can relate to it in some way and who like what I expressed.
Does every post bring a connection? I don't know, but I always hope, and I've gotten to enjoy the writing also. Not as much as I enjoy taking photographs or choreographing, but, being not a very verbal person,** I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it at all. Being a very quiet person, I was even more amazed to find an audience.
* Actually, the reason I started my blog was to give myself a reason to practice writing. I'm really amazed (and quite happy) that you guys read it (grin).
** Remember, it's not polite to mention the length of my posts when I say that!
[It's lily and delphinium time in the gardens. Older son took the photo of the gladiolas in the vase.]
[Hey, look: One of my favorite aerobics instructor/trainers just accepted my Facebook friend request!]