Thursday, August 30, 2007

In Defense of Blogging

My instructor in comedy writing class has encouraged we students to engage in daily journal writing as a means of sharpening our writing skills. He recommended that we run out and get a notebook or start a blog. Bonus for me - I already had a blog. That's one less notebook to buy. Score. So now, every other week or so the instructor goes around the room and asks each of us if we are still writing every day.

During one of these sessions I was surprised to hear one of my compatriots, a copywriter at a local ad agency and someone who's scene writing I actually respect, start talking the smack about blogs. Obviously I don't have the transcript in front of me, but it was something to the effect of 'I can't stand people bitching online about their mundane lives or about politics and religion or what have you, flattering themselves into thinking that other people actually care when in reality only three people are reading the crap anyway. I'm above that.'

This coming from a man who probably spends his day writing print ads for acne medication.

So of course when the instructor got around to me I had to confess my sins. "Well, Kiff (my instructor's name is Kiff), I did write something nearly every day this week but it was in a blog so it was mostly crap about my mundane life, religion and politics. I also wrote a long piece of drivel about a pirate."

If I had known I was just going to annoy the three people who read this thing, I never would have started.

Wait, no, I would have started it any way.

I would be lying if I told you that I'm only writing this blog for myself. Of course I intend for you to read this. Otherwise, why the hell would I bother posting it on the web? I could just as easily write a bunch of nonsense in a word document and still get that delightfully productive-feeling tying sensation on my finger tips.

But I don't know that the value of blogging is necessarily in the information conveyed in the blog. I'm not going to flatter myself into thinking that any ideas, opinions, or stories that I post on the blog are going to change anyone's lives or make anyone think differently. I mean hell, I wrote an entire entry about buying panties once. Where's the value in that?

The value is in the belief that, for whatever reason, the blogger feels that their experiences or their beliefs or biases or opinions are worth expressing to other people. It speaks to the importance of individuality and the right to express yourself to people regardless of whether you are conservative or liberal, whether you're a seasoned writer or an existentially distraught teenager, whether you're a Michigan fan or an Ohio State fan, whether you are expressing your love of Star Trek commemorative plates or your hatred of corporate America's influence on national politics. I could balloon this out into a freedom-of-speech-importance-of-free-thought-in-a-democracy tirade, but I don't want to alienate any of my steady audience of three people so I'll stop there.

I'll just leave with this. I know my compatriot didn't mean any harm with his anti-blogging tirade. But I say shame on anyone who tries to tell you they're above expressing themselves.


Joe Janes said...

Bravo, Nat!

And I can totally understand your classmate's point-of-view. It took me a long time to warm up to the idea of blogging because of the very reasons he expressed. It took discovering and reading a few blogs that rise above the din of people just writing mundane crap about their lives.

I'm inspired by people who are unique. Who can make me laugh and make me think. Your blog certainly does that.

Your classmate has probably also thought about starting a blog, but is worried his own output would fall into the categories he derides.

- reader #3

Crump said...