On Blogging: Part 2

Part 1 laid a theoretical backdrop against which to view the evolution of communication to blogging. My brother-in-law thought that it was a bit too simplistic, and I agree. However, the general pattern of modes of communication is this: with every move into a new paradigm of communication, something is gained while something else is lost. I’m going to try to run through some of the pitfalls—and how to deal with them—of blogging as well as highlighting the positive that keep me blogging.

One of blogging’s biggest problems is anonymity. You are always in control of how much of yourself to reveal to the cyberworld, and this is not compatible with real, vulnerable Christian community. Yet, this is appealing to those of us who’ve had bad experiences in church or are by nature introverts (like myself). The temptation comes in to replace real life, face to face community with that which you find online. I do not believe that online community can ever replace real world community.

Another problem with blogging is that the social networks it fosters tend to be self-organizing. If you happen to think that Christians should be practicing child-sacrifice (just to throw out an outrageous example), you’re bound to find some people to agree with you and thereby inoculate you against realizing that the reason it’s hard to find people who agree with you just might be that you’re wrong!

Both of these problems can be circumvented by cultivating community in the real world. Real world community is much more difficult and this will make blogging a real temptation to be a substitute.

Enough with the bad, on to the good! In a general sense, blogging is great because anyone can do it. Unlike previous modes of communication, blogging is not reserved for only the elite. Other than the price of a computer and internet access (which can be circumvented by the use of public libraries in many places), blogging can be done for free. Although I’ve just moved to my own domain (not free), there is still no way that any form of communication prior to this has been so accessible to so many. (And yes, I’m aware that the 2/3 world is less privileged in computers and internet access, but it is closer to their grasp than other previous forms of communication.)

Blogging is also wonderful because it allows for dialogue and interaction with people that you would not otherwise be able to. I have been blessed to read and participate in the blogs of thinkers who are exploring ideas in a similar field as me. I do not think that the emerging church thing would be anywhere near what it is without blogging. I’m not sure if I’m a part of that crowd or not, but following and participating in its discussions across various blogs has been great.

Finally, it is simply a way to express who I am. I love writing, and this is a great method in which I can share my writing. As an added bonus, it can be read and commented on by just about anyone in the world! This is a medium in which I hope to grow as a writer. Much more could be said about blogging, of course, but this is what matters to me right now.

5 responses to “On Blogging: Part 2”

  1. Matt,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on blogging in this two-part series. Lots of thought-provoking material.

    When it comes to us choosing how much we share about ourselves when it comes to blogging, I can see how we can control this more with this medium than in person communication.

    But don’t you think in person we also choose what we reveal to each other? I don’t know about you, but I find it a lot of work to find people who I can be truly open and honest with and trust them with that, and who reciprocate.

  2. John, thanks for commenting. You are correct that we also choose how much to reveal to each other in person. It’s also hard for me to find people to be reciprocally open and honest with. But I don’t conceive of being able to find those people on the internet, at least not too easily.

    In the real world, I can say to a brother or sister, “You seem to be holding back,” or “I think that you have something more to say,” etc. I can only say this because of the cues (largely body language, and maybe a dose of discernment) that I pick up during our interaction. I can’t figure out a way that this could happen well or consistently over the internet.

  3. I would have kept silent from my most recent posting if I had known that someone, like yourself, had done a more able job at articulating these points. Thank you I have benefited a lot from what you state.

    Coming at things from a different angle: people often misquote the scripture that states “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil” by saying “money is the root of all evil”. I wonder if the same principle is at stake when it comes to the issue of technology (blogging) etc? When we entrust ourselves uncritically and devotedly to the technology (medium) and all it can do for us, we leave ourselves open to all kinds of evil (whether subtlely or overtly). Perhaps not perfect, and a bit simplistic, but . . . .

  4. Hey Colin, thanks for commenting. I don’t think that I’ve done a definite job of covering the topic here. Your points about transiency and the narrowing of social interaction to a topic-driven format were well made and worth pondering.

    I do not know if what you’re saying really follows from that verse, but I still think that the principle you’re stating is spot-on. I can see lots of stuff following that. For instance, what happens when we start projecting sermons points and song lyrics onto the walls via powerpoint? It’s handy, but could it be making us too passive?

  5. […] I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the impact of technology on our lives, particularly in my recent posts “On Blogging” Parts 1 and 2. I’m no Luddite, but I definitely know that I could stand to spend a whole lot less time on my computer and online. I realized the other day that I read much more on the web than I do from books, and I don’t think that that’s a good thing. […]

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