Why I Blog: A New Year’s Manifesto

Note: There are fireworks to follow:

“I sometimes wonder why I blog; I tell myself it’s largely to have a venue that forces me to think through vague ideas a little bit more than I would otherwise. And I do honestly think that’s the biggest part of it. But of course, I’m certain that part of it is also the idea that others will read it and perhaps respond. That’s a little bit of Vanity/Ego, but that’s not such a bad thing really. Pan Metron Ariston, and all that. –”

Beyond Anomie blog

I’m a regular reader of Beyond Anomie because Chris often raises provocative issues that linger in my mind and tease it into action, as this did. So I’ve been thinking for days about Why I Blog, and here’s the preliminary findings:

I blog because life is short and there are multitudes of things and people in it whom I will never meet unless we meet in cyberspace. After all, I can only live one life, I can only know what the view is like from the one place where I stand; how limited is that? Learning about the view from your vantage point enlarges me.

I blog because a blog is an unending digression, and to me the digressions are usually more interesting than the main story line. In Moby Dick, it was the whaling, not Ahab, that compelled me.  Tristram Shandy is a book which is basically one long digression, and as an 18th century blogger would have enthused (had there been such): I dote upon it!

I blog for conversation, the food and drink of life for me. With its opportunity for continuing comments back and forth, any given blog post is “to be continued,” not finished; in NewSpeak, AFN — all for now, but not necessarily for always.

I blog to find people who “speak my language,” with whose minds mine feels an easy rapport. This is not necessarily the same thing as agreement. It’s more a matter of sensibility — taste — style. Whatever it is, the recognition is immediate, and the conversation (see above) can begin, a conversation offering the opportunity to explore my own mind and thoughts, to challenge and to be challenged, to invite the unexpected, and ultimately —to change.

To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often,” said John Cardinal Newman. I believe that heartily; I am a sucker for transformation.

Ultimately I suppose I blog for the same reason I named my own blog Touch2Touch — to get in touch, to stay in touch, to be in touch.

And for that matter, why do any of us read blogs? Perhaps simply out of idle curiosity. As even Freud admitted, sometimes a cigar is only a cigar. But it’s easy to conjecture that there are as many reasons, and many of the same kinds of reasons, to read blogs as there are to write them.

So here’s to a thoughtful, reflective, inquisitive, heartfelt and connected 2011. I hope to see you on my blog, guys; and I’ll see you on yours. You lurkers, I’m thankful that you’re there as well. Have a happy and a healthy, Everybody, with fireworks to light up your sky all year long. Onward!

Photo by Jane Kennedy Gohl


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7 Responses to Why I Blog: A New Year’s Manifesto

  1. pauline says:

    Somewhere in my archives there’s a why-I-blog rumination. Mostly I do it for the pure fun of it. I’m mostly a misanthrope. Blogging keeps me from sinking into a hopeless me-morass where I’d miss entirely the light that shines from others.

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  2. beyondanomie says:

    I’m flattered by the name-check, and delighted to have sparked an entry in your own blog. 🙂

    I certainly can hear an echo of my own motivations when you talk about understanding the “view from your vantage point”. There’s something about actively writing down one’s thoughts that’s both iterative and exploratory in nature; a rare combination.

    Happy blogging in 2011!

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  3. Stef says:

    I really appreciated your comments about having an “all for now” but not necessarily “all for always” conversation, as well as the sentiment of finding like-style people with whom to connect. I agree, people who share my sensibility are ones my mind/heart/soul seeks – and these folks are the best ones to challenge me, stretch me, and help me move along this path called life.

    Now, on to your question: Why the heck do I blog? A few reasons:
    1) I feel compelled to create. *Compelled.* It’s more than a simple desire, it is a PUSH from somewhere deep within me. If I’m not creating (even if it’s just for my own little eyes) I feel not only dull, but depressed. But it’s even more than “depressed”; I feel nearly dead. Ugh. It’s bad.
    2) I also feel compelled to make the world a bit better, in whatever way(s) I can. I don’t have a lot of power, money, prestige; but I do have the ability to write well; and I do have some different ideas from time to time; and if I can touch one person, they might touch one person, who might touch one person… and we’re all familiar with the ripple effect.
    3) There is a bit of egoism involved in my blogging. As much as I don’t want to admit that, it is true. I like it when people read my stuff, and like it, and spend the time and energy to comment on it. It makes me feel good. Maybe one day I’ll be enlightened enough to where I don’t desire validation/approval from others; but I’m not there today.
    4) I’ve always been a “pen pal” kind of person; I appreciate making connections with people I might otherwise never get the chance to spend a wee bit of time with; even if it’s “only” a few minutes a week in an online format.

    I’m sure there are other reasons as well, but these are the ones that come readily to mind; so these are the ones that will have to suffice for today. : ) Thank you for posing the question; it was both a fun and meaningful one for me to address.

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    • Touch2Touch says:

      Thanks so much, Stef, for the long and thoughtful reply.
      I immediately resonate with your 1) being “compelled to create.” Especially the doubleness — which I’ve never quite recognized before — of not simply wanting to make something, but the depression, near deadness, that results from not doing so. It helps me a lot to be clear about it, and I never was before! So thank you.
      As for 3), we’re all raised not to want to admit to egoism — it isn’t quite “nice” to say “I”. This, in our culture where the most blatant out-of-control egotists snatch the gold ring every time —
      There’s a lot of schizophrenic standards shaping our lives!
      But the truth is that a healthy ego is necessary for a person to be a fully mature human being. It’s like Chris of Beyond Anomie says in the passage I quoted: what matters is Pan Metron Ariston, which I have a healthy enough ego to admit that I didn’t know. But thanks to Google I got it: it’s the Golden Mean, the ideal of the ancient Greeks. No ego = doormat; too much = self-centered arrogance. Let’s vow to be like Goldilocks, searching for “Just Right!”

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      • Stef says:

        Judith, you are most welcome for #1. I’m happy I was able to help you name something previously known but never quite overtly identified. 🙂

        As for #3, ego is a tricky little beast. For me, a tiny little bit of ego can run absolutely WILD; so I do my best to keep it in check. 😉 But yes, a “just right” dose is a lovely goal.

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