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Archive for May 27th, 2008

Thoughts on Blogging

On Sunday, I came across this article in the New York Times’ Sunday Magazine. Written by Emily Gould, it seemed to promise to be a story about the perils and pluses of having a personal blog. But halfway into this story, I was still trying to figure out why the magazine had chosen to dedicate thousands of words to the story, which as far as I could tell, was only about the incredible self-absorption of one twenty-something New York woman.

If you don’t have time to read the story (and unless you have half an hour to waste on a young, not very accomplished woman’s navel gazing, then don’t bother), let me encapsulate it for you – young girl out of college working in book publishing lands a job as a professional blogger for a NYC-oriented celebrity gossip site. Over the course of a year or so, she begins to blog more about her personal relationships, including an office romance. It seems to surprise her when this blows up in her face. Go figure. Moral – don’t share every choice you make with total strangers.

Much more interesting, I thought, was this story on one doctor’s controversial theory that the brain can be trained for bliss, or this story on the use of mindfulness meditation as a tool in psychotherapy. It seems to me that these are subjects worth blogging about here. Yes? No?

As much as I did not like Emily Gould’s story, it made me think I wanted to ask some questions here to you, my readers – whoever the heck you are. How much personal stuff do you want to know about the bloggers you read? How much personal information is too much personal information – not so much for me, the blogger, but for you, the readers?

I ask because these are questions that I have struggled with for a long time, and trying to answer them kept me from starting this blog earlier than I did. Part of my struggle is that, as a journalist, it just goes against my training to write about myself. The focus of my writing has always been almost entirely on other people. I am way more interested in other people than I am in myself. The other part of the struggle is that I ask myself, why would anyone care what I think? I am not clergy, an academic, a famous person, a particularly well-traveled or broadly experienced person, so why would anyone – besides my immediate circle of family and close friends – be at all interested in what I think about, say, the presidential candidates, world events or the latest installment of a certain television show? And the broader subject of this blog – the quest for a personal relationship with a divine being – is so subjective, so personal and so individual, how much of the details of my own feeble attempts at it are worth reading about?

And yet, from reading Emily Gould’s story, it seems that many readers are interested in just that. So the question I pose here is are you getting enough personal information about me and what I think about prayer beads and other forms of contemplative prayer on this blog? Does it help you when I write about something I tried or prayed and how it worked for me? Or is that TMI – too much information?

And if you struggled through the NYTimes story and had a different opinion, I’d like to hear it.

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