Thursday, September 19, 2013

On the Dangers of Blogging

I have said a lot lately that blogging is a big conversation, and while I never saw myself speaking in a public forum about my love life, I have done so. Let me tell you it was scary and exhilarating and, at points, confusing to have such a personal subject out there on the internet. Oddly enough, this post is not really about singleness, but more about my recent experience of blogging. 

Over the last few days I have seen the blog post above floating around Facebook, and it has generated a lot of conversation. Her post is not only about a common experience, but also about how people interact with a part of her life that is deeply personal. What she communicates so well in this post is that sometimes something so personal can feel very public. Being out of place with what we feel we ought to be doing can often make us feel like we are subject to the commentary of others. 

I've gone and made something public that I never thought would be. In the midst of all this I hear other people sharing their stories and thoughts- finding a place to use their own voices to talk about something that might be on their mind or heart. It can be easier to write a comment or an email and send it off into social media where it is several steps removed from face to face communication and there are advantages to that. Written communication, when focused correctly, zooms in on ideas. We can talk about the nuances of something that is shared across miles, crafting our thoughts, honing them to say what we want to say. That can be a very good thing. 

The same distance that makes it possible to talk about ideas across the miles also makes it possible to forget that we are talking with people about ideas. It is easy to see what someone writes as just what someone write and it is, essentially. But it is also personal. Each person speaks out of their experience and motivation. And we live in a world where sharing your opinion is common place. This makes a live possibility that our ideas and opinions will personally impact someone miles away, without understanding for their context. That also is what it is, and by participating in this global conversation, we are opening ourselves up to that possibility. I think it is important that we talk about ideas with compassion. Absolutely, let's talk about it. I think that we will be missing out on one of the biggest opportunities of our time if we were to shy away from these conversations. 

You might be thinking that this post is a reaction to feedback from those who have read this blog or responded. It is not. Everyone who has interacted with me about my blog has been respectful and kind, for which I am very thankful. Truthfully, I wrote about things that were on my heart and mind and I found out that they are on many hearts and minds, and that surprised me. I want to enter into this medium and participate in the larger discussion, and you actually want to talk about the same things. I was not prepared for that. My quiet little blog has been not so quiet lately and that has been a learning curve for me. These thoughts on social media are fruit of my internal learning curve. I am learning first-hand that social media is a strange blend of public and personal.