Thursday, June 21, 2007

Raison d'etre

So you have come to read my blog. Why do I write this blog?

One of the major reason for blog is to share interests and to gain attention. Academic writing is much the same, except your livelihood likely depends on it. Reputation is the most precious commodities in modern society, and you need both interests and attention to gain it.

Unlike academic writing, many blogs, like this one, is written by an anonymous writer, with oh so clever title and pen name, and maybe a nice picture in the profile. Anonymity is necessary in some cases, but only because the writing causes some harm to his or her reputation. It is possible to write a blog with your name on it, except that it only causes you to be less emboldened. Serve the content with weakest of sauce so as not to harm anyone. It is the bigger brother of your superego which holds you back - the social consequences of revealing the point of contention to the public audience.

Public writing is an art. I, for one, had another blog to my name. It was anonymous, but of course only one to two people read it for one article that reviewed a product. Is that worth the effort spent? No, I think not. Some are diaries - some friend have invited to view her blog diaries, and I have read it from time to time. I don't do it anymore. There really wasn't any point in reading about someone's life where I had almost nothing to do with it. I don't reside in her city and most of her writing was about her social life. The other was about her personal life. She is my friend and while she insisted in visiting her site, but was told not to say anything about what she has written to others. I found it rather perverse to not be able to acknowledge the blog's presence to my other friends: so I stopped reading.

But I do search the web from time to time and encounter some beautifully written personal essays. It's like how I use Amazon from time to time, or some listens obsessively to a political rant, or subscribes to a podcast which eats up half an hour or more of your time during the week. It's the fact that it can be searched and picked up and enjoyed for minutes at a time which makes a blog such a wonderful thing. I want people to agree with me. I also want to hear the other view (but of course not so much as the other, and you know you are lying if you say do don't). I want to be validated by others as much as many people do who read the web.

As I said, public writing is an art. And it is a very strange art. It is for public viewing, but it is not invasive in any way, unlike sound and sight - you need the reader to collaborate by reading. This makes public writing a personal art. You have to read this to hear me*, and you are alone in this act. But I would like to tell you that you are sometimes a lot like me, and would like to know that I am not alone to feel this way.

- WiS

*Unless you are reading this aloud to others, in which I would like you to stop right now - I think most beyond the age of preschoolers would prefer reading the material by himself.