While reading this, it hit me — at least in part — why I write blog entries that barely anybody reads.
First: the few people who read what I write generally like what I write, and I enjoy seeing what they are up to. (Most people who read this blog are people I know in person and online.)
Second: even if nobody read these words, I’d still write entries. Blog entries are different than handwritten journal entries I keep. In a journal, there’s no audience…or feeling that I’m writing for an audience. With a blog, even if no one reads, there’s a certain focus required because, in the back of my mind, I think about others reading what I’m writing.
It all got me thinking last night…
The News Effect
Somewhere in my teen years, before people chatted online, commentary was usually found in the op-ed section of newspapers. I remember hearing my step father all but regurgitate points made in the Chicago Sun Times, to relatives and family friends, as though the points were his own. In ways, I suppose they were — at least points he agreed with and carried as his own. Later, when cable came around, I remember hearing my father sharing commentary he heard on television as though he came up with the thoughts himself.
As 24-hour news stations became a thing, I heard more people presenting things they agreed with, that somebody else said, as their own thoughts.
With the rise of websites and social media, I heard it even more: people using something they heard elsewhere as their own talking points. We now know politicians and 24-hour news stations push talking points to their audiences in the hope the people watching and reading and listening present the points as their own. (FoxNews mastered this, but they are not alone in doing it.)
Why I Write Blog Entries that Barely Anyone Reads
I write blog entries to see where I stand on things. I write blog entries to take a point I find interesting and push it this way and that, to see how it holds up to scrutiny.
I write these entries as practice, to keep my mind ready to stand on its own, and to have the confidence that when I open my mouth to speak, there will be at least some structure in what I’m saying.
I write these blog entries to get things out there so I don’t feel the need to always be the one speaking, because in writing, I’ve already had my say.
In a weird way, I write these entries because I find that once I’ve had my say, I don’t mind just sitting back and listening to others, instead of always feeling the need to chime in and be heard.