Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blogging. Really?

First, let me get this off my chest.

Blogging has always seemed to me a narcissistic endeavor. How egotistical can I be to assume there are others out there who have reason to care about anything I have to say? Blogging is not simply journaling; blogging is for the public domain. To blog is to assume others are interested. To blog is to assume your voice should be heard, nay, broadcast to the global blogging community. Who exactly do I think I am to begin a blog?

I am someone who would prefer to publish my thoughts in the traditional sense of the word. I want to write a book. I want to have something substantive to say. In reality, I want to be heard at the cost of $19.99 per copy. Who's narcissistic now?

Lately I have looked at blogging through different eyes.

My concern with blogging is that it is essentially about me. I write my thoughts, assume they are worth while for you to read, and invite you to come back for more. This is the inherent shortcoming of the blogging enterprise. However, recently I had an experience that challenged my perspective.

I am a youth minister with a smaller church in the Detroit area. I serve a group of roughly twenty in grades 7-12, and I could not ask for a better bunch. Last night we had a devotional at the home of one of our families. All went well. Turnout was good was good, food was good, message was good, everything was good. Toward the end of our time together I made a plea for students to consider joining a leadership council I hope to launch this fall. What started as a commercial quickly evolved into a ranting sermon of sorts.

Where did that come from?

Lately I have been frustrated at the unwillingness of others to listen. Everywhere I go others force their thoughts and opinions on me whether I want them or not. I do my best to listen - to truly care. Unfortunately, most of the time I have the impression those same people have little concern for my thoughts or feelings on similar matters. I end up on the listening end of most conversations, unwilling to advance my ideas in discussions where other parties couldn't care less what I think in return.

I am a minister. It is my job to listen. In fact, I think I am quite good at listening for the most part. My voice does not need to be heard on every matter and that is perfectly fine with me. But there are those times. Sometimes I want a voice in the conversation.

Last night my teens were victim of my need to be heard. Weeks of pent up frustration translated into an abuse of power directed at undeserving parties.

On the drive home it hit me. I need an outlet. Though I fear blogging to be inherently selfish, misuse of power for the sake of pacifying my ego is a far greater evil. Maybe blogging has its place after all.

So there you have it. Call me neurotic. Though I am attempting a blog, I may never be a "blogger". I'm still not sure how to feel about all that. In the mean time, I simply need an outlet. Sure, I could journal privately and avoid my misgivings of a public forum. For the sake of experiment, I am sharing my thoughts with others this time around...



Casey "C.P." McCollum said...

I have thought about blogging and you NAILED my thoughts on it...But, know that you will have one consistent reader :)

Kari said...

do it!

you know you'll love it.

(or maybe not. . .and then you just stop. it's pretty forgiving.)

good luck!!!

Jeremy Hegi said...

Dave your such a narcissist- no really.....just kidding...I hope your experiment serves you well in your ministry

Sarah said...

So if I've been blogging for 5 years does that make me Queen of Narcissists? :-)

I love blogging but have learned over the years that a filter is very necessary.

My personal rules:

1) I rarely vent or rant on my blog unless it's against some major faceless entity. Ha.

2) No personal attacks.

3) I'm careful about what I say on the internet about my family and friends - from how much I reveal (almost none) to how I portray them.

4) This is the rule that rules them all: I never blog anything I wouldn't want someone in my life to find and read, or that I would be ashamed that I wrote, decades later.

I know that many treat blogging as a personal journal, but I think that if you're any kind of a public figure at all or if people at your job read your blog, it's just best to be careful and not treat it such.

I vent in private venues but blog for the public, if that makes any sense.

If you're interested - I love problogger.net - he is an ex minister who has become a very famous blogger. His blog is about blogging - from etiquette rules to the technical aspects of it.

Hopefully you aren't regretting putting the blog link on facebook now that I've found it! Haha!

Oh - and welcome to blogging!

Sarah said...

I apologize for hogging your comments but I just had to come back and share my favorite thing about blogging to a new blogger friend:

The conversations & the community.

When I blog I often open it up for discussion and as time permits I try to talk back to my readers. It gets people involved and passionate. They get to share their opinion to, not just listen to mine. I have not only learned many new things this way, I have also made new friends.

That's my no. 1 favorite thing about blogging. Not just listening to the sound of my own voice but allowing others' voices to enrich my life and thoughts as well.

Ok I'll end here before you tell me to shut up. :D

Franklin Wood said...

Hey Dave, welcome to the blogworld, my friend!
Blogging is definitely a great outlet, in my opinion. I've had quite a summer, and blogging has really helped. In fact, many people have stopped by my blog (not because of my tantalizing wordsmithing skills!) because of recent happenings and to offer encouragement.
It is a constant fight whether I blog for myself or for (the praise of) others. But I am interested in writing, and my favorite author on the subject (Natalie Goldberg) says that I should free myself to "write the worst junk in the universe, but practice, practice, practice!"
You'll be surprised how a blog you thought was awful will bring the most comments.
Welcome and see you around!