We punctuate our lives with milestones: first steps, first words, starting school and graduating, marriage, pets/children/livestock (select your preferred order), anniversaries, birthday, etc. Often these are times of celebration and reflection. Though I started blogging only at the beginning of the year, this is my 100th blog post. Time to consider what blogging has become.
As I have gotten into the blogging thing, I have contemplated how this form of communication functions in relationships. Some of my ideas, I addressed early on in my Short History of Communication blog. Whenever something new develops in society, I tend to try to see if it is essentially an old form of something else just with new technogoly. For instance, is an I-Pod (MP3 music player) a juke box? a walk-man or transistor radio with better sound and music selection? a stack of 45’s (remember the singles with A and B song?)? Tin-Pan Alley sheet music? Well, back to bloggelling myself…
Journalism… In some ways, blogging appears to be replacing print media. Who needs to wait for the newspaper to be delivered when one can google “Japan, Tsunami” minutes after a friend texts from Hawaii informing you that he has just be evacuated to high ground, as 6 a.m. EST? Who needs to wait for the weekly news magazine to come out, when friends can write excellent commentary on the latest (45th?) Republican candidate debate hours after it occurs? Yet, one difference I might expect is that print media has a bit more authority, veracity, and ethics than bloggers whose fact-checking may be reputable or scant. Oh, Murdock, who? I will stick to my letters to the editor style, high in opinion and hopefully somewhat reliable.
Letter writting… I have been a long time letter writer, probably to the horror of family and friends who have seen my penmanship. My strength has been in dependability and content, not spelling and legibility. While most of us enjoy a “real” letter in the mail box, my readers probably get a lot more out of this blog format. In contrast, letter writing is inherently personal, except for the annual Christmas letter, while blogs go out to the general public. Thus, I write blogs with a little more broad perspective and voice, kind of like the annual Christmas letter, just on a wider range of topics.
Diary… You might think that I am a bit compulsive if you saw the boxes of correspondence that I have going back to my parents letters from Japan (in 1980) and my grandmother’s letters of the same era. Yet, I have never been a consistent journal writer. I think keeping a diary can be a great exercise in self-understanding, a dull chronicle of daily tasks, or a way of literarily barfing in a book. Looking back at my journals, they are mostly barfing up anxiety and distress. I hope that I do not subject too many of my readers to such uncertainty and dread.
Conversation… I still baffle people when I mention that I do not have a cell phone. Frankly, I have to work at phone conversations. I like to keep my connectedness at a distance. Blogs and e-mails work fine for this: post, comment, moderate. This is my speed. I am also not thrilled with the idea of gatherings of people. Two to four folks over dinner is good. Sitting on the deck or taking a walk with someone is good. Six or more might as well be six thousand, for the sense of clutter and distortion that interferes with my ability to concentrate on someone else’s voice and line of conversation. Crowds tend to change the topic too quickly for stories to develop and complex thought to evolve. Blogs work well for depth, though some might wish that I had fewer inspirations and would get to the point.
So, after 100 blogs, 5002 views, and 339 comments, what is blogging about for me? Relationship. Whether I pick up a journalistic style one day, writing a letter the next, penning a diary submission after that, or having a conversation, the aim is the same, to foster our relationships through dialogue and ideas. Oral history helps us relate. We outline what we did, construct meaning from those events, imbed a few good laughs and occasional tear, to the end of enhancing our relationships. Through this technology, I have connected more with family and friends, even some whom I have had sporadic interaction with over the decades, and found a few new cyber friends along the way.
Now, my dogs would like me to find a way to blog with one hand, so that the other is free to pet them… Better check on what my wife wants!