Blogging is a rather new form of journalism, in the large span of the history of history (in terms of documentation and nonfiction writing). Why it has become such a large part of our society today can be attributed to several different reasons. In Andrew Sullivan’s article, “Why I Blog,” Sullivan seems to attribute his passion for blogging to the spontaneity of it all; the power of brevity and the immediate feedback from the public. He says, “Blogging requires an embrace of [hazards], a willingness to fall off the trapeze rather than fail to make the leap.”
When we blog, we jump headfirst into an audience and prepare ourselves for the possibility of not being caught. We take a risk and we are embraced by some for it and, sometimes, we just find ourselves having plummeted a thousand feet from the sky onto a group of unprepared strangers.
In other words, the benefit of blogging is that we cannot predict the future of anything we post. While this may sound like a deficit to some, Sullivan seems to embrace this as it provides this feeling of growth shared between both the blogger and the followers.
When I was in kindergarten, I started keeping a diary. Here I would write of just about everything I could spew from my mind; what I learned in school, what TV shows I really liked, getting in arguments with my friends—any spew of consciousness. Unbeknownst to me, I was not the only one reading this diary. My older brothers, in their spare time, enjoyed sneaking into my room and stealing this documentation of my history and reading all about my failed efforts to “brain blast” like Jimmy Neutron did.
The reason I am giving this petty, anecdote is because of the relationship I have found between journaling and blogging. Why did my brothers so thoroughly enjoy reading my diary? I am sure part of it had a lot to do with the thrill of just pissing me off, but the other part had a lot to do with why people read blogs. Here I was, throwing myself onto a piece of paper; providing all my thoughts and feelings on certain events, and there they were relating. They had once been in the same place as me, a sophomoric kindergartner and they were going through all the same events I was, just through the perspective of middle school students. It was riveting for them to take on the world from another person’s perspective; whether or not it was with the intention of mocking this person.
Essentially, what I am saying is that, while Sullivan spoke much of why we blog, he neglected to speak of why we read blogs. We blog for the sake of spewing out our thoughts and feelings on particular events. The spontaneity of it all feels exhilarating, and even the negative feedback allows us to reflect on our own thoughts. However, we read blogs to live through the minds of those around us.
Blogs would not be so popular were it not for that sense of “stream of consciousness” and “dramatic irony.” When we read a blog, we take on the persona of the author of the blog; we think and feel through their thoughts and biases. When we have finished reading their blog entry, we reflect on it in context to ourselves and then react. This is why blogs are such a significant form of media. In no other form of media can one truly place him or herself in the eyes of another. Most other nonfiction writing just provides the facts; blogs provide the feelings.
Written by: Maya Sicherer