Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why Blog About It?

Recently, I've been thinking about what it is that makes me continue to write this blog.  In our world full of facebook, twitter, and blogging, we are often accused of being a culture that is too focused on promoting ourselves.  Some believe that we have lost our sense of privacy and now expose way too many personal details to the worldwide web.  They believe that it is creating a self-centered culture of people who overly value their own thoughts and opinions or place too much weight on them.  Allow me to share a quote from one such critic:

"In today's self-broadcasting culture, where amateurism is celebrated and anyone with an opinion, however ill-informed, can publish a blog, post a video on YouTube, or change an entry on Wikipedia, the distinction between trained expert and uninformed amateur becomes dangerously blurred. When anonymous bloggers and videographers, unconstrained by professional standards or editorial filters, can alter the public debate and manipulate public opinion, truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged, and reinvented."*

In many ways, I agree.  I have seen more personal information on the internet that I care to have known.  I sometimes cringe at the things my friends write or post, and I have wrinkled my nose at things celebrities may tweet.  In fact, I resisted creating a blog for a while, presuming that it would seem too self-important or that I would be crazy to believe strangers would actually find my words interesting.  When I started this blog, I had no idea what to expect and no plans.  I realized that the only subject in which I could never run out of things to say is literature.  I had no idea that this would become such an outlet for me.

It has not been too long since I finished college, but I do notice the absence of literature classes.  Even though I am happy with my job, the 9-to-5 lifestyle can get a little monotonous.  Nobody asks me to read anymore, and I certainly do not get very many opportunities to write.  The creative expression and careful analysis that used to be so regular is now largely absent from my life... except for with The Lit Quest.  I love feeling a little pressure to continue to write.  It bothers me when I let too many days go by before I've entered a new post.  Moreover, it also urges me to keep reading.  If I didn't, I would quickly run out of anything to tell you!  And when I do write about something I've read, it is by far the best way for me to actually process it.  It's usually the first time I've really put to words what I thought or uncovered the specific reasons I enjoyed the book.  And when someone recommends a similar book in the comments section, the cycle continues.

I do not write in this blog because I think I have something important to say.  I write because I have a need to write.  There is something inside of me that feels squished and forgotten if I do not have an outlet for creativity and analysis.  The blogging culture is not turning us all into self-promoters, at least not in my experience.  Perhaps I'm biased because I've just connected with you all in the book blogging world, and that's probably the best kind of blogging there is.  :)  Instead, book blogging allows us to carry on this marvelous hobby of reading on a global scale.  These critics of blogging are probably the same ones who think that no one reads anymore and all we do is watch TV.  Well guess what - there are still a ton of us who read and care enough to talk about it.  Although my blog is still quite modest, I have grown to be so appreciative of all 49 of you followers and anyone else who may occasionally pay attention.  I am so happy if any of you are intrigued by a book I mention or have an opinion about my interpretation.  However, even if I somehow lost every follower, I would probably still write.  This blog has been a wonderful outlet for me, and I'm going to try to keep taking advantage of it, even if that makes me a full-blown member of an amateur culture.

*This quote comes from Andrew Keen's book, The Cult of the Amateur.


jillian said...

I agree 100%. :-)

Bev Hankins said...

Absolutely! Especially your last paragraph!

Darlyn (Your Move, Dickens) said...

I agree with everything you said, and you expressed some things I've been mulling over these past couple of days. I graduated from college a couple of months ago with a degree in Literature, and I recently started working. I was struck by the absence of literature in my life, and became glad that I still had my blog. It lets me express my love for books, and connects me to people who love reading as much as I do. :)

Greg Zimmerman said...

Nicely said! Couldn't agree more about how important a creative outlet is. That, first and foremost, should be the purpose for a book blog - at least it is for mine. I remember when I started, I did it just for me, and I figured if anyone read it, that'd be a bonus. I get annoyed by the blogging-hoping, nothing-but-meme-posting, bloggers who seem only to throw stuff into cyberspace as a way to bump up a meaningless follower number. Instead, connecting with and networking with other bloggers with a true interest in discuss books is much more valuable, and fulfilling. Thanks for a great post!

Allie said...

I love the freedom I have in blogging. I can write and explore what I want. And since starting my project, I have read so much great has been wonderful to fill in the holes in my life!

Excellent post!