… That is the question.
Why do people blog? Is it because they are aspiring writer trying to get a bigger platform (hopefully get enough readers, including some publisher who is interested in getting their work printed), just to ease the burden of their mundane lives by sharing whatever deemed worth-sharing to the rest of the world, get their ideas and opinions across, express themselves in the only way they find their voice -otherwise they are invisible to the world, or all of the above?
Some people see the internet as the end of journalism. Any people can write things on the internet without any proper grammar or spell checking, let alone journalism training. Why read newspaper editorial if you can get outrageous/opinionated articles on whatever issue on the internet? It is like you have a lot of tinted spectacles, be it red, green, blue, fuchsia, teal (all colors available on the home improvement catalogue), through which you see the world. Now all major newspapers in the world have their online edition and they give comment section for us to rave and rant. I enjoy reading those comments, how people can fight over their difference of opinion. Some people feel the need to declare their love or hate towards any objects, from Justin Bieber to government’s policies. It is okay, though I doubt this is what Thomas Jefferson and friends had in mind when they came up with the First Amendment. People really blog about anything, innocent and provocative stuff included (ex. hate your neighboring country? just google your choice of blogs, photographic shots of your neighborhood, fashion and style, your daily calorie intakes, recipes and cooking/baking tips and tricks, EVERYTHING.)
Do anyone out there read? Well, there is a site stat to help you measure your popularity in the blogosphere, if you care. Who am I kidding? We care. If not, we would write in our diary, journal and hide it along with our secret stash (okay, probably not so secret, chips and pleasure-inducing toys). Same goes with trying to get your Twitter followed or get four or five-digit friends on Facebook. We want to be heard. We want our presence to matter.
Personally I am thankful for blogs. I rarely eat outside without some prior checking on internet reviews, and blogs are really useful. The people who write those stuff are people like me who just want a pleasant culinary experience, not people who get paid to taste the food and write favorable reviews. Before any trips, I read lots of people’s experience in that particular place, how they traveled from place to place, where they stayed, what to eat, what to expect, what not to do. Thank God these people were willing to share their experience to the world!
Nevertheless, there are many blogs out there which are not only useless in terms of intellectual pursuit, but also toxic and borderline racist, dangerous and pathetic. I am not big on blogwalking (geez, I don’t even enjoy reading my posts in the past. “What was I thinking when I wrote this?” was my reaction when I read my previous posts.) but from time to time I stumble upon these poorly written and edited blogs which I must admit, are nauseating.
Of course it all depends to the readers to decide on the quality of our readings (newspapers, books, magazines, blogs, all included) but I think we as bloggers must also apply some humility before hitting the ‘publish’ button. Do some thinking before we let everyone know what we are doing and what we think about stuff. If they are facts, have you check them? Are you sure it is not hoax to stir controversy? If they are opinions, are you sure this is what you believe to be true? Are you sure this is worth-sharing? Do you really want to write that extreme opinions on sensitive subjects, knowing that it WILL hurt others? If it is your life, are you aware that promoting your self image this way (ex. sharing EVERY overseas trip EVERY month, sharing your EVERY shopping spree, sharing EVERY happy moment of your perfect life EVERY day) can instead alienate your friends and make them hate themselves (and probably hate you for making them feel that way)? The opposite is also true, sharing your depression in excruciating details, dissecting your bad day, how you feel that the world has time and time again fail you, is a sure way of getting yourself ditched, at least off my bookmarks. Can you admit you might have been slightly emotional with your choice of words (for us who write about personal stuff, let’s see…on break-ups perhaps?)
Wise men say not to be afraid to take sides or to have opinions. They also advise that if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.