Josh was telling me that he thinks blogs are self-indulgent, and he doesn't understand why people don't just use facebook and only facebook. I had to disagree. While it's true that some blogs are overly self-indulgent, I personally feel that blogging has many positive uses that outweigh the negative connotations of reveling in one's own life. And anyway, what is so bad about a little self-indulgence? Oprah has made herself a billion-dollar career out of it. So here are a few positive reasons for blogging:
1. Blogging is like keeping a journal, but more fun, because typing is easier on the hands than writing, and you can add pictures, videos, links, and all kinds of other stuff to your blog that you can't stick in a paper journal. What's more, a blog can be a community journal of sorts, devoted to one particular topic such as recipes, or child-care, or acting, and be a place more interactive than a regular website and yet less frenetic than a chat-room. Also, blogging is better than old-fashioned journaling because you can add labels to your posts for future easy reference, or you can quickly do searches of your text, and you don't have to kill trees.
2. Blogging helps me practice my writing skills. I have a dream of writing a book someday, but until then I've got to constantly practice putting thoughts into words. Blogging is a really good way to practice, as well as to record stories and imagery that might someday be useful in a book. It's a nice medium because its immediacy promotes quick improvisational thinking, and yet the ability to continually edit makes it writer-friendly.
3. Blogging keeps my family and friends informed about my life. Sure, they could get on facebook and read my status messages and find out that I love pink starbursts and laugh at stupid quiz results, but is that really any less self-indulgent? I could write facebook notes about my life, which are pretty much just like blog posts, but personally I find the blog format a bit more user friendly, nicer to look at without all the ads and junk, and just more fun. I could talk on the phone or write letters, but the problem is that I hate to talk on the phone and I don't enjoy writing the same stories ten times over again, which is what I would have to do if I wrote it all down in letters to people.
4. Blogging is like having my own little corner of the internet all to myself. Okay, so it's self-indulgent. But if my intentions are to promote good by talking about lovely things that happen in New York, for example, what is so bad about being self-indulgent? I like being able to design my own page, choose what elements to include in the side bar, and play with the colors of my blog. I like to know that despite all the filth on the internet, my little corner is full of nice things. For others, maybe blogging is an outlet for self-expression. Writing can be quite therapeutic.
5. Blogging is fun. I guess it's like any hobby. I mean, why knit a scarf? It's self-indulgent to be warm. Why play video games for three hours every night? That's not self-indulgent.
6. A blog can be anything you want it to be. It can be a music review forum. It can be a list of what you've eaten every day. It can be nothing but pictures of broken umbrellas. Facebook is going to always be facebook, but a blog has endless possibilities. Hmmm... this reason might be the same as #4, but who cares.
7. Then there is that element of voyeurism, and I'm not just talking about reading blogs. I have to admit that I enjoy writing things and wondering who on the other side of the world might somehow come across my blog post and read it. It's exhilarating to write down a thought and put it out into the ether where anyone can see it. Is it self-indulgent to think that other people might be interested in what I have to say? Well, even if only one or two people are, I still think that's pretty sweet. It's fun to get comments on blog posts from strangers who have read what I've written and connected in a positive way with something I've said. And even if nobody read my blog, I would still write on it, because I enjoy going back and reading old posts myself.
My point is that I'm definitely pro-blog. Josh already thinks I'm lame, so I might as well be self-indulgent too.