In his talk at Connected Worship on Friday evening Sheridan Voysey made a remark about bloggers and pondered if they were just people fishing for love. He wasn’t saying blogging was bad but he did question the motive and to some extent the purpose of many blogs such as this one.
It was a useful question to raise and I have to admit I did wonder to some extent is he right? Have I shared my story on here because I am longing for love and a wider connection with other people? In truth that has probably been the case at some points of the lifespan of this blog.
However, I want to argue that there are other, more healthy reasons why I blog and continue blogging.
Firstly, I want to share information. Yes, alot of that will be about my own personal experience but it is not “fishing for love” rather it is seeking to share my story in the hope that elements of it might help others. This sharing information isn’t one way. I am part of the Wibsite, a blogging community, and the wider blogging world and through engaging with blogs I get to share with others and their stories. Is there a voyeuristic element to this? No, not really. The blogs and stories I engage in tend to be of people I then often get to know in the physical sphere.
The second thing is that blogging is a public diary in some ways. It allows you to journal but in a way which means you are held accountable. There are times when I have been called to account either publicly through the comments section of my blog or privately through a phone call or facebook message. Ok, there are issues with this and as it is a public forum you do need to be sensible about what you do and don’t choose to share but if you are aware of that it can have this purpose.
The third thing is that through blogging you can sometimes challenge the perceptions of those around you in a way which you might not otherwise. One recent example of this is where I posted some of my coming out story. A friend read it and said it helped her think beyond the context which she was used to and to be challenged a little to think about things from a different angle. This can have a positive impact. I remember when Auntie Doris, who is now expecting a beautiful baby, blogging about her childlessness in the past and that being both moving and informative. Having heard her pain, and that was what was being expressed in those posts, I could be a little bit more understanding of and sensitive towards childless people. It also enabled me and others to celebrate with her and her husband that little bit more when the pregnancy was announced because we knew how desperately she wanted this child.
Penultimately, blogging can provide an outlet for reflection and be a useful method of engaging with debate.
Finally, blogging is a creative space. It is a space where people can write, share photography or drawings and in some cases share their finished craft work.
Making an Ass of Myself recently put up an excellent post about being part of online church which explained what this meant to him and it was a really useful post which picks up on some similar points to those I’m making but goes further in reference to that context.
So I think blogging is far more than people fishing for love, I think it is a space for engagement on all sorts of levels. That said, I also think we should regularly check what our motives are for using this medium, in the same way as we should regularly reflect on all the ways we spend our time and money. Andrew Jones (Tall Skinny Kiwi) has provided some helpful thoughts on this in the past including his bloggers prayer.