The problem with blogging and getting followers and really putting oneself out there is that every post feels like An Article. I can't just write an off-the-cuff diatribe. Even though that is what blogging is supposed to be about. The beauty of self-publishing on the Internet is that you can get your message out fast. The ugly of self-publishing on the Internet is that while bloggers sometimes masquerade as journalists (I have been guilty of this myself), they have even less credibility than journalists. And that reputation is rightfully deserved in many cases. There's a lot of garbage on the Internet, opinion dressed up as fact, live-blogging and recording and sharing in real time--churning out copy and content so fast after the experience--sometimes during the experience that it seems the most followed bloggers can barely enjoy the experience for the need to blast it out to the world.
For the record, this isn't a slam on bloggers, having a following/fan base, or seeking (or achieving) fame and fortune through blogging. After all, as someone remarked about me recently, I am a writer, a blogger, a communicator. I almost feel compelled to share my knowledge and/or analysis with my friends and associates. Email and blogs are the perfect outlet for me to unleash my need to communicate with the world.
However, I struggle with this need for information--reading it, analyzing it, disseminating it. Which is funny because I don't generally watch the news, and glean what's going on in the world from The Dad's Reddit links, education blogs and a once-weekly cruise through The New York Times app or NPR. Or calling my mother, who is as addicted to MSNBC as I am to writing about education, parenting, society norms and my children.
As a writer, I am drawn to the need to share my story, my opinion, my analysis of a situation or event. Or maybe being a writer has nothing to do with it--maybe it's just because I'm opinionated. And have no editorial calendar.
I'm also a big believer in transparency. Perhaps because I try to be transparent. While I recognize the right and importance of privacy in many things, I probably would exercise it less than I do now if I were not contractually obligated to keep a lid on it. But where is the line between transparency and oversharing? And should everyone know what I think as soon as I think it? Is there value in getting information out there as soon as it is known? Or is it better to take a page from Lane Smith's book* and just "shut your big yawp"?
* John, Paul, George & Ben. I highly recommend it. It never fails to delight The Boy, The Girl and The Tot (who's no longer a tot). That particular quote pertains to Ben Franklin and his frequent dispensation of free advice.