does blogging have a purpose?

Blogging feels heavy lately*.

The unspoken expectation of snark, controversy and condescension permeates blogs and the act of blogging. The genre matters not. What gets read is hot button topics, snide commentary and kabob point humor.

It’s not that I can’t do any of this. It just makes me feel like a karma polluter.

My gig at Care2 is case in point. Posts that aren’t tinder worthy of the forest fire kind don’t get read. If a blogger’s posts don’t garner hits they won’t prosper – bonus wise or in the eyes of their editors.

I am double-whammied at Care2 because I believe that the current trend in education reform is even more revolutionary than Obama’s piddlin’ health care bill. I think it should be covered more extensively.

Readers don’t care. They want edu-fluff. They want to be outraged by preschoolers forced to cut their hair (the kid in question had hair longer than Dee’s and the parents weren’t pulling it back – because he was a boy and hair ties are “girly”) or by kids being punished for writing on school property or equally local “who really cares in the larger scheme of things” TMZ stuff.

I write about issues. I don’t want comments to devolve into flaming based on personal issues – which happens there a lot. How can behaving badly in the comment box further a cause? Really.

But even here or at 50 Something, I feel a premium is being placed on my ability to write cute and clever and that substance is of lesser value.

A little cute is going a long ways with me these days. Even my Facebook status updates make me feel unworthy of the ability to string words together because they are so … typical … of what we do in the ‘sphere.

The medium has(d) so much potential for good, but the traces being left are so banal. Banality being the deepest root of what is deemed “evil”, am I a positive or a negative?

I have to give a workshop this weekend about the Internet as a tool for writers. I don’t know what to tell them. Everyone sells, and what they are selling is mostly meaningless and for the purpose of acquiring … what?  Just acquiring it appears.

I have work to do. Later.

*I wrote this to put up this morning, but changed my mind until I finished reading chapter two of the Sutras this afternoon. Ahhh, Patanjali.  I am not in turmoil, but I feel a change of direction/motivation/inspiration that is difficult to express. Perhaps it is time to do something. Or perhaps I am doing it? Or maybe it is catching up with me or I with it. I am still quite a base person as evidenced by my glee over this, but I find that I hesitate to share things like this and isn’t that the nature of social media and the web?

Yesterday’s piece prompted a conversation with my husband on its tone and then ultimately on what the continued purpose of blogging is for me. It’s a legitimate and timely question. I began blogging in July of 2006 as a means of self-therapy about six months into my widowhood. Blogging eventually became a way to build up my writing muscles and a way for me to share my journey from widowhood to a new life. Somewhere along the way this last year, it became more about the writing than the sharing though as I would veer away from self-exposition to the merely topical. Thursday I fell backwards with my views on alcohol. Harsh views. Views colored by my own experiences and my own family and my own choices. As my husband, correctly, pointed out, I was not taking culture into account and what I view as not the norm and unhealthy is probably quite the norm and in the eyes of the practioners not unhealthy at all. But the thing is, blogging is the most “I” centered form of first person narrative there around. In a blog, the narrater is character, commentator and as omniscient as it gets. Because a blog is an all about me thing. Whether I am topical – with the Obama piece the other day – or color commentating on society and culture or just sharing odds and ends from my life, this blogging thing is all about me.Which begs the question then, why am I blogging still? Do I have therapy left? Do I need to develop more writing discipline? Do I have aspirations of finding some vast audience and selling them to the highest advertising bidder? The answer is not simple. I don’t really know why I am still blogging. More and more I feel as though I am the central character in a soap opera. People come and they read and they leave without comment much the way they would watch a serial on HBO. I am entertainment at best or at worst some sort of Truman Show. They say that blogging is one of those ultimate forms of narcissism. Maybe. I did say earlier after all that blogging was a me thing. But if most bloggers are like I was when I began this (an insanely presumptious leap) then it is more a case of someone for whom giving and care-taking is the norm of their real world and the virtual universe is where the worm turns and evens up the score. But, I can’t say that my life today is all about others. There is tremondous balance for me now. Moreso than at any other point of my life. Still I hang onto the blogging. It’s just not enough to journal – to write for myself anymore. Maybe as I find more of my voice as an author, I will need my blogging voice less or not at all. Who knows. I just know that blogging is all about me really and that some people like to read about what I think, do and feel. I guess that I am lucky because unlike poor Truman. I am at least writing my own scripts.