Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blogs, a Sense of Community and an Awful Feeling of Inferiority

Photo: a Gym enthusiast! Neil, Ninglun, on the right.

I could not resist pinching this photo from Neil's site! It kind of illustrates something that I have been mulling over.

All bloggers know that blogging can be addictive. Non-bloggers think that this this comes from ego, bleeding one's soul to the broader world. There is some truth in this, but the reality is far more complex.

People blog for many reasons. For many of us, blogging is a way of establishing a sense of community. Here I take real pleasure in the way that, with time, links build between blogs and bloggers. I have watched this in the small community that I think of as my own blogging world.

I cannot manage the idea of 71 million blogs except as an abstract concept. I can certainly manage the idea of 40-50 blogs that somehow link. I can definitely manage the idea that bloggers become people with their own unique features. But there is one problem in all this.

Some of the blogs in that small community that I think of as my own are, quite simply, bloody good. I suppose that I am naturally a competitive person. Imagine, therefore, how I feel when I struggle to match what I see to be the high and growing standard in my immediate blogging world.

None of us should be put off because we cannot match the standard set by someone else in a particular area. After all, we all write for different reasons and all have different strengths. I do think, however, that we can and should learn from our blogging colleagues.

Postscript 27 May

In a response to this post setting out his own reasons for blogging, Thomas wrote:

I know that this blog generally serves as a distraction from university work for me, but I suspect that I also use it as an outlet to have the conversations that I don't have with other people (the whole six or so people that I speak to in real life), or at least blow off some steam that I otherwise would have to keep inside.

I think Thomas has captured something important here that I have talked about before, blogs as conversation. Further, it is conversation between people whose separation in age, geography and activity would otherwise preclude contact.

This links to a modern social trend that I have been meaning to write about, the attempts to find or build a sense of community in an increasingly busy, crowded and often isolated world.


Thomas said...

Very well said, and quite true, especially blogging for different reasons.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you for this, Thomas. Sorry for the delay in responding. I will add a PS to this post linking across to your own reasons for blogging.

Anonymous said...

Looking for somewhere to slip you this:

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you very much for the link, Marcel. What a mess, and one also in which, as you probably know, I have a direct if peripheral interest.

My grandfather as Minister for Public Instruction was directly responsible for the establishment of the College and for the arrangement with Mr Hinton. From that point there has always been some family link to the College, the collection and the surrounding events.

I will do a post on this at some point on the New England blog.