My Take on the Blogosphere
There seems to be two kind of people; those who read, enjoy and write blogs (as well as other print media such as newspapers and magazines), and those who don't. I, obviously, am in the first camp, but am a little confused about the other.
I have always staunchly asserted that a good way to learn about someone is through their online presence, if they have one, that is. But, there is more than just learning about someone; I have found you can actually learn something from reading blogs. Well-constructed blogs which feature good writing, interesting photos and solid information or opinions that cause the reader to think are a goldmine of brain activity in whatever subject trips your trigger.
Being a rather active blogger myself, I've taken my share of heat. Not only have I been labeled a 'master wordsmith' (not in a nice way, by the way), but I have been called not-so-nice names due to my blog activities. And not a week goes by that someone doesn't, in my hearing, make a comment that they wouldn't want to blog. Or that they are not 'much of a blog person'. Or that they don't have the time nor inclination to read such fluff as blogs. Well, OK, if that's how you feel...fine. You are most certainly entitled to your opinion. However, you must know that there is a whole world out there that you are simply missing. No, really. (And, don't be sayin' that you are not reading blogs when you actually are...that's called lying.)
[Just a heads up; if you like to read books, eventually you will be reading blogs anyway. The reason for this is that there are quite a number of bloggers (writers/authors) that are blogging (writing) to get published. Yes, that's right. The next book you purchase may very well be already published on the world wide web as a blog and your next favorite author may likely be a blogger in another life. Case in point: the popular Mr. Jon Acuff; and that's just one example.]
Near the top of this, and just about every blogger blog, you can see the words "Next Blog". Have you ever given that a mouse-over? Clicking those two words will take you zooming through cyberspace to another blogger, another life, another whole set of people, opinions, interests and hobbies that may astound you. And it may actually interest you, too. I find it fascinating looking at how many followers some of these blogs enjoy, the look and feel of different blogs and what they actually write about. It's like looking into the front window of these people's homes; you can see what they think, what they love and what's important to them in their life. Somehow, it makes the world a smaller and more accepting place when you realize that there are others out there that have some of the same interests and opinions as you. And, isn't that how connections, friendships, are made?
Many well-educated and scholarly people write blogs. Teachers, both religious and secular, write blogs. Hobbyists and authors write blogs. Ordinary people, extraordinary people and just plain nice people write blogs. I have seen a lot of 'southern belle' type blogs, college student blogs, let's-keep-in-touch-with-family blogs and autobiographical blogs. I have marveled at the similarities and the differences between them and myself. There are thousands, millions even, of bloggers that are saying incredible things, mundane things, and important things through the medium of blogs. Blogging is an effective way to get your information, your ideas and your opinions out to an audience. A rather big audience, at that. There are even bloggers that make money blogging - yeah, can you believe that? Income from blogging. Go figure.
So why would someone cut themselves off from such potential?
Perhaps my self-proclaimed non-bloggers just don't know how. They don't know how to get online and find someones blog, much less read it. And then there is the whole question of commenting; should I or shouldn't I? Is it polite to comment on a blog of someone I do not know? (The answer is yes, by the way.) Should I comment anonymously? (Please don't - that's rude.) And what if I read something I completely disagree with or makes me angry? (Click the little red 'x' in the top right corner of the screen and walk away from the computer - you may need to take a breather.) Responding to those that make you angry is not required, for sure, and is only welcomed if done in a polite and respectful way. Remember: you don't have to read their stuff.
I guess all it takes is one friend saying, "hey, did you read my blog post yesterday?" to get someone started reading blogs. I know for myself, curiosity took it's natural course and soon I was looking for blogs with information and ideas about the things that interested me. Religious theology and ancient near-eastern culture. Paper-crafts. Star Wars. Writing. Blogging itself. So much to find on the internet...so little time. The next natural step was to start writing my own blog; adding to the plethora of voices that make up the blogosphere, carving out my own little niche. You can see some of the interesting blogs I have discovered in my cyberspace adventures in the sidebar of this very blog - take some time to check them out, if they catch your interest. You may be surprised at how edifying they can be.
I suppose blogging and reading blogs is kind of like travel. It stretches your mind, challenges your prejudices and expands your horizons. It is clear not everyone wants to stretch, be challenged or expand out of their comfortable boxes. But it would make this blogger a lot happier if those home-bound folks wouldn't look down on those of us that are taking advantage of the chance to travel the universe via blogging, even if it's only from the comfort of our computer chair.