Lately, I’ve been thinking about blogging.
I’ve also BEEN blogging, of course. Which has a lot to do with why I’m thinking about it. It’s an interesting thing, this strange new world of the Internet.
First off, let me see a show of hands. Who here has his/her own blog? Has written for someone else’s blog? Has commented on a blog? Has commented on someone else’s comment on a blog?
Lot of hands out there. I thought so.
We’re a nation of writers. If you look at the wordpress.com statistics, the number of words produced a day for their blogs alone is staggering. You can search for any subject on google and find a blog someone has written that’s dedicated to that particular subject. A generation ago, stay-at-home mothers felt lonely, isolated and misunderstood–now all they have to do is go online and they can find thousands of blogs by women just like them. Sympathy, understanding and a shared laugh are just a few clicks away.
So I think blogs are great. I have two of them myself–this one and the about-to-be launched www.bookstorepeople.com, which I’m doing with a friend and is our tribute to independent bookstores throughout this great country of ours (sorry–been watching the convention), and in a few other countries as well. I’m hardly about to criticize an art form that I indulge in so happily, myself.
And yet . . .
Sometimes I stand at my computer contemplating the vast, Carl Sagan-esque number of blogs out there, and I find myself suddenly picturing a playground filled with little kids, each doing his own thing, jumping up and down on some piece of equipment or other and crying out, “Look at me! Look at me!” But there are only kids–no mothers there to do the looking. So all those kids are bouncing around waiting for someone to notice them, not paying any attention to all the other kids who are waiting for someone to notice them.
We all want to be heard. Maybe there are a few humble, self-effacing exceptions, a few simple folk who would rather let the experts do the talking, but in general, we all have something to say and want other people to hear it. Until we had the Internet at our disposal, we satisfied ourselves with arguing at parties or writing the occasional letter. There have always been professional writers, of course, but it’s a lot harder to get published in a magazine, newspaper or book than it is to simply post something online.
Now, thanks to the Internet, we all have a public forum. And it’s wonderful to get to have your say without anyone interrupting, to share that funny anecdote with more than just your spouse, to communicate a thought that you think others might share, to reach out to other people struggling with a challenge you face . . .
I just keep wondering. With all of us so busy talking, how many are left to listen?