One of the hardest things about this blogging life for me is explaining the whole concept of blogging to offline friends who don’t blog or who frankly are not users of social media. A common question that has come up in the past year is why? I actually had someone tell me that blogging frankly seems narcissistic and why didn’t I just write in a diary. Funny thing is that I do actually keep an old fashioned journal, I enjoy blogging but let’s be honest do you really think I would share all my business online? Heaven’s no!
However I admit to being fascinated by the idea if all this social media and blogging is making us just a bit narcissistic? Clearly I am not the only one who wonders about such things based off this article in yesterday’s Sunday Magazine of the New York Times. Interesting that the piece is about Facebook but there is actually one tidbit that the writer mentions “The social medium of choice for the self-absorbed appears to be Twitter. The researchers found an association between tweeting about oneself and high narcissism scores.” Interesting, but I disagree.
Blogging and social media use can be narcissistic endeavors if we aren’t careful, but the reality is that as social media has evolved and become fully integrated into all areas of our lives (Jiffy Lube wants you to like them on Facebook…I’d say that is integration in our lives) it’s no longer the space of a select few. Even people who aren’t online regardless of age know about things like Facebook and even blogs, regardless of whether or not they actually use them. My Dad is a prime example; he’s had the same cell phone for 9 years, doesn’t own a PC at home yet is familiar with Facebook and Twitter or the tweeter as he calls it. Yep, social media is here to stay.
Bloggers and blogging though is a different beast since unlike applications such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc. a blogger is committing to a space. A space that they make their own, I liken it to my online home, when you read this blog or really any blog especially those of personal memoir bloggers, we really are saying “Welcome to my world”. The reasons why one blogs is as different as the individual blogger.
Personally I started my blog in 2008 because I was lonely, hell, being a minority in a very white state gets tiring, I figured maybe I might be able to reach out and find the other Black girl in Maine. I have accomplished that goal. I have found Black girls in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont (the one in VT left though…boo hoo), some have only remained online pals and some have become offline friends and a reminder on those days I am losing it that I am not the only one.
I also started blogging because as writer writing for a local publication, I was hoping to expand my reach. I guess I could say that I have accomplished that too and continue to do so. For someone though whose childhood dream was to be a writer, this space allows me to do just that, I admit turning it into a profit making venture has been a bit trickier for me, but I trust that will come in time if it’s meant to be.
Narcissistic people can be found anywhere, trust me on this. Just because someone shares parts of their life online doesn’t make them a candidate for narcissistic personality disorder. In these fractured times when so many of us are far away from family & friends, blogs can serve as a familiar friend whose there when we need them. Bloggers in the past decade have created very real communities that support one another, in recent years so many bloggers have had life throw those curve-balls and even with offline support, the online support is valuable. So sure we could just write in our journals but those journals may not always help us live our dreams, sometimes people have to know about you and that little book under the bed can’t give you that exposure. It also can’t become a real life friend who you break bread with, the trick is to be mindful and not forget that life is more than these spaces, as always balance is key.
So yeah, I will keep writing my truly messy thoughts in my journal but I will keep plugging away in this space too, but if I get to full of myself, feel free to kick me in my ass offline!