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« Holy Sonnet 1 | Main | In praise of Rabbit Trail Reading »
Saturday
Jan052019

From a long time, anonymous blogger

I'm always interested to read people's thoughts about blogging. Like all social media, it has contributed to some quite profound changes in public discourse and what people think about communication in general. Tim Challies had an interesting article about the matter yesterday.

I have been blogging since 2015. I have not blogged every day, but when I first began I blogged frequently; too frequently, in fact. Looking back, I probably should have been doing something else; like taking care of my house, my kids, and my husband.

When I was blogging the most, I likened it to a group of people talking over the fence with her neighbours. It was fun. We had a selection of blogs we wanted to read, and we shared information, fun, and spiritual edification. It was a much softer, friendlier kind of blogging. I think when it became evident that one could have some kind of "influence" with a blog, it began to change. Eventually, the more fun, communicative kind of blogging was seen as vapid or ordinary. The big name blogs began to become more important. We began to measure ourselves against those bigger groups. We began to think that if we couldn't draw the crowds, we had nothing to say. In the past few years, the blogging that I first knew is fading. But I think there are a couple of things at the heart of the reason why people quit.

There is nothing new under the sun. In the years I have been blogging, I have seen issues make the rounds. Whether it is the The Elephant Room or the Emergent Church (remember those days? Do you ever hear about it now?), the idea of debate is always there. And some debates simply re-assert themselves in different forms. We may not be debating about the Emergent Church anymore, but we are talking about "woke" Christians and Social Justice Warriors. Some very good things have happened as a result. I think the dialogue about domestic and sexual abuse has been a good thing. But after a while, some people simply get tired of constantly talking about the issues. I am deeply concerned about such issues, but there comes a point when I survey what my feeds are offering me, all I can hear is "yadda yadda." There is a time for silence. And we all need a little more of that.

People's lives have moved on. For those who blogged regularly when their kids were small, teenage years and young adult years don't afford the time, and they definitely change what is suitable to talk about online - although, one could make an argument that talking explicitly about our kids online is probably never a good idea. For those of us who don't make a living or contribute to a platform with our blogs, other things are more important to us. Seminary has interrupted my blogging. If I become a grandmother, if given a choice will I want to snuggle a sweet, downy little head or write a blog post?

I don't normally have a verse for the year or a word for the year, but this year, quite unconsciously, I have adopted "focus" as my theme for the year. I want to focus on what is important. Blogging and social media in general can be a huge source of discouragement and distraction. I don't want to let that interrupt what is most important to me and what God has placed before me. I want to be discerning about what is worth more than a second's thought and what is going to be ultimately more enduring.

The question which is always in the back of my mind is this: how important is blogging? If there was no blogging, would we all shrivel up and die? If our favourite blogger suddenly stopped, what would be the ultimate loss? These things need to be in the front of my mind, otherwise I will take myself and this medium more seriously than I should.

The days of the over the fence chatting seem to be gone, and I'm sad about that. They were fun while they lasted.

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