What is blogging to me?
Most people who were around when it began know blog is short for web-log.
- Web — the world wide web, defined by the HTTP protocol, a medium for computerized transport of semi-structured information, related to weave, from Old German
- Log — a piece of a tree, then the act of writing onto one as ships used wooden logs as a medium of tracking progress, onomatopoeically from Greek logos for “word, speech, discourse, reason”
Etymologies adapted & paraphrased from http://www.etymonline.com.
While having a meditative conversation today with my best friend, I realized that I blogged long before I got on the Internet. The essence of blogging is sharing words in a thoughtful social medium, initially as monologue, but potentially as conversation. I shared this kind of space in my friendships with certain people over the years; sometimes it was in person, on the phone, in email, on group listservs, and on websites. Or, through books.
It is always a special space when a friend could give me a prompt like, “So, what’s been up with you?” and indulge me a thoughtful, perhaps long-winded answer, without judgment or interjection. And then ease into conversation with me about it.
This is the essence of blogging to me — the holding and usage of this monologue-initiated and subsequently conversational space. It may happen on a blog website, or in any medium in which such mode of communication is possible, which includes everything from books to tweets. To me Facebook and Twitter status updates are a form of blogging, and not actually very good because you don’t actually know for sure that anyone is really listening…
So I think blogging is actually a very good term for a whole range of discursive spaces as it reflects their simultaneously socially interconnected and verbal nature.
Why do I blog?
I blog to:
– meditatively begin to understand my world, to experience it and extend it through the lens of what it becomes when verbalized and shared
– share and extend my meditation through its verbal product with an audience, whether it is one person on the other end of the phone, or hundreds or thousands of people on the web
– experience the engagement of that audience, to open myself to the impact of that attention on my own appreciation of my experience
– evolve myself, and allow my evolution to occur in part in a shared space in the faith that will accelerate my own process and enrich others in some way
It’s a virtuous feedback cycle wherein experience and meditation give rise to the initial communication, which is received as an experiential meditation by an audience, and then a greater meaning evolves as the message is returned, deepened through the prism of others’ experience.
How can I blog better?
It’s claimed by some communication experts that human communication is 93% non-verbal; only 7% of the total message you convey in in the words you actually say. The rest is voice tone, body language, and context, including the emotional, intellectual, and social state of those participating. So, approximately, words are essentially none of the real message communicated. If this is so, how can there be any hope of blogging really working for the aims I articulated above?
I realize now that having a real audience, even if only one person, truly matters. As a medium of social meditation, the integrity of the experience breaks down if no one is really listening, with their whole self. A million people mostly listening isn’t the same as, or to my mind, as useful as, one person who knows me or is willing to open themselves to knowing me more deeply, who is really, fully listening with their whole self.
Now sometimes, perhaps oftentimes, that one person can simply be me, at a later time. I’ll post a tweet or status update as a way of making a note for myself. But, for this to work, I regularly need to cycle back through my posts and be really present with them from the vantage point of a ‘different self’, to be in a perspective-taking and meditative-listening mode, not simply re-reading prior posts without this deeper intent.
Better still is to have someone tuned-in, real-time. Although the window of what constitutes “real-time” is different for a full-length book (years to decades), long-form article for publication (months to years), blog post (two-three days), an FB status update (a day and a half) a tweet (a few hours). This immediacy is enormously important to the efficacy of blogging as a medium of collaborative co-evolution, which is what I aim for it to be.
I invite all who read this to meet me here, at this depth of real engagement, sharing and listening with one another We have the opportunity to more fully realize our full selves here and truly need each other to seize it.