Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Why Andrew Sullivan blogs

This essay on blogging, by Andrew Sullivan, is almost flawless.

There is but one question begged but not raised: Given the ephemeral, immediate and rapid nature of blogging, is it not performed more often than not by those afflicted with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)? This colors not only the style of presentation, but the level of thought and discernment. A swarm of locusts descends upon and devours the whole farm in seconds before moving on. A horde of impatient shoppers breaks down the Walmart door and tramples the staff. The swarm, the horde, the blogger and the commenter. Far away, in deep woods, lives the writer, listening to snow fall.

Because of this, you probably won't take the time to read all four pages of Mr. Sullivan's essay, as did I, but I seriously recommend doing so because each new section opens a door to yet another perfectly stated truth about what we are doing here, and why this is not the same as - and will never replace - writing.

I have always thought of this as a place to practice or prepare for writing, like stretching before a run.

Mr. Sullivan tells us why he blogs. Why do you?


Tate said...

I read that essay a while back, and likewise found it intriguing. I started blogging as a means to warm up to writing again, but also as a means of expression in a very stifled and unhappy environment. The sense of community paired with a degree of anonymity, can be a very powerful and freeing tool for anyone in a rural setting, as well as those seeking to redefine their lives.

Java said...

It seems to me that Andrew Sullivan's essay says more about how he blogs and what a blog is than why he blogs. That being said, it is a very good piece. And yes, I thoughtfully read all four pages. The essay brought together some of my random thoughts on blogging and added new information, particularly about traditional journalism, that I hadn't considered before. In other words, the essay did much of what it says blogging does. Pretty cool, huh?

Birdie said...

I started blogging when my comments began exceeding the size of the posts, much like this one probably will. In this rapid-paced world of instant communication, blogging has found its niche as informed conversation. I love its public intimacy that creates a collective of opinion—pro and con—and community. And such a community!

Today, the world of “dead-tree publishing” is changing. The LA Times has declared bankruptcy. And yet as print diminishes I find I have a voice that can be heard, whether by commenting or by posts. Blogging is fascinating conversation, held all over the world, connecting and informing readers and writers. Sullivan calls it “intimate, improvisational, and individual—but also inherently collective.” Indeed. I’m hooked.

rptrcub said...

I blog because I am a writer by nature, but I work in PR (former reporter). I want an outlet for my own expression of my beliefs, and I blog because it's therapy.

If I had the financial resources, I would blog full-time in a reporting sort-of-way, to actually commit acts of journalism through having time to go out and get original stories.

And it's also a way for people to know more about me and know about the news and stories of my life, rather than having to repeat it over and over again. Like whenever someone asks how I lost a large amount of weight, my family, my background, etc., I just give them the URL for the relevant posting.

Mark said...

I blog, albeit infrequently, because it's public access for a private voice that almost never gets a chance to speak up.

I read blogs because I've always been a sponge for knowledge of any kind. I've never felt so connected as I have been these past few blogging years.

...and I've made a bunch of really neat friends in the process.

TED said...

I think "what we are doing here" varies greatly from person to person. It seems to me that you've defined your terms so that what you're saying is true, but neither "blogging" nor "writing" is necessarily defined as you do.

joeclark said...

“Almost flawless”? I gather, then, that you agree that Sullivan’s outright lie that blog posts cannot be corrected is one of its flaws?

tornwordo said...

Blogging for me has taught me that I don't want to be a writer. I still do it to keep friends and family in the loop and to have a little fun and ego boosting. I'll go read it now.

Tony Adams said...

Dear JoeClark,
I'm not sure what he meant by that, but decided that he was describing blog as less polished than real writing. I cannot imagine that he ever supposed he could not edit a post.

Anonymous said...

When I put up a post, I feel better the next day. That is reason enough. I also need to do something with these pictures.

Anonymous said...

I don't blog - and am actually careful with comments - mostly because of my day job - but really because it's easier to be a voyeur.

Knucklecrack said...

I blog because:

Blogging provides a tremendous landfill for me to pour in my ADD/ADHD rattled mind.

Blogging makes me feel as though the audience for my writing is not just myself.

Blogging keeps me writing, keeps me involved and keeps me motivated to do more creative things and involved myself in more productive projects.

Blogging allows me to have a voice without waiting for Gay Orgs, non profits, LOGO, etc to give me a job :)

Anonymous said...

I guess I started my site (I'm not really a blogger because I'm not much of a writer) to remind myself of my life before AIDS and record bits of my life now.

Will said...

After about four months of discovering and exploring gay blogs, I began blogging specifically to connect with the gay blog community.

During the last four and a half years I've been dazzled by the variety, richness and depth of gay life; I've had the great pleasure of meeting many gay bloggers; and I've made genuine friends.

A subsidiary reason for blogging was because I've always been urged to keep a diary. I never saw the point as nobody would be reading it but me and I already know what I think and feel. Blogging let me journal my life and put it out there on the web where it's being read and reacted to by some great people with interesting insights they've been kind enough to share with me in return.