Sunday, October 09, 2005

Why I Blog

Why I Blog

When you blog, you are actually adding another dimension to you life: you start a parallel "lifestream" in cyberspace. This lifestream serves to transform and counter-balance your life in meatspace, enriching it in the process.

One might ask: What's the difference between blogging and keeping a personal diary? In many ways a blog is like a diary but with one major difference--it is public. How you conduct yourself in public is very different from the way you behave in private.

In meatspace, you have a public life and a private life and they are firewalled from one another. Only close friends and loved ones are allowed entry into your private life. In cyberspace, you allow anyone to enter your "private" life but it is not exactly private because you are fully aware that it is publicly accessible.

So your blog adds a third dimension to your life--something that is private, yet public at the same time. It is something that is both outward-facing yet introspective. What occurs daily in your life is reflected, analyzed and resolved in your blog; the result of that reflection is then brought back into your real life, altering it in unexpected ways.

The effect is different from writing in a diary because your views and reflections do not only affect you, but also people who read your blog. Even if no one reads your blog, the effect is still there because you will always assume that you are writing to an audience. This extra element makes all the difference. You are always conscious of the fact that you are in interaction mode with the external world.

Blogging is like singing in the bathroom--it's a private affair but you put all the verve and zest into the act as if you are performing in public. Whereas writing in one's personal diary is like humming your favourite tune softly to yourself--you are not performing.

My style of blogging is generally formal, perhaps even dull. I also don't like to publicize my blog because I think my "bathroom singing" is too unpolished--like preliminary sketches that an artist makes before commiting paint to canvas. It is certainly not of publication quality. But at the same time, I don't mind other people perusing my rough sketches--if they are interested enough to do so. They might have something interesting to point out to me and help me improve both my writing and thinking in the process.

I am happy blogging in a quiet corner of cyberspace. It puts me at ease: I am neither obligated nor interested to comment on the latest political developments or issues. To me that area is already very well-covered in blogosphere. I am happy reading what others have to say and I reserve my right to agree or disagree.

I blog to develop my ideas further--exactly like the rough sketches that an artist makes. I have a few favourite themes which I come back to again and again--a bit like the improvisations of a jazz musician or variations on a theme that many classical composers like Beethoven produce. Each piece develops an idea further--there's always an intent to explore, to study and to understand.

To me, it is important to be spontaneous yet disciplined when blogging. This fomality prevents my blog from degenerating into an unrestrained platform for venting frustrations. I do have lots of things to vent like everyone else but I find it more productive to transform that need into something with creative possibilities.

There's another important reason why I blog--it gives me a daily sense of accomplishment. Every day that I am able to blog is a good day. It means that my day is not wasted. At the very least, I managed to leave a trace of my thoughts in cyberspace for posterity.

I blogged today--so it is another good day!

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