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Blog // Thoughts
November 10, 2006

Blogging Away Your Inhibitions?

John Smulo has a thought provoking discussion on the nature of blogging and personal identity. John’s got a great blog going and in only a few months has nearly surpassed this blog in terms of links and comment-density (not a great acheivement granted, but noteworthy nonetheless). John was asking if blogging changes the way we […]

John Smulo has a thought provoking discussion on the nature of blogging and personal identity. John’s got a great blog going and in only a few months has nearly surpassed this blog in terms of links and comment-density (not a great acheivement granted, but noteworthy nonetheless).

John was asking if blogging changes the way we express ourselves and maybe we do so with fewer inhibitions. It’s a good question we can look at in a number of ways. I chimed in an excessively longwinded comment, which I’ve reproduced here as well…

For me, it is harder to write something online because the people who have an interest in vilifying me will recieve more ammunition. It is also challenging for me to try and say what I want online because I never know who is reading, how they will respond or whether my blog thoughts may come back to haunt me (missed job opportunities, etc). That doesn’t keep me awake at night, but it does make me pause over the return key from tiem to time.

I still remember when I found out I was being called a “dangerous liberal.” Fact is, I still feel 39 different emotions thinking about that. But you can’t really control things when people willfully want to misrepresent you for their own gain.

What you can do is stick to your mission, stay positive, own your words and create. I’ve always believed that, but blogging has helped me learn it and do it.

As far as conversations go, blogs can be pretty dysfunctional at times, moreso on high comment-traffic blogs (which start to mirror the same problems as online forums). But then again, “real-life” has plently of rudeness, ill-civility and general aggression as well.

For some people, online discussions are a retreat from reality, a chance to say things they can’t say in reality – to play out their agression. But on the other side of the coin, blogs can help people think better, organise their thoughts, meet different outlooks and grow. I’ll take the positive side of the game and run with it as far as I can thanks. There’s plenty of other folks out there who can earn their keep bearing down on the negatives.

Theologically, I think God is at work in the blogosphere. Everyday we are seeing new networks, new friendships, new exchanges of ideas. We are seeing people with the courage to open doors, to say things they couldn’t say, to shed the light of spirit on the dark recesses of church practice and politics. It might not be the next reformation, but it sure is a nice bit of church spring cleaning.

I’m not normally a black and white guy, but on this one it really comes down to a choice. You can either live in fear, hedge your bets (maybe it’s good or maybe it isn’t), bear down on the negatives, and treat blogging (and by extension people and new experiences) with suspicion. Or you can live with hope, embrace the good, find the positives and smile at the prospects for new conversations, experiences and interactions.

Fear or hope – red pill or blue pill – old man new man. It’s the choice we face.

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