Congratulations to Dave and Melanie for being randomly selected to win a free copy of Billy Coffey’s Snow Day! Thanks to everyone for showing your support for Billy.
Okay, time to wrap up blog month.
I’ve spent the better part of this month doing what I can to help you bloggers improve your craft. Today, I’ve got three final thoughts. A lightning round, mashup, clip show blog post of bloggy goodness, if you will. Even though Blog Month is over, I always enjoy helping people out. If I haven’t discussed a question that’s on your mind, go ahead and drop me a note. One of the points today was even inspired by an email question I recieved last week.
Three More Thoughts On Blogging: Haters, White Noise, and Obsessions
Someone will always hate your opinion
Wow, last week was quite the worldwide free speech event. Whoopi and Joy walk off stage on The View when Bill O’Reilly expresses his opinion. Juan Williams is fired from NPR for airing his opinions. Germany’s Chancellor Andrea Merkel has been blasted for verbally acknowledging that attempts to build a multi-cultural society in Germany have failed, and Christine O’Donnell is ridiculed for (correctly) asking where the phrase “seperation of church and state” is found in the Constitution.
If you blog about anything anyone cares about, sooner or later, someone will vehemently disagree with you. It’s happened to me a lot. I was absolutely blasted here and on other blogs as “uninformed” and “immature” about a month ago over my assertion that church sex scandals don’t just affect the victims, but everyone in our society (ironically, this was just two days after my post on disagreement.) I was suprised that I had some criticisms of my post on fasting, a post I thought was completely innoccuous. I’ve even been criticized for being critical!
Humorously, I even recieved an email from a lawyer for Dr. Rita DeMaria, who “ordered” me to take down a post which I had titled “The Marriage Doctor.” Dr. DeMaria claims to have the copyright of “Marriage Doctor,” and must have thought I was claiming to be The Marriage Doctor. There are literally dozens of counselors using that title, but I think I was harassed because my blog was the one site that Google listed ahead of hers. Owned. Apparently, the doctor is unaware that copyright doesn’t prohibit parody usage.
Point being, if I’ve learned one thing from blogging, it’s that I can never anticipate every point of view. Someone will surprise me, even if it’s with a legal threat. Rather than cry and moan that people don’t like me, it’s taught me to be very sure I know what I’m talking about, and can graciously give very good reasons for saying what I do when prompted by an angry email or comment. Angry, disagreeable people should do the same for you too.
The email I recieved last week was from a blogger concerned that the internet is already too full of white noise, and she didn’t want to just contribute to all that chaos.
That’s a great thing to think about. If that’s your approach going in, I think you’re on the right track. The way I see it, the internet is full of noise and pollution even without our help. First, about 68% of the net is pure, pixelated smut. Another 18% is fanboys trolling the message boards, starting flame wars about every inane hobby from Twilight to Warcraft. Another 13% is broken links, conspiracy theory sites, Lolcatz, and 100 billion copies of that “peanut butter jelly time” dancing banana. That leaves 1% of useful internet space.
The internet’s going to be noisy with or without you. Hoping the internet will quiet down because you decide to take a stand and not participate will work about as well as my stand against seeing Avatar because James Cameron’s scriptwriting is about as subtle and emotionally moving as George Lucas banging his pasty face on Stephen Hawking’s keyboard. No one cared that I was taking a stand against that turd of a movie, because it happened to be a sparkly blue 3D turd.
Lesson: Don’t let James Cameron’s sucktitude keep you from making something good. All you can do is make some positive noise on the internet, and try not to get too caught up in the smug satisfaction of all the self promotion that social networking demands. Yes, social networking is inherantly narcissistic and self-promoting. Try not to look like a tool while doing it.
Do Something Bigger
Finally, and probably the most important thing I can say to wrap up blog month is this. Blogging is a powerful platform. It can unite people, make people laugh, cry and think. But don’t let your life begin and end with your blog. If you have a thousand readers, and then you die, what have you accomplished?
That’s why I was so anxious to get on board with other bloggers and raise money for water wells in Africa. That’s why I ‘m searching for ways to connect in deeper ways with people online and offline, to use blogging for something bigger than itself. I’m not satisfied yet. If blogging is our biggest obsession, if online disagreements don’t challenge you but only entrench you more in your beliefs, if blogging gives us another excuse to just obsess over theory and leave out the application, and it leads to nothing greater, maybe this is all just white noise.
Any final thoughts on blog month from you? Have you had any memorable disagreements? How do you handle that? What do you hope blogging will accomplish, not just with you, but among all of us?