Blog Month Finale! Obsessed with White Noise

October 25, 2010

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. 

White Noise

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?

16 responses to Blog Month Finale! Obsessed with White Noise

  1. Hi Matt,

    You ask, “What do you hope blogging will accomplish, not just with you, but among all of us”?

    I have two goals in posting my diary on-line:

    Since I have kept an almost daily hand-written diary for the past 30+ years I hope that in the distant future some bored kid in the attic finds some of my pages and they give him a view of what a real-time Christian life is like warts and all. Sometimes I actually address specific entries to The Kid In The Attic. I do this because reading diaries and journals have helped me so much in my own life.

    My second goal involves the people reading over my shoulder here and now. Yesterday my youngest son, a computer network manager for an international corporation, told me that over 400 people read my postings every day (I have no idea how he tracks that). I hope that my blog gives them hope. That’s my main theme: There Is Hope. Faith and love, I ain’t much on, but I know a lot about hope.

    All in all, my main goal is to inspire folks to think for a moment about Jesus.

    What is, is.

    (My wife says the best thing about blogging is that it keeps me off the streets).

  2. I think your last statement is key…to inspire people about Jesus.

    That’s what my ultimate goal is as well.

    I’ve enjoyed the series.

  3. No major arguments here, but I’m just so adorable, that it’s hard to imagine anyone having a problem with me.

    (Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t have many readers and the people who do read are my friends who tend to agree with me anyway. And if they don’t, I’m mostly friends with people who know how to disagree in a kind manner and make it a discussion rather than an argument.)

    As for your last question, I’m actually pretty stoked about this one. About six weeks ago, I posted a not-too-well-written piece about being depressed and got a pretty major response about it. After seeing what the simple act of sharing my story did, I put out a call for others to share and the response has been crazy. I’ve got guest posts set to the end of the year on this (and related) topic. And the stories that I’ve been getting are just so incredibly powerful. I love (love!) that folks are stepping way outside of what is comfortable to share the message that people suffering depression are not alone. I know it’s not life-saving in a direct way like getting clean water or mosquito nets to thousands of folks, but I also know that for me, knowing I’m not alone during depression helps so much and I believe that it can help others.

    So I’m going to abuse my commenter status and ask anyone who might have a story to share to shoot me an email and I’ll get the info to you on what you need to share it. You can be in the midst of depression, through it, or even be an observer. Thanks! (And thanks Matt for being so cool about me hijacking your comment section. Unless you want to start a fight about it. In which case, watch out. I’ve been gunning for one for a while now.)

  4. Any final thoughts on blog month from you?
    Yes, great job – thanks for the help! It has caused me to take an introspective look at what I am really doing.

    Have you had any memorable disagreements?
    LOL! That is what Fire & Grace is all about. The good news is that I research them pretty well, and I feel like I hold my own. I’ve had a few hecklers and a hacker. I did a post last Spring entitled 10 Hot Button Issues, that really stirred things up – especially when I rated them with devils. The sequel will be posted this week: 10 More Hot Button Issues.

    How do you handle that?
    With love. One of the hecklers sent me a message and thanked me for not dissing him. It turned out he lived nearby, so I invited him to church. He disappeared, and I miss his challenges.

    What do you hope blogging will accomplish, not just with you, but among all of us?

    Blogging is first entertainment, and that’s good. Second it is a supply line for debate – some of it even thoughtful. It has challenged my faith and views; strengthening them. I hope to do the same while convincing others to go deeper in their faith. Third, it has brought a community that mostly makes me smile. I don’t personally see it as much of a ministry opportunity. Forth, it seems to be a marketing vehicle for selling books trendy and otherwise. My pilot project has received only praise – so I am moving forward with it.

    I guess, in the end, it has been a blessing to me. I don’t really believe that much of what I have to say has a lot eternal value. My personal cause is going leading mission trips to spread the love of Jesus, preach the Good News, lay hands on the sick, and care for the poor. The blog helps create some interest in that area (marketing).

    What does God think? I am hoping the He disagrees with my wife. 😉

  5. “Try not to look like a tool while doing it.” – That topic could have its own month.

  6. Good stuff. I have not seen Avatar either.

  7. Regarding James Cameron and “Avatar”. You can now say that you know of at least two other people, my husband and myself, who have not seen “Avatar” and who do not wish to see the movie. Andrew Klavan in one of his segments made an interesting observation that “Dancing with Wolves”, “Pocahontas”, and “Avatar” are actually the same movie in terms of plot line and message. I am also probably one of the few people in the world who thought “Titanic” was an awful. I rented it after it came out because curiosity got the better of me. My curiosity hasn’t made a peep regarding “Avatar.”

    I hate to be agreeable, but this was a good topic series. Keep up the good work!

  8. I can’t believe that it’s the end of blog month – I’m just catching up on last week’s posts. I’ve enjoyed them all.

  9. I’ve enjoyed your posts this month too. The thing I love about blogging like most other creative forms of communication is we can create something and put it out on the web for others to discover. Whether it is a bizillion people or just a few, God can use it to touch other people’s hearts. I get the feeling that he’s not that big into blog stats any way. Many times I’ve been up in the middle of the night just needing a reminder that God is here walking through the stuff with me. I’ve found comfort and strength and wisdom on different people’s blogs… sometimes wonderful, unexpected surprises. I appreciate you and some of the other bloggers I read regularly for your faithfulness to continue to write, and to create an atmosphere of community to gather safely. Thanks :)

  10. 1. Anyone who puts their name in the title of a movie (“James Cameron’s Avatar”) has failed the “try not to look like a tool while doing it” litmus test. Notice that the Bible is not called “God the Father’s Bible”. Take note, James Cameron.

    2. I think we’re all afraid of being white noise. Maybe that’s why we get lulled into complacency as Christians or even at our jobs or at home. We’re afraid of not being important enough or correct enough to be heard. Not to be cheesy and lame…but if what you’re saying or doing has been discerned and guided by the Spirit…it’s good. Even if just one person hears you.

  11. I used to love debates. I would crack my knuckles, smile, and prepare to totally flatten my opponent. Yes, I am that competitive. Then, I began to really hate debates. I’m not afraid of being wrong, but I have only convinced one person in the years that I have debated that he was wrong. Other than that, it’s totally useless. I like opinion pieces, but not debates. In this society, debates have moved from fun to just plain mean.

    Now I blog with a purpose to show God’s glory in my weakness like Paul. I may write an opinion piece once in a while or a history piece, but ultimately I’m done with debates. I hate how I feel when I debate. I especially begin to dislike the meanness in debates.

    I enjoyed reading this btw. Funny as usual. Very good points.