Monday, December 08, 2008

Blogs and Ship Logs have more in common than you'd think.

My lovely Mum sent me this Andrew Sullivan essay about blogging and it's relevance to our culture and I found it truly thought provoking. I loved this paragraph which compares blogs to ships logs:

"In journeys at sea that took place before radio or radar or satellites or sonar, these logs were an indispensable source for recording what actually happened. They helped navigators surmise where they were and how far they had traveled and how much longer they had to stay at sea. They provided accountability to a ship’s owners and traders. They were designed to be as immune to faking as possible. Away from land, there was usually no reliable corroboration of events apart from the crew’s own account in the middle of an expanse of blue and gray and green; and in long journeys, memories always blur and facts disperse. A log provided as accurate an account as could be gleaned in real time."

I love the image of being at sea with no land in sight, relying only on your own records to discover where you are. I've been blogging for three years now, and I've begun to think of my blog as my own personal idea archive. I refer to it all the time- for a favorite recipe or gift idea, a poem or a quote I know I've posted here. But more than that, I like knowing that I am quietly building a record of my life and by keeping that record I am also charting a course.

For Mr. Sullivan, each post brings on a torrential wave of ideas and comments from a vast sea of readers. I feel more like I'm tossing out messages in bottles in the vain hope that they will reach someone, somewhere. (When someone does find a bottle and takes the time to reply, serendipitous friendships bloom. In my opinion, this is the best thing about blogging.)

But if I sound a bit discouraged, I suppose it's because I am. The internet as ocean metaphor is quite apt- and lately I have found myself overloaded and overwhelmed by it. It is amazing how quickly one can get caught up in it's swirls and eddies and find that hours have vanished once you resurface. And furthermore, instead of emerging refreshed and full of ideas, you are tired out and washed even further from your own creative center.

So, here is my question for you, dear reader- If you blog, why do you blog and what do get out of it? Secondly, (and to keep with our ocean theme) how do manage the internet so that you can pull fish and pearls out of it instead of getting sucked under the waves?


Miss B


Anonymous said...
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amy said...

I agree with you that my blog is a nice record of my life. I also enjoy looking back over the past year. The purpose of my blog is purely for those who know me to keep up with my life.

Sorry you are feeling discouraged about the internet sea. I can report the 'real world' is just as unsteady when you are working on a small buiness.

goosefairy said...

i hear you about getting sucked into the ocean of the internet. i find myself spending waaay too much time there.

i blog... infrequently. when i have posted something it's usually because of one of two things.

1) i've done something i want to share or

2) i'm worked up about something in either a good or bad way.

as to the second part of your question...

jeez. not sure i really do. i have my list of places i like to check on a regular or semi-regular basis and i tend to use the internet as a tool for specific things. i don't really like to just surf for surfing's sake just like i don't like to have the tv on unless there is something specific i want to watch.

i guess that comes as close as i can get to not wasting tons of time on the interwebs :)

The Fab Miss B said...

Thanks for your thoughts you two. I never mean to spend hours on the internet- but my blogroll just keeps getting longer and all the pretty and inspiring posts keep me clicking around- the time just flies away from me. And its a fine line between staying on top of trends and networking for business purposes and just wasting time- this is my current feeling anyway. I have this sense of not wanting to miss anything- and that's not a good thing when there is SO much content out there. Some of it is just going to have to slip through. Maybe I need to time myself or go on an internet vacation! eek.

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