Blogging as Social Activity

Caleb Crain claims the Internet “is always welcoming you to the party; it is always patting you on the back to congratulate you for showing up.” Crain’s experience as a blogger is that “writing on the internet tends to be more popular when it satisfies the reader’s wish to be connected – the wish not to miss out.”

Crain is talking about ways blogging feels different from writing – he says reading blogs feels more like work than reading books does. And I think I see what he means.

When writing, I get to enter what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls a “flow” state – at some physiological level, the need to enter this state may be what motivates me to write?

But while blogging… not so much. Blogging feels more like a chore. Online writing tends to be immediate and social. When blogging, I don’t get to shut down the part of my brain used at parties for answering the question “What do you do?”

In Generosity by Richard Powers, when a pupil asks, “Why don’t we write online? Aren’t journals just dead blogs?” the teacher replies, “I want you to think and feel, not sell.” So is all blogging marketing? Must one be offline to write in a spirit of pure self-exploration? Is blogging a cross between writing and social networking?
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