Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Blogging? A Venture in Self Promotion?

Things have been quiet on the blog for a few reasons.  First, we have been enjoying time with friends and family over the holiday and I took a sabbatical from the computer.  As someone who can be a little compulsive about things, I have a tendency to check my email and Facebook an embarrassing amount in a 24 hour period.  I'm not sure if I just need stimulation or desperately desire connection but something compels me to check out the latest news feed on Facebook or clean out my Google Reader on a very regular basis.  It was refreshing to take a break and be present with the ones I love.  Having someone around to hang out with, love the baby girl with, and chat face to face with was awesome.  Our trip home was just what this girl's soul needed.

In addition to living life rather than blogging about it, I also have been pondering some big questions regarding blogging.  I read an article in Wired Magazine a few months ago that has lingered in the back of my mind and caused me to take a look at my blog motivations.  The article discussed the way in which social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs) has changed our society and how we relate to one another.  It argued these social mediums encouraged a new sort of bragging.  Through blogs and Facebook one can essentially toot their own horn and construct their own image of themselves to be what they hope others perceive them as.  Status updates such as:

"My baby is adorable."
"Just landed a new Capitol internship."
"Wishes every day could be as magical as this one."
"Loves her new Ugg boots."
"Has the sweetest husband in the world.  He made me breakfast in bed and took care of the baby while I was sick."

encourage shameless self promotion and we, the audience can press a button to "like" said status and encourage more horn tooting in the future.  I'm just as guilty.

It's caused me to think about who I hope people see me as when they check my Facebook or read this blog.  Chris asked me the other day what I hoped people thought of me when they read my writing.  After some thought I said, "well I guess I want them to see me as a cute, young mom who is wickedly funny, crafty and thrifty."  The things I post help construct that image and create a persona that I hope readers will believe.  I post pictures of my daughter because I think she's adorable and I hope you do too.  I share funny stories that sometimes can be a wee bit exaggerated in an effort to get a chuckle from my readers.  I love when someone tells me they read the blog or I get a new follower.  But I am wondering if all this is okay.  Originally this blog began as a class assignment in grad school.  It quickly became a place where I could commiserate and share funny stories from my classroom.  I soon found that people thought my writing could be funny at times and that I had a distinct voice as a writer.  Over the years it has morphed from a blog about teaching to a blog about life.  Often times I shy away from anything too personal, opinionated, or meaningful because I worry what my readers might think.

But should that be a concern as I write?  Depends on who this blog is for.  Is this a blog for me and my family so we can look back and record life's great and mundane moments or is this a blog where I stroke my ego and win friends?  Hmmmmm....

The issue of audience and writing for one is big.  Don't worry, I'm not going to go off the deep end and use this blog as a means to rant and rave about all my unimportant thoughts and opinions but I would like to be a bit more daring and honest.  I would like to have freedom to be 100% myself rather than who I think my readers would like me to be.  A new year brings a new vulnerability.

Now, after all that heavy talk, here's a lovely photo of the Lake Monster.  Please note: I picked one that was flattering.  Also note the boy jammies.  A sweet wife of a Urology resident dropped them off as a gift for Lakin.  I think she might be assuming Lakin is a boy.  Hey, the name's ambiguous and the jammies are stinkin' cute.

4 comments:

  1. WOW! I have had this same post... at least in spirit or message, before! And thought of it a lot. Mostly its the "blog branding" thing. When I started my blog as a post masters student, it was an online outlet for me to be creative and connect, too. I wish I hadn't picked the title. Now I feel like I've got to have fabulous adventures in order to write sometimes! But really, I still think its fun to write this way and its one of the only ways that I get to express myself on a daily basis now that I am communicating most of the time with a 1 year old.

    I also struggle with honesty sometimes. Sometimes I want to be PC. Or I feel the need to people please. What bothers me most is that I don't have a lot of anonymity... and my in laws read it, too. Or at least one very curious one does, and she talks a lot to the rest of the family! I have never done Blog 2 Print before, but I think that I will. I think it can help me view this as a journal, not as some way to network or get money or something.

    I enjoy your blog because we have nearly identical life stories, I just feel like mine is three years ahead of yours ( or so?) I was married in 2005 fresh out of undergrad and also did a COE masters/full time teaching first year of marriage. Our first baby would have been born similarly in timelines as Lakin, and my husband has a professional job that he is really good at! The big differences are, I think, that we didn't move from Columbia and that I only knew CarlyKiick as a friend from college, not as a BFF (lukcy you!).

    I hope you find your voice in writing and stay true to what YOU want to do!

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  2. Love this post. And you. My blogging motivation has sharply declined since starting a 'real job' and I've struggled some with of the same concepts. I don't want to feel forced to blog b/c of reader expectations, but I'll be honest that my ego takes a hit when I lose a follower (who is prob a stranger). Miss you!

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  3. All I have to say is that blog offends me. I am not reading anymore...just kidding!! So, I agree. I think its interesting how social media is not only a way to brag about ourselves, but our generation is so convinced that everything we do is important that others have to hear about it. "I just walked my dog and it took a crap" "turning left onto broadway! yipee!"...who freaking cares! I do it too though. We are pretty full of ourselves arn't we? Anyway, I challenge you to be bold and to be yourself. Who cares really what others think anyway right? We should be living for an audience of one.

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  4. Good post and summary of what we talked about with the Bonnster. I am your friend and enjoy hearing about the details of your life. It helps me feel connected to you even though we are so far apart. I never find you to be a braggart but just yourself who IS witty, funny, crafty, thrifty, and a good wife and mom.

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