For years people have been telling me things such as, “Bill, you have to start blogging,” and, “Bill, your essays are perfect for a blog,” and, “Bill, blogs are what all the cool kids are doing.”
OK, well, if all the cool kids are doing it, I guess I’d better jump on the bandwagon. But seriously, I have been thinking for some time about setting up a blog. As Shakespeare wrote, “To blog, or not to blog, that is the question.” (Wow, I stayed serious for almost four seconds.)
If you’re not familiar, a blog is basically an interactive website where the blogger posts a stream of text, photos, videos, etc., and readers can instantly offer comments.
I’ve been posting my writing online for over 15 years now, both my faith essays as well as my weekly newspaper humor column. But a regular website is mostly one-way communication: I post an essay, people read it, and if they want to comment, they have to navigate through a series of obscure links until they find my email address, and then send me an email note. Which is why I get relatively few email notes, and most of those say something like: “Sheesh, it took me forever to find your email address. Why don’t you just set up a blog instead?”
The main advantage of a blog is that you can get instant feedback from a lot of people, which often prompts lively discussions. However, the main disadvantage of a blog is that you can get instant feedback from a lot of people, which often prompts lively discussions.
If you are new to the internet, welcome, and please put on your protective cup. If you are already familiar with the internet, then you know that millions of people take advantage of online anonymity to spew sarcastic and profane criticism about everyone and everything. The comment section of a blog seems to attract critics in the same way that throwing a bleeding pig into a Brazilian river seems to attract piranha fish — except the piranha aren’t nearly as aggressive.
To be honest, I’m not sure my skin is thick enough to be a blogger. Over the years I’ve gotten better with handling criticism, but I admit that a single “You suck!” email note can pretty much wipe out the pleasant feelings generated by twenty “Good job!” email notes.
Another thing about blogs: they strike me as rather narcissistic. I mean, not as bad as Facebook — nothing is as bad as Facebook. But I’ve been following many interesting blogs for a while, and despite being talented writers, most of the bloggers seem quite self-absorbed. I don’t know if that’s their natural personalities, or if the act of blogging forces them to take on a “look at me!” persona. If that’s the case, blogging is probably not good for me. You see, I already have to remind myself regularly that world history did not begin in 1957 nor does the universe revolve around a certain house located on the east side of Torrington. You’re right, I am the quintessential “Me Generation” baby boomer.
And don’t forget, Our Lord said, “What does it profit a man to get a million page views, and yet lose his soul?” At this point in life, I’ve been around long enough to realize my baby boomer attitude is the exact opposite of what the Sermon on the Mount teaches.
So I hesitantly will give blogging a try — on a trial basis. Check it out at MerryCatholic.blogspot.com. But be aware, if things become too nasty or if I become too insufferable, I’ll have to pull the plug. And please keep the profanity to a minimum. Especially you, Mom.