Why We Blog
I hoped it would be a stronger reference to the WWII "Why We Fight" campaign, but it just doesn't seem to do it. Maybe because i'm missing the patriotic regalia that would dress the title up a bit.
But that's beside the ever-elusive point.
I realized today that in the past sixteen months, I've made only two friends, neither of which i hear from anymore. I don't call anyone, I rarely respond to email (three people in the past two weeks). And I never hang out with anyone personally. That's something you just take for granted at college. When you're a few years in, and have hit your stride, you have a group of people you see regularly, and you fool yourself into thinking it will always be like that. Your post-graduate life would be some carbon-copied "Friends" spin-off, where no matter what happens there are still five people you can talk to about whatever worries you or makes you happy.
But it really is up to you to make that happen. To work toward having friends. Because if you don't, people aren't going to seek you out, to be your friend. You are just going to get lonely.
As I was pondering this, I started bloghopping, catching up on my friends Sarah Hatter and Josser Brown. Yes, I said friends. No, I don't know them, and if i did, I can't guarentee we'd click on a social level. But these are people whom I read regularly, whom I have gotten to know on some odd and distant level.
Blogging is dangerous. Blogging is dangerous because it feels so safe. Social contraception, so to speak. I can pretend i'm interacting with these interesting and clever people on some real level, without having to risk putting myself on the line, without taking the chance that Sarah may find me dull or Josser may find me immature. I'm safe here. I am a rock. An island.
But even if I am "safe", I'm not happy. Because I miss being with friends. A group of people with whom I have shared experience and some shared interests. I've lost that somehow. The only friend I've gotten to see in the last month came over on Saturday. We hung out for a few hours, but barely talked. Ah, the glory of electronic media. How we thank you, oh television and DVD, for sparing us from the risk of sharing our thoughts. Thank you for letting us bask in your glow, and not have to worry about the fact that we are becoming strangers with everyone around us.
(My old friend Cynicism creeps in the door, chuckling. I offer him a seat nearby.)
So now, we come to the subject. Why we blog. Or, at least, why I blog. I would be lying if I said that the main reason was to let all my friends know what's going on with me. That does happen, but only two people read this site once in a while, so that can hardly be the reason. No, I think the real reason I blog is because I'm pretending that someone is out there who cares about this, who really wants to get to know me. I'm pretending I'm having a conversation with a friend. And I tell this friend interesting things I've heard and found. Cool music and movies that I recommend to my friend, who follows my advice because our preferences are so alike in those areas. When I'm angry, I vent. When I'm lonely and sad, I bitch and moan about the cruelty of the world and life and being an adult (ha, like that's true).
I blog because it sometimes makes me feel better about not making the effort to make friends and interact with people. When I feel the need to share something that's important to me, I blog instead of finding a face. Blogging helps me forget for the moment that I am alone, that I have no group of people who will drop everything to go hang out, or stay up all night playing Risk and drinking too much. That I have an empty apartment in a complex full of strangers in a town where the only people who know my name are my parents, sisters, and three or four co-workers.
Blogging is a fix, that satisfies the craving for feeling important and special and interesting. That's why I blog. And the sad part is, in light of this new-found personal understanding, I still can't find any reason to stop.
Let's face it, what else would I do?