This blog thing has become obsessive. My husband calls it my “soft addiction.” I guess there are worse things to be addicted to: drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex in public places, catnip…
This addiction all started thanks to a friend of mine whom I shall call my “enabler,” or “E” for short. You know who you are! You…YES YOU!!!
E said to me one day…
“You always pick such cool and unusual gifts for my daughter, have you ever thought about writing a shopping blog?”
“A blog?” I said, “What’s that?” (I have told you all many times that I live under a rock).
E pulled out her laptop and introduced me to the mysterious world of the “Blogosphere.”
“See, she said, I have one too!”
I thought I knew my friend pretty well, but if she had told me she liked to run around her yard naked at midnight under the full moon, I couldn’t have been more surprised.
“You do????” I said.
And so…the seed of my addiction was planted in the fertile but very bored soil of my brain. I thought about it, and Googled it, and thought about it some more. Why not try it I thought. Just once. After all, E does it. But I will only try a little, and only just this one time.
Well…that was January and now it is April…and I CAN’T STOP!!
Something on NPR the other day really made me think even more about why I am spending so much time doing this. There was a piece by a college student about the narcissism of today’s young people. One of the claims she made was that the popularity of blogging is an indicator, or perhaps a result, of this increase in narcissism. Wait a minute, I thought, I have a blog! Am I a narcissist too?
I have thought long and hard about this. But I don’t believe that blogging, my kind of blogging anyway, is about narcissism. I do not write because I think that I am such a fascinating and wonderful person that I owe it to the world to share my every thought, emotion, and daily event. For me it is a social past time.
I do have actual, “real-life” friends. In fact, in my current small town, I have met more wonderful people than I have ever met since I left grad school. So why should I feel the need for “virtual” friends and acquaintances?
The simple answer is that, although it is entirely my choice and I am grateful to be able to afford to do so, it is lonely being at home alone with a baby and/or a 4 and 6 year-old (depending on school schedules and illnesses). I can only change so many diapers, wipe so many noses, and referee so many battles before I feel my neurons fizzling and popping one by one in a slow and painful decline…one “mom” at a time.
The complicated answer is that technology has brought us social isolation. Cell phones, faxes, email, and the internet enable us to work and carry on with the business of life without the need for face to face, human contact. Perhaps blogging is a way for us to reach out and connect with others of similar interests and backgrounds, just as we might have “gathered in the town square” 200 years ago.
The other aspect that fascinates me about modern technology is that although it does promote physical isolation, it also makes the world a much smaller place. I am in awe of my Clustermap and my “stats.” When an internet cafe patron in China or a cat-lover in Europe can read this small town Arizona mother’s words within seconds of their “publication,” that is totally amazing! I am connecting with people I never would have known 200, 100, or even 10 years ago.
This desire to reach out and connect with others is inherent in human-nature. To me, that is what blogging is all about. If blogging is by definition narcissistic, then so are all friendships and relationships. And that, I refuse to believe.
So, thank you E for being the “pusher” of my addiction and dragging me out from under my rock. Even though I am not exactly “unplugged” anymore now that I blog, I am connected, and that is what really matters in life!
Thanks to morguefile.com and photographer penywise for this great picture!