Wednesday, November 12, 2008

andy, you're a star

There was a time when I thought about going into blogging for profit. I heard about it from this seminar I attended for school and while I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to earn extra money, deep down I knew that I couldn't do it. I mean no offense to those who do it for a living. I know it's a decent source of additional income but I just felt like I would be betraying my blog's identity and that I didn't want money to be involved in my self-expression. While it would seem ideal to get paid to do something that I love, I just felt that it would be just like selling (what for years I've referred to as) my baby.

I was on Wikipedia the other night, jumping from one link to another when my phone started to vibrate. It was way past midnight and I didn't expect anybody to be awake and so I got curious and checked my phone. I got a message from a dear friend who was also a frequent blogger. I've been visiting her page for years now, from the time she was still on Blogger to her transition to Multiply. She started a new blog, she said and for her third move she chose a more secure and private domain. In her About page, she talked about her reasons for moving. Her primary reason is that there are too many people in Multiply and she needed to have a safe place for her more private thoughts. She sent us her private password for the protected posts as proof of her personal blog's exclusivity. (Say that quickly five times)

Another friend of mine blogged about something similar. I agreed with her when we were talking about it over break. She said that while most bloggers start writing for themselves, sooner or later they end up writing what they think they want people to read. Instead of expressing ideas, your blog has become a way to sell your thoughts (or at least your more interesting ones). It becomes a marketplace of sorts- strange for what was once meant to be a transparent online fortress.

This got me to thinking: has blogging transitioned from self-expression to self-promotion? I asked myself, have I started writing what I think people would want to read? Do I still mean what I say each time I publish a new post?

I remember when I was still young in blogger years, I didn't really feel comfortable with people close to me reading my blog. Slowly though, I learned to let them in and acknowledged that the Internet is indeed, public domain. I must admit, there are times when I edit what I write because I'm afraid that some people might not like it. It's a form of self-censorship, not unlike editing your diary in fear that someone might find it and read it. If I have made my posts tamer or angled it in a certain way to make it more appealing, how different would that be from writing posts for profit? Money is not the only currency, I learned. Have I been blog-whoring for attention?

Looking at my really old posts, I noticed that a lot has changed in my writing style. I used to talk about everything: music, books, movies, love, hate, crises, drama, life, death. Looking at my posts now, it seems so watered down. I came to the conclusion that while "blog-whoring for attention" may be taking it one step too far, I was dangerously approaching that level of corruption and if I don't stop soon, I may end up sounding less like myself and more like some washed-up advice columnist.

So while the Internet has made celebrities of several bloggers, I can honestly say that I have no aspirations for blog super-stardom. Maybe it helps to have a small reminder every now and then. At the end of the day, this page has become a part of me and the small number of people who frequent it, despite our distances, my brothers in this part of the Internet that we call home.