The term “blogging” still feels very linguistically-challenged to me; a term accidentally generated from the contraction of the words “web log” back in the late 1990’s. It’s a weird word that just as easily could have come from the contraction of the words “bloat” and “soggy.” It sounds more like a medical condition than a web term, as in, “I think I contracted blogs last night.”
Somewhat surprisingly, I will still occasionally get the question, “So what is a blog?” I generally respond with something to the effect of just someone’s ideas, organized and placed on the internet for the world to see. WordPress, a website dedicated to assisting people with creating blogs and hosting websites such as this one, has over 60 million bloggers alone. Speaking of conditions, blogging is spreading like the plague.
The reason I started blogging was the encouragement of those around me who wanted to read some of my thoughts in a more formal and extended manner. I do not do this, nor ever plan to do this, for money, notoriety or personal gain (though I suppose I would not be opposed to the idea if presented…we all have to pay the mortgage); rather I do this because I really enjoy it. I love to read and write and if people can learn/enjoy/critique my ideas, and I from you—all the better. This is a true labor of love…and now that I am nearing my 50th blog entry after about 9 months of blogging, I have made some definite observations—thus, my state of the blog address.
To begin, as most of you know, I am the type of person who loves to float ideas, critique, and evaluate…everything. I really want to thank all of you for reading my blog and particularly those who respond to it with counter or correlating ideas to make conversations like this possible. We all are pressed for time so I know carving out a few minutes to read is never easy. So THANK YOU! Now onward we go with my 6 observations…
Most people are very reluctant to respond directly to this website. I cannot tell you how many times someone has texted me, run into me, even called me to say something about a blog entry. I strongly encourage them to respond on the site so others can read their thoughts though it rarely happens. Lazy? No, or else they would not exert the energy to text, call, or “face to face” me. I am still trying to figure out why this is. We have all heard of stage fright, perhaps this is “blog fright.” And speaking of making comments…
Many of the comments on a particular blog are far more eloquent, thoughtful and poignant than the blog entry itself! For those of you who take the time to really present your arguments, I am floored by the collection of wisdom of many of jimmysintension blog readers. I would argue that Dominick’s comments on my latest blog concerning Miley Cyrus’ ass shaking are far more interesting than anything I wrote. The point? Thank you for your comments and I encourage you all to read them if you have the chance. Now speaking of comments I may respond to or not….
I will never argue religious doctrine or dogma on this blog. If you reply to a blog article citing the koran, bible, Baghavad Gita, Ghandi or Tom Cruise for support, have at it my peeps though know you will likely not hear back from me. Why? Once you enter a book of faith into an argument you have effectively ended any further dialogue. If this were an Islamic blog the Koran would be great to quote. If this were a Christian blog with all Christian readers, the bible would be great to quote. But it is not. We have a VERY diverse readership with different faiths and non-faiths. Good arguments apply to everyone in the room with the logic we all share, not just a select few. There is a big difference between promoting a faith and selling it on its own merits versus using it as a source to back up a secular argument. My bible citing readers…what if one kept using the koran to back up their arguments? You could not argue because you do believe in it.
I am huge fan of faith, I really am. I encourage that type of important dialogue in your houses of faith, not here, or any medium that has a commitment to philosophical diversity and pluralism. To be frank, when one wants to use religious doctrine to back up a point of view, most of just gasp, roll our eyes and shut our mouths. Why? Because we know there is now no common ground on which to proceed. Any non-adherent to that faith system is effectively ousted out of the argument.
The following is a comment from a reader of my blog, Jessica, who disagreed with someone’s theological comment and I encouraged her to respond to the person on the blog itself:
“I honestly would, if it wasn’t a conversation I have in circles with my parents daily… It’s one of those things that the threshold is too high so it’s unreachable.”
I gotcha Jessica. And it is evident someone has had my critical thinking course! Some people like to take their unleashed dogmas on too many damned walks.
For better or worse, sensational and pop culture topics tend to generate the highest “ratings.” WordPress, my web host, keeps site statistics and tracks views. On any given day the blog has about 75 hits, some days far more (the top was 339) and some a bit less. Overall, as of this writing, the site has had 13,087 views. If I blog on something pop culturish, like a Miley Cyrus or a Seth Macfarlane, the numbers are far higher than if I blog about the justice system or the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. Of course this does not surprise me and will not likely effect what I blog about as I only argue about what interests me anyway.
I have learned the great importance of repetition in life. If you want to be good at something, or at the very least, better at something, you must do it often and over and over and over again. This is true in nearly any endeavor in life whether athletics, academics or writing. It takes time to discover your voice and is only found through repetition. Some of you have commented to me (again, usually via any medium except this blog) that they have discovered a nice rhythm to my writing. This rhythm can only be discovered through time and repetition. The legendary coach John Wooden claimed: The importance of repetition until automaticity cannot be overstated. Repetition is the key to learning.
As a result of this blog, I intend to begin a Jimmy’s Intension podcast soon. That way, you can download me and listen to my bullshit on the way to work! Like the intention of this blog, I intend to cross-fit all of this into my teaching…thus said podcast may be a bit more “lecturey”—yet, again, the rhythm, voice and style of the podcast will change in time with repetition. I would imagine the first few will suck; I can guarantee it. It would be so great if all of us could begin any new endeavor in the second year and skip the first…it would be nice. I intend to be able to take live callers and recording times will be posted on this blog. I am hoping many of you engage and do not suffer from “pod fright.”
There it is. My current State of the Blog. I hope you get infected.