I’ve been blogging in this space for a year now. Last summer I was prodded by a friend into this (mostly) biweekly blog for the City Church website. I’ve been thinking about lessons I’ve learned from blogging.
Good blogs feature what I call ‘clinks’ (a neologism formed by combining clickable and links). Clinks direct readers to other websites that provide further reading, background material, entertainment, etc. Through clinks blogs leverage the web’s most valuable feature—it’s webby-ness (i.e. inter-connectivity). Good clinks equal good blogs.
Frequently critics decry the solipsistic and parasitic nature of blogs. Many blogs are self-focused, filled with minutiae about their writers’ lives. Before long these blogs degenerate into lamentation over infrequent posting, writer’s block, guilt about how life has crowded out once-central blogging. (I realize that with this meta-post I’m treading perilously close to the very thing I observe.)
Other blogs offer no new content, feeding solely off the work and insights of others. While it can be helpful to have information collected and organized by others, rss feeds render such blogs superfluous. That’s why it’s important for blogs to contribute something unique to the conversation.
The brilliance of blogging lies in democratically allowing anyone to push thoughts to the web. Of course, this is also its great liability. Many thoughts are not share-worthy, only adding to our mental clutter, distraction, and time-wasting.
Many of the best blogs are themed—pulling in content around a specific topic. Sharp focus provides these blogs with fertile material and allow an audience to form around shared interest. Too broad a theme (or the misguided notion that a single blog must address its theme comprehensively) leads to over-posting, burn-out, and reader fatigue.
Readers of this blog (thanks to both of you, BTW) will generally find reflections on how everyday issues and cultural artifacts interface with the reality of the Christian gospel. While perhaps not a ‘theme,’ I hope that thread makes these entries thought-provoking without being burdensome.
What I’ve Learned
Here are some final lessons learned from blogging this year:
- It’s okay for blogs to die. (This is not a covert way of saying this one is dying. Some might argue, it's been dead for some time.)
- Blogging (writing and reading) is not for everyone.
- Blogging is one more form of communication—with opportunities and liabilities.
- Good blogging reveals reality (its oddity, its subtlety, its beauty, its complexity)
- Good blogging makes us more human (by helping us think, relate, act, and even worship more deeply).
- Blog comments bring out ‘the crazies’