16 September 2015

Reasons for starting and keeping a blog (from my own experience)

Hello my fellow bloggers and to all you newcomers in the blogosphere out there!

If you are or ever have been in any doubt about wanting to start or keeping a blog - even at a humble, 'amateur' level - I want to tell you some of the benefits I've had by keeping a blog and sticking to it through the years, no matter its content or purpose.

A blog was for not that many years ago regarded as a somewhat silly past-time hobby to have; like keeping a diary online or just collecting all the private things made public on social medias such as Facebook in one, less distracting place. You could have more free reins with the design of the blog as well as who you wanted as your target audience. That, of course, is still the case, except it has become far more accepted to keep a blog as a part of your professional life or area of interest. The voice of bloggers in general is being taken more and more seriously as well.

Besides, blogging is a quick and easy way of publishing your opinion upon a relevant subject, get comments and feedback and get a discussion going. You get to reach out to people on the other side of the earth and also have easier access to the younger audience who get their news mostly online rather than through the old medias such as newspapers and TV and you hereby avoid any unnecessary bureaucracy that comes with publishing through the latters. In that sense, social media and blogging are revolutionizing because through those platforms every voice can publish and be heard in a way that wasn't possible before [the Internet]. However, with such a huge leap into that part of the globalization, one has to adopt a critical eye/ear as well. Private and public spheres mix to a greater extent than prior. Imagine one infinite section of reader's letters and consider who and where all the voices come from when you read the different 'voices'. As my point is: always keep an open, yet critical mind to everything you read.

Anyway, let's scale down a bit again. 

My own blog, this blog, is an amateur blog, if you'd call it that, in the sense that I never had a specific or scientific purpose other than wanting to write about (old) movies, TV, culture and day-to-day stuff I observed in my life. So has it progressed over the years, gradually and naturally with more academic knowledge filled in between the lines after I started at university. Still not in the league with the scholars and their academic blogs but still - I hope - with a potential for a (pop)cultural critique of the world, so to speak, online. At least, (and not to toot my own horn) I find myself discovering some rather interesting, albeit half-done points I've made throughout the years and which are worth re-examining in a more theoretical and critical way - even my own methods and thinking. It's even better when you stumble across points made in class by a scholar and you realize you came across this particular field years earlier when you examined a certain phenomenon or film etc.. Only now you have a term for it. Suddenly you have a great example or idea for your next written assignment - with legitimate theory to apply!

I tell ya, it makes all the difference if you as a 15-year-old tried to convey a serious and passionate point about a (pop)cultural matter (which are hardly taken seriously in the first place) but all you had was your own conviction as an argument which wasn't enough to dissuade people's skepsis. And it gets to the point where you yourself gets so frustrated with your own inabilities to legitimize your words that you start to disbelieve even yourself and whether it really just is 'silly stuff' to be interested in..! Ugh, it's the worst! But then you start at university, studying the very things you've always spoken so passionately about, and now you actually have older peers and scholars and famous theorists arguing, explaining and confirming all those points and thoughts you had as a kid..!! I'm a bit embarrassed to say so, but one of the best feelings I know is when you can shoot down sceptic, ignorant and/or arrogant attitudes about 'all that silly stuff' such as film, TV and comics and other cultural phenomenons with truly legitimate arguments and back it up your own words on top of that. You follow?

Anyway, what I want to say is that a blog is great way to follow and (re-)examine your own progress throughout your life; your growth of mind and soul, your intellect and values, how you view the world; everything you more or less take for granted when the days, months and years roll by and suddenly a decade has past and you wonder how much you've changed, whether you've changed at all or stayed the same? Have you learned anything, and what can you give the world in return? What can you be and where will you end up?

A blog is like a diary - with dates and all - you can go through and review or (re)use in different areas of your life, not necessarily directly, but indirectly; to have in the back of your mind; that thing you once wrote at that certain point in your life, now seen in a new perspective, a new light, have it confirmed, re-affirmed, denied or challenged. From that you grow, you develop, and you learn - not just about yourself but all the stuff around you. Even the smallest things you yourself took for granted. And even those innermost treasured matters you fought so dearly to protect as a kid, you learn, can be challenged and reviewed, and not always for the worse. At least, that's what I've experienced over the years. And I hope you will as well.

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