Blogs, vanity & ego
Posted by Oli on Tuesday 8th December, 2009
I’ve been reading a friend’s blog this morning after another friend pointed it out to me. It’s a very interesting take on a couple of articles from the Sunday papers. Read it all here.
The pertinent part of the article for me was this paragraph:
“I use this medium to keep writing and putting my ideas out there, but could it also be a sort of safe haven of vanity, mainly accessed by friends and family, hardly ever questioned or criticized? There’s certainly at least a grain of truth in that.”
It made me reflect on what this blog is all about and why I’m still writing it. I don’t think it’s too strong to say that blogs are almost universally vanity exercises to some extent. While some bloggers are clearly onlt writing to massage their own egos and lead people to compliment them in various nice ways, all bloggers to a greater or lesser extent write because they want people to read it and read about them and their opinions.
When I first started writing SmileThroughIt back in 2006, the blog was intended for me to keep an online diary of the ups and downs [hopefuly] leading up to transplant. I wasn’t writing out of vanity – indeed some of the things I wrote about I didn’t particularly want to tell people – but rather out of the hope that someday someone reading the blog could gain some strength from knowing that someone else had been there before, much in the same way as Emily and I helped each other through experiences we shared on our road and the way Emily guided me through the frightening first weeks post-transplant when the world had changed instantly.
Even that, though, has an element of ego in it. I wanted people to read it and feel affected by it. Ostensibly I wanted to make a difference to someone else’s life, but how vast an ego did I have to think that words on a (virtual) page could really impact and comfort someone to that extent?
More recently, I’ve been blogging less and less as the minutiae of my day-to-day life is now not all that different from other people’s. I contemplated stopping the blog, but some of my readers protested and I kept going, but even then I’ve not blogged in the same open and honest way as I had previously.
Take Liverpool for example. If you read the posts on this blog from September, October and November you would have no inclination at all of the struggle I was having at the time trying to keep myself happy and weighing up the option of whether to return home or not. The ego in me didn’t want people to know I was struggling – I didn’t want people to think I was living an unhappy life as I felt it to be some kind of betrayal of my donor.
Now, this blog is here to serve almost nothing but my vanity, or so it seems. I can keep my writing honed, I can keep my family and friends abreast of what I’m up to and I can occasionally comment on something I want to comment on. But I’m not entirely sure what else it’s for, or whether it’s something I should still be doing.
Any which way you look at it, blogs are vanity. Not always consciously and not always in a negative sense (vanity’s not always a vice), but they are very insular and – as Miss Write points out – they largely go uncriticised.
The next month will be blogging as usual on this site, but in the new year you’ll see a radical overhaul to morph the blog into part of a new project that should be hitting the ‘net in January or February 2010. Keep watching, the ego has landed.