The art of blogging, it is fair to say, has come of age. Although more younger people are just beginning to write their thoughts and lives for the Internet public to see, there are millions of older bloggers who have managed to overcome the first three months of cyberlife and continue to write. They have discovered that sharing, even if hardly anyone visits their site, is a relief from the stress and strain of everyday life, an outlet for their thoughts and opinions. With a weblog anything can be written and published, within reason.
Sadly I must add that caveat because of the censorious restrictions placed in some countries around the world. We read of bloggers who have been sentenced to jail terms for their thoughts, of those who have been publicly whipped or even killed. Freedom of opinion, when voiced in such a public domain as the Internet, is not a Right everyone enjoys. There will always be someone who disagrees with what has been written, for whatever reason, and some of these people, these officials, have the power to disrupt, to stifle, to destroy.
We also see, over the last few days especially, how the public domain Internet can be exploited. Live pictures of a murder in Virginia, USA come to mind immediately, but also the disinformation fed to a willing, gullible public by governments, by lobbyists, by ministries around the world. We see two sides to every story, sometimes more, and have to decide for ourselves what is real, what is imagined, what makes a difference to us and our world. We see verbal and pictorial abuse, devastation, plight, sorry and hatred. We live, in the manner of an outsider, the lives of those who write, who send their thoughts, their experiences out into the world of the Internet for all to see.
Photo Source: Clint Lalonde – Creative Commons
Blogging is alive and well, in a way, it is the people behind the blogs we should look at. What we read in the news media is, of course, very selective, designed to sell rather than to inform. We do receive the information we are looking for, or which is being fed to us, but not necessarily that which brings us a balanced and fair view. Politics plays as much a part in the media as it does in political life. Weblogs, in a similar fashion, can also be biased; we all wish to show the best side of ourselves, tell the best stories, present the most rounded opinion. We are not so much presenting ourselves as presenting what we wish to be, how we wish to be seen. We create an alter ego of ourselves, of our lives, which is filled with excitement, with interests, with character and personality. In theory.
I blog, therefore… But are we? It would be impossible to present a complete picture of our lives, of our feelings, of everything that goes to make us what we are. No one is capable of writing about themselves in such a manner that anyone reading the words, viewing the images, can leave with a whole picture, a definitive understanding. Perhaps we just blog to show that we are here, and hope that what we write, what we publish, will remain after we have gone. Perhaps we write in the hope of gaining contact with others of a similar opinion, similar circumstances and interests. Perhaps, in some cases, we write because we are lonely and have no other way of communicating our feelings, fears, emotions.
The Internet, when it comes to blogs, captures absolutely everything in life in one way or another. Put everything together, without taking sides, and it is possible to gain a deep and meaningful idea of modern society across all of its levels. This last is the reason why blogging is so successful, why it will survive. We, as we write, as we publish, contribute something to society that has never been there before: social history in a manner which, only ten years ago, was unthinkable. No matter the trials and tribulations, no matter the risks, the hatred and vitriol, the Internet, on a personal level, is alive and showing all of its faults, all of its good points and helping us, from afar, to understand. This is our contribution, this is why we write in the end.
- Viktoria Michaelis.