Hey! I'm Emily... homebody, amateur philosopher, professional photographer, mama and wife. This is my little world-- a place for me to preserve the little snippets of my life that bring me joy, make me think, or show my creative leanings. I'm so happy you're here. If you get a minute, please introduce yourself in the comments. If you like what you see, you are invited to follow my blog through your RSS Reader. Just click the link at the bottom of the page to add me.
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Tuesday, May 5

Bloggin' Is Weird.

Just.... weird.

It is like a journal.... but with the added outside viewership/validation. It is a way to connect. It is a place for an audience. It is not impolite to be completely candid and blunt. There are no RULES beyond not being offensive enough to be flagged.

Why do I do it?

Used to be just a place to tuck little posts about my little life. Well.... it still is, actually... But used to be read by only four people. And now, while it is NOT a huge blog by any means, I do get a few more than four people checking in.

And that changed my blogging.

And lately, I have been missing those four people... and the other six or ten others who were with me from the start.

And I wonder why I blog... these days. To keep up with the Jones'? To stay "current" so my business thrives? To stay sane as a stay-at-home-mom? To infuse meaning into my day? To be popular?

And is any of it healthy? Unhealthy?

And are people still reading, even though my comment count has dropped significantly in the last few months?

And does that even matter?

(I do blame Google Reader a LOT. Convenient-- YES. Easy to skim/read/not go to the actual blog to say hi? YES oh YES. I am totally guilty of this.)

And.... if I am not connecting as much with my close friends and family here on the blog as it seemed I used to, is it a bad thing? Or a good, healthy push to reconnect OUTSIDE the internet universe?

Bloggin' is WEIRD.

We are all up in each other's grills, peering at the minutia... voyeurs to the intimate details of a person's home, a person's family, a person's THOUGHTS, a person's vents... a person's every little detail.

And we, exhibitionistically, continue to put the same things up on our own blogs. Come, everyone-- PLEASE examine my life and then tell me I am fit to be read... worthy to be loved... Tell me you admire me.

VALIDATE MY EXISTENCE.

Oh, MAN have I become a validation-whore.... truly.

If a girl makes cupcakes and DOESN'T blog about it, do those cupcakes really matter? Did they even happen? (Stef, an homage to your donut question...)

If I were to gently drift into just plain stay-at-home-mom-ness, and never give in to the need to TELL you about it, would my life lose meaning?

And is there deep irony here, in even writing about it in the first place, right here on my BLOG?

Ah, life. Ah, self. Ah, blogging... What a strange little phenomenon in our modern universe.

I have more to ponder.

Your thoughts, o faceless reader?

22 comments:

  1. O, I have a face, and it's beautiful! I agree, blogging is weird.
    To me, it's just more guilt of the things that I'm not accomplishing. (Haven't posted in over 3 months) It's like homework w/o a due date. And oh my hebbens, don't we all need some validation. Sometimes drool and messes just don't cut it.
    I love you love you love you and I love your blog. Keep it coming.

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  2. Anonymous1:59 AM

    I'm a religious reader my internet friend... all the way from Germany... active duty air force. Truth be told, I get sad when I see you don't blog every day.

    Keep up the great blog... it's a wonderful creative outlet, we get to see your baby grow, and we get to see some r-e-a-l-l-l-y cool lil' crafts!

    {ps}
    I still want one of those sock monkeys! Are you going to have a drawing some time soon? Pretty pretty please?

    -Becky

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  3. I think one of the funniest things about blogs is something you hinted at. It's a 100% voluntary thing people do, and yet some (me, for example, and some family members) feel actual guilt when we don't post an entry for a while. My last one is two weeks old (though I've been working on my WoW story blog more and more), and I'm like, "Man, I wish I had something to blog about."

    There shouldn't be that pressure, I guess. We should blog whenever we want and about whatever we want. I think I fall into the trap of "if it's not somewhat significant or noteworthy, it's not worth blogging about." That's why I love Sarah's (our sister) random tidbits about what is running through her mind. It's like an expanded Twitter, only far more interesting.

    More and more I think people use blogs as a way of catching up/catching people up with their lives. I've blogged about it before, how I feel like, especially with newlywed LDS couples, blogging is the new scrapbooking, a way of showing off their new kids and FHE nights and what not.

    There's nothing wrong with that (like I said, a blog is what the writer wants it to be- they should write for themselves first, and not for others)- it just happens to not be my thing. Or yours. Or any of our family member's blogs. I love how yours is like Sarah's, just a little peek at what you have going on in your life.

    And the best part about it? It's INTERESTING. There's nothing blase about your blog.

    All that being said, blogs do not determine one's identity. You determine your identity. St. Francis de Sales said "Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."

    If you make cupcakes and don't blog about them, they are still unique, amazing, incredible and delicious. Dad doesn't blog about his cookies, but they are still the best around.

    I am a comment/validation whore as well, particularly about my blogs (most particularly about my story). And I think that's normal to a degree.

    So keep it up. I love your blog. And don't worry about how often you do it. Blog when you feel like it, and if you don't have time at the moment, write a note and blog about it later.

    I'm positive most of your faithful readers are still out there (even if they have been sucked in by Google Reader).

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  4. i don't know why, and i'm sure it's most of the reasons you listed, but i thrive on it. i love getting emails and comments letting me know i'm not alone out there. being a mom to young kids IS a lonely job and times but with running a business also it means not much time for RIL friends, so my blog serves to keep me connected to SOMEONE. and i will fully admit that it runs my business, brings me new business and keeps clients coming back, which is always a good thing!

    keep blogging girl friend, i'd miss you terribly!

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  5. I only do it for my parents because posting photos on photobuscket was not enough, they were still calling me for the story. With the blog it saves time and helps with scrapbooking for later. Except with blog printing sites it makes it easier to not scrapbook. AAH. I get lots of ideas from blogs, like places to go, things to do etc.

    Keep blogging, we like it!

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  6. Ok, now I have comment envy. Who is this wise and sage Steven-person?

    I say ditto to his whole comment.

    But I understand what you mean about "needing" comments. I love how out-there you are on your blog sometimes, how exposed. I am still too shy to do that. Plus, when I try I get comments from my mom (IRL not on the blog!) like "I don't get it." Ugh.

    So consider this my validation of you. You. Are. Wonderful.

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  7. I blog-stalked you long before we became real friends...and it was so nice to have a semi-window into your life. I got to know a few parts of you before our friendship even began.

    I think that blogs are what you make of them, and what you are willing to put out there for others to see of you. The more raw and open you are, the more comments you'll usually receive.

    I use my blog mainly to update the fam on our life...I don't usually write anything too profound, for fear that when i do it won't come off as profound as I think it is....

    And really, aren't we all out here in this world seeking validation in some form or another? Let's just call a spade a spade, and say how we all love getting compliments and how we THRIVE off of them!

    So, the donut WAS still eaten...so I definitely think the cupcakes still mattered. (Esp mattered to whomever devoured them!!)

    XXOO

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  8. I think I fit in with the validation scenario but I also think of my blog as if someone in the distant future will be reading it just like a journal and now that my husband can't see the kids everyday, it's a perfect way for him to connect. I love your blog, advice, quips of info, etc. Love you, Emily!

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  9. I don't know if it's healthy or unhealthy, but I do know blogging is fun for me. I have friends spread all over the country, and I LOVE reading their blogs. I love the sneak peeks into their every day. . .

    I know that I never get the full or "real" story from any blog. I know that we all choose the parts of our life that we put on display. And I think that as long as we are all aware of that fact, that there's no reason to think of blogging as inherently exhibitionist or begging for validation. It CAN be that. But it can also just be sharing a part of ourselves with people we love that are far away, or with new friends that we only know in this virtual universe. They aren't less real, they just don't live next door.

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  10. I don't think it is too surprising to learn that "validation" and "value" come from the same Latin roots. With few exceptions, we ALL desire connection to others because we are all part of this human experience. Cliche though it may be, it is said that "no man is an island," and I think that is mostly because no man *wants* to be an island. I'm no psychologist, but I would even dare to argue that those who tend to be stand-offish or anti-social crave human validation deep down, as much as the rest of us do.

    As our wise brother said, validation is fine, but it is not essential to our own identity. I would use my own blog as an example. Despite my efforts to invite close friends and family members to read it, I really do not get many comments. (And no, this is not intended to be a guilt trip for anyone.) While I love to get comments like anyone else, and while I would love to get more, I don't let that discourage me. Yes, sometimes my blogging is spurred by others- I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to connect with others. Sometimes I intentionally write something to pique their interest or to try to spark a comment or two. But, like a journal, I also use it to record bits of random so I remember what I did or how I felt or what it meant to me... If others take an interest in that, I feel blessed to find those connections. If they aren't interested in the ramblings of an almost-30-year-old, I've still gotten some of what I wanted out of it. I am still me. I am still valid, even if others don't tell me so.

    I would briefly call to mind Elder Bednar's thoughts from Sunday night: there is nothing inherently wrong or evil with technology. If we are using it to pursue good and noble ends, whether it be through instruction or simply trying to connect with others in the world around us on an emotional or spiritual level, fine. But if we are so focused on the technological communication that we lose the value of real, human communication and connection, that is where we need to look to draw the line. We need to be careful about sacrificing real personal interaction for the sake of quick, often superficial technological interaction...

    Still, my point is this: You are valid. You are special. You are delightful. But you know that. It is true, whether or not I or anyone else tells you that. Trust in that.
    Of course, we'll still tell you that because we all need to hear it every so often. But even if we forget, you can still trust that it is true.

    As far as I'm concerned, innocent voyeurism is okay, especially when people are consenting to let you glimpse their personal lives. It gives us something ponder, to seek to understand, to connect to. If you're willing to share, we're eager participants. Thank you for letting us into a part of your life. For my part, it helps close the gap caused by those hundreds of miles between our cities...

    I love you.

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  11. Meh, I say blogging is natural to the generation we are a part of...it is another way to keep in touch with a distant world and to make our voices heard. I love your voice and a day with a blog entry from you is a happy day indeed. No pressure or anything. I think there is nothing wrong with wanting a little bit of validation here and there, and to get it through a creative format such as the blog, ain't nothing wrong with that.

    Basically, love your blog, guilt is inevitable, validation-seeking is necessary, and love your twitters too...in case you were curious.

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  12. I heart blogging. I love doing it. I love reading 'em. I love the whole dang thing. I guess I'm a nosey and share it all kind of gal, though. :)

    Loving you from afar!!!!

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  13. Ok, I am coming clean. You were the first blog I ever read daily back when I started my own. You left a comment to a question on setting up something or so and so on the Blogger help page. You were so cute and perky and ready to give all this great advice about cupcakes and photography. Adorable! Love you! But I have been blogging now for over a year and I have never left a comment on your site. Why? Ironically, because I am a little shy with strangers. Blogging is a complete paradox. But I love to share and I love to learn from others. Keep it up girl. You are fantastic.

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  14. Okay, okay, I'll start leaving comments....
    thanks for blogging - it gives me a peek into your life (and all my kids lives who blog) and it makes me really proud of what intelligent and insightful (I almost wrote incite-ful - tee hee) children I have.

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  15. I love your clever little blog although I hardly NEVER comment... but if it makes you feel any better, I don't really comment on any ones for that matter. I love to look, but hate to comment because how many times can I say "that's rad, I love it, you're the greatest,etc."
    The thing is, I love to hear those words no matter how many times it's said so I know how important it is to you too. I'll try to be better Em. I'll say this much right now... everything you do is awesome, sprinkled with a little bit of Emily dust. Kind of like having an ice cold Mountain Dew with a hint of grape flavoring to enhance the already perfection of a drink.
    Know that I adore you AND your honest, artsy blog!

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  16. I never do this.....leave a comment on a blog that I stack. (That sounds so freaky to say that). I don't even know you but i love your blog and your photography. (i saw it on bludomain. I'm working on my website as I type). Sorry if this freaks you out.
    However, I totally laughed about that post because, yes sometimes I feel like I need to post about making muffins or getting the mail. Do I really need to share my whole life with the world. Sometimes when I haven't blogged in a while, I need to. Like it is a job.
    I'm glad you wrote that. It made me smile at the end of a hard days work....thanks


    P.S. Yes blogging is so weird, but great at the same time. If it wasn't for blogging I would have never heard about you and seen your beautiful photography...keep it up!

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  17. Yeah, you bring up some good points. Personally, I feel like 'readership' is at once enviable and hurtful. I didn't start my blog to be READ...I started it as a journal 'for me, by me'--if you remember, I didn't even tell YOU about it; my best friend! And then, slowly, the small audience came...and it makes my day to get that e-mail that says someone commented, but I *hate* that I need comments to feel good about my entries. And I REALLY hate that I feel resentful when I don't get them. (And, I'll admit, I'm jealous when I see that you have 15 and I don't have any, yet...it's so ugly of me.)

    I've tried to start anonymous blogs, but they get found (not by anyone I know), and they get once-in-awhile comments, and I'm back to feeling pissy when they don't. I've even started an anonymous PRIVATE blog, that no one could EVER find, so there's NO chance at comments, and it feels utterly pointless. If I truly want to write in a private journal, I prefer the quirky-pen-and-lined-paper variety.

    In terms of content, then...that totally, totally changed, when I began thinking about an audience. I noticed it with yours (and not in a bad way, just a different way), but I also know that it's because you have all manner of folks reading: family of different ages, friends, other blog-stalkers you haven't even met, etc. So to keep their interest, you almost have to gear your blog to everyone, like a Christmas letter or a Best Man speech. (Those are weird and sort-of unpleasant comparisons, which your blog is NOT...but they were the only thing I could think of...giving a public address to people who you know, or kinda know, or don't really know well, wanting to entertain them while still keeping things personal enough so that people are assured they're getting a glimpse into your life.)

    I'm going on and on. Very insightful, Emz. Thanks for the interesting entry!

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  18. blogging is very weird. but i love it.

    i love that i've gotten to know so may people through this. in the moments of my life, these past few years, when i've been isolated and feeling a bit lonely, i can come here and find friends. and it has helped me get through those times.

    i love blogging.:)

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  19. OK, you might call me a debbie downer, but really I'm not trying to be... I love your blogs and keeping up with your life. But comments feel so one-sided - and maybe that's my fault for not having a blog for you to comment on. But this very comment is a case in point - I have no way of knowing if/when you've read it or what you think of what I think and there's no *conversation*. And since connection is part of what we're talking about, for me simply commenting on your blog seems to lack that.

    Not that I don't enjoy reading what you have to say, or seeing your pictures (and admiring your talent). I just think that when it comes to validation, I'd rather give (and get) it more directly.

    Though, as I said, maybe I wouldn't feel that way so much if I had a blog of my own (which I'm not ready for).

    So keep bloggin'. But I'd love a phone call or email, too :-)

    Love ya-

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  20. Julina---good point! I LOVE IT when I stumble on blogs where the blogger actually responds to comments. It makes me want to comment more, and to come and check back to see if my comment has been 'acknowledged.' It DOES seem one-sided (not just here, but on most blogs--which is why I don't comment all the time). I don't think I'd ever really thought about it that way specifically, but I think you hit the nail on the head. And by the same token, I have no idea if, when I respond to comments made on my own blog, if they ever get read; maybe if I did it more often, I'd know! :)

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  21. hahahahahah!
    yep, total validation slut here.
    and google reader voyeur too.

    thanks for writing this.
    (and I love you.)
    :)
    -galen

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  22. Ha! Now I've been validated by Genny! Maybe I don't need a blog, after all :-D

    Speaking of, have you seen the YouTube video "Validation" (about the parking attendant...)

    It fits right in to the conversation.

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