Over the past year I’ve written a monthly #digidiscipleship post. It’s been a great experience for me. I’ve really appreciated the chance to ‘give it a go’ having never blogged before, and to do so in the helpful, positive community of the Big Bible project. It’s also made me feel a bit braver about engaging in other digital activities. But this is my last blog post, because it just isn’t for me.
Partly that’s because I don’t really have enough opinions on stuff to blog regularly. The having-of-opinions is something I was cautious about from the start. There are so many opinions about these days – everybody has them about everything. In many, many ways that’s a good thing. But it makes for a lot of chatter and noise and, yes, stridency, and in my discipleship I really want to be learning to say less and hear more. It’s brilliant that Christians are engaged and vocal about so much, but there are other, quieter ways of engagement.
And then there’s this: blogging, even in something community-ish like #digidiscipleship, hasn’t felt very relational to me. I’m not sure whether it should do – I haven’t got how it works, perhaps. Bizarrely (and I keep thinking I must be wrong about this), it feels less relational than even the most traditional forms of publishing or teaching that I’ve been involved in. I don’t even know whether anyone has read most of my posts, and I just haven’t managed to grasp the ‘comments’ culture in general. Beyond the big blogs and the controversial topics, there is a hint of the Marie-Celeste hanging over those empty comment boxes. I have tried to say ‘great post’ where I’ve thought so. But my attempts to engage more discursively, especially in tentative disagreement, have either resulted in a bit of a defensive slap or in a Pollyanna-ish rush to agreement. That leaves me wondering about the purpose of the comments box – perhaps it’s not a genuine invitation to engage? Is it really for mates to say something affirming, and if a complete stranger makes a remark it feels a bit creepy? Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but in my experience they are on the blogs of unusually mature, secure people.
So blogging seems to me to be largely about putting yourself out there and not expecting any interaction. I find this weird in others, and wholly undesirable in myself. Which leads me to the whole strange public-private thing about social media in general. Lots of blogs I read seem to be about private-ish personal thinking made available to a public audience (should one happen by). The log is a sort of personal mode of record keeping (“thoughts I’ve had”, “ooh look, at this!”, “things that make me cross”), but floated on the web-at-large. This public-but-intimate social media thing really interests me – it has so, so much to do with how we function individually and corporately, how we perceive the boundaries and the core of our world. But it makes me very nervous, too. Especially it makes me personally uncomfortable. I’m not great at doing my thinking on the hoof in public, and I’m too shy to publish spontaneously (or otherwise) my private thoughts. I keep a journal (hard copy: nice notebook) and the joys and struggles and notes-to-self I record there are not for public consumption. I also write professionally: talks, articles, sermons, and these are for public offering but are prepared thoughtfully.
So, mostly I just feel as though I still haven’t quite got the hang of blog mode, and that what I see mostly isn’t a medium which suits me. I’ll go on enjoying (and wondering at) other people’s blogs, I’ll go on running the gauntlet of the comments box – and I’ll certainly going on being a digidisciple. But this monthly battle with myself about exposure-v-privacy and spontaneity-v-preparedness can take a break. Who knows, when I’ve had a lie down, I might begin to sense what sort of a blog would fit me.
Meanwhile, that’s all.