Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I encountered this article on blogging today. It raised the question for me: Is expressing your feelings and connecting with people via a blog, which by its nature is public and, to some extent, distant or abstract, a form of courage? or is it cowardice?

The courageous aspect is that anyone can read what you posted. Rather than you selecting a trusted friend, relative, therapist, etc., to bare your heart, with the confidence that what you say will stay with that person rather than being scattered all over the streets to be trampled and torn like yesterday's newspaper, in blogging you are baring yourself to the world. In a sense, writing an honest blog is like the proverbial nightmare of being naked in front of a crowd.

The cowardly aspect is that you haven't sought out any particular person to trust. You haven't committed to anyone the gift and burden of sharing something no one else will hear. In asking someone particular to listen to you --to give you their time and attention, to care what you have to say, to continue caring for you once you've said the things no one is supposed to know--you make yourself vulnerable. You tell someone you trust them, and if they turn out to be unworthy of your trust, you are more shaken than you would have been if you had never trusted in the first place. To extend the metaphor of nakedness: Speaking to someone directly can be more frightening than addressing an anonymous public in the same way that being naked for someone you care deeply about is more of an emotional risk than exposing yourself in front of strangers who do not know you and whose opinions you can easily blow off.

Which variety of physical nakedness is more of an emotional risk depends on who you are. I suppose the same goes for the emotional or intellectual nakedness of communicating. The courage/cowardice mixture must depend on the particular blog and blogger.

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