The Search for Validation

Smart Mobs links to an interesting article on how the teenagers are using blogs. The following two paragraphs make me raise my eyebrows in not completely unlike Spock -manner:

What's consistent throughout is the search for validation. Though most say they write entries for themselves, it's a disappointment if no one responds. One Evergreen student recently posted a message pleading for feedback. "it makes me sad that no one leaves me comments. . . . i write like these huge entries . . . about so much stuff . . . and no one even says anything in return. and i go to all of your xangas or whatevers and ALWAYS leave a comment.

...

Most teens abide by an unwritten code of the blogosphere: What happens online stays online. Many have digital friendships with classmates but never socialize in real life "because we don't hang with the same crowd, as one Evergreen student explained.

The first one I've heard from many people also in the Finnish blogosphere. Feedback is what keeps many people writing, though some are still happy just to organize their own thoughts, and don't really care if someone reads them or not.

But combined with the second one... It's amazing how naturally the teenagers consider online life a completely separate arena, one that has nothing to do with the real life. It makes me actually wonder about things like the Finnish blog awards, or the blogger meetings that are occurring everywhere. It is strange to meet fellow bloggers, indeed: many people write only of a single aspect of their life online, be it their angst at being alone or their hobbies, or their day-to-day life. Very few people pour all aspects of their life into the internet, and even then the "compression" of the bandwidth is very lossy: you only see some things, with the less interesting bits removed.

Many people have told me that they like to read their own blogs. I like to do it myself, sometimes (then again, I'm not very critical at myself :). This is not really very surprising, as it most probably is the kind of text you like to read - and also because it makes your own life to look more interesting. It's kinda like doing social pornography on yourself - something that all of us do anyway. It's no more different than looking through old photographs, or resting your eyes on your own furniture (you chose it, so it must be pleasing).

Who are you blogging really for?

Why do I write online?

I guess there is no simple answer to that. Part of me yearns for validation: the "Hey, I read your entry the other day and I liked it" -moments. Part of me is narcistic: I want to be known, scream out that my life has not been in vain. Part of it is simply about the engineers built-in desire to change things, to have impact on the world - nibble away at the corner of a huge statue so that it becomes more beautiful. Part of me wants a place to store my thoughts in some coherent order, and an important part of me just needs to write.

But I guess the most important thing are the people. Weblogs allow me to share things with the people I love, allow other people to discover me and perhaps - if I'm lucky - they become friends. What I write is only a small part of me, but it is the part I want you to see. They are things I consider important, or things that move me. Or things that are just silly and make me laugh.

I like bloggers. Blogging is not yet tainted by rampant commercialism, nor big corporations saying "we want this", or "we monetize that". Blogging is about creating something new, be it in the form of your life, or just repeating old things but in a new order. Bloggers have their own voice, some of them beautiful, and some of them not so beautiful. Still, everyone should be entitled to their voice. To (mis)quote Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Fah. What a complicated rant with no point.




Comments

No no, Janne - plenty of good points and food for thought right there, at least to a person on the outside looking in to the blogger community.

--Lissu, 20-Jul-2004


Thanks :-). I just wish sometimes I could formulate my points in a clearer manner.

--JanneJalkanen, 20-Jul-2004


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