When you maintain a blog, there are a lot of things you have to consider. How often you’re going to add new posts, what you’re willing to talk about, if you have a focus or if you’ll talk about family as just a few examples. Each one is crucial to how your blog is going to turn out, and while I think I’ve come to terms with each of those for myself, there is one other issue that I still feel that I contend with on a regular basis, one which I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to solve and which, at its root seems to be a problem not necessarily with the media itself, but with sharing anything at all, especially in the digital age.
Essentially, how do you have a discussion with an ostensibly one way form of communication?
Now I know that there are comments here and on Facebook, that you can tweet at me on Twitter or even, if you feel that strongly, email me, but I don’t feel that most would go to the length of writing an email, and none of the others is nearly so long or in depth as an actual conversation at least has the potential to be.
If I truly were an expert at well, anything, if this blog were simply about how to do X or Y with precise and correct technicality, this might not be such a problem, but both blessedly and problematically, I’m not. I still need help and guidance, I still need instruction, heck, I still (*gasp*) change my mind, which, as with most of the endeavors I seem to take on, seems like a somewhat counter-cultural approach.
This, more than anything, seems to be my great issue. See, there are things that I know or believe to be ultimately true (and I have no problem speaking of those as such), but there are many, many things that I feel much less sure about and many, many, many things that I feel ultimately have to come down to personal choice, God’s grace and creativity being large enough to not only allow but perhaps even necessitate differing views (which just said a lot that I unfortunately don’t have time to unpack here). Except when you write a blog or article, at least nowadays, it often seems that the goal is (or should be) not necessarily to explore an issue so much as it is to tell your audience what they should feel about it, which is simply not how I work when it comes to these other issues.
I am on a journey. I want to take it with people, whether or not they agree with me. Further, I want to be able to leave room for discussion, not just here, but in all my writing and hopefully in much of my action. How can I do that when I am expected to speak from my “platform?” When the entire goal of social media marketing seems to be to put me in the highest (or at least higher) position in my field? To make me the expert?
This problem loops back to the one I first mentioned above, I think, which is that at least from much of what I see, social media is increasingly designed less as a platform for community and more as a platform for self-promotion, that is to put out opinion, but not to take any in. In a lot of ways, this is practical. In a lot of others, it is disheartening. See, even if I wanted to have discussions with people through these kinds of things, I’m not sure that I could. We live in a world that is often lived by personal truths, people living in their own realities by their own rules and definitions, and while I do believe that we can be unified despite differences in a lot of areas, it’s extremely difficult to talk to someone who doesn’t have the same definition of even the simplest terms. Compound that with the haters-gonna-hate attitude that many have today, that my opinion can simply be disregarded (if not villainized) if it doesn’t align with yours, and you can start to see my problem. Add to that mess the fact that if social media marketing did “work out” for me (at least by worldly standards, the longer I live the less sure I am that I even want success of that kind) I could be inundated with comments or responses. With the life I lead, I couldn’t possibly have real in depth conversations like I want with some 100+ people from the internet even if we were all on the same page to start.
I’m not sure what the solution to this is, if there even is one. I don’t know if I can combat the negative aspects of social media marketing, if I can reconcile how I want to live with using those techniques at all, or how to do any of this.
Perhaps the solution is simply to keep doing what I’ve been trying to do, that is trying to share opinions with grace, trying to share with humility.
Maybe the solution is to try to have more conversations at home and not even do this at all.
I guess I don’t know. Not to end on a sour note, but I guess I’ll just have to find out.
P.S. Thoughts? Opinions? Do you have a blog? Do you have to self-promote? How have you handled these issues? Have you struggled with them at all?