October 20th, 2006

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01:08 am - on blogging and beatings...

Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
so I was planning on writing this a couple days ago, but I kept being busy with other stuff. As events would happen, I'm glad I waited. As today I had reason to rethink things.

So the thing I've been wondering about is how people decide what to and not to put in their blogs. I got into a conversation last week about the nature of blogs and whether or not it was really possible to write one that wasn't about you.

When I first started this thing, it was essentially a diary. A standard post of mine might mention that I had been laid off, that I had been in a car wreck, that I was having trouble quitting smoking or that I had totally schooled max1975 in tennis and made him cry like a little girl. Various little tidbits of my life. I suppose they were interesting if you knew me but not especially so if you didn't.

As time went on I started writing more and more little rants about whatever bug happened to be up my ass that particular week. Wonder of wonders, people seemed to find them interesting and so I was kind of encouraged to write more. The more I realized that people were actually paying attention to me the less I really wanted to talk about the mundane aspects of my life. Part of it was me wanting to be entertaining, and part of it was me wanting my life to be separate than the person that writes this thing. And honestly the more I began to make that seperation, the more I began to enjoy it. So Mav the blog persona became a completely distinct aspect of my life than the one I live every day. And it became very rare for me to mention something at really had something to do with my life.

Today I'm going to make one of those rare occasions.

I got a call from mamarayne this afternoon asking me to read this article. Please by all means check it out. The base story. In my hometown, a few lunatics were looking for someone who may or may not have vandalized their house. They couldn't find him, so they opened fire on a group of random teens. No one got hit, and the teens scattered and ran. The lunatics caught one of the kids, shoved him in their car and pistol whipped him to try and find out where the vandal was. He did not know the person, so was unable to give them any information. So they beat him more, until by chance a police car happened by the parking lot they were beating him in and rescued him. Apparently they weren't very smart lunatics.

Anyway, what the article neglects to mention is that the 15-year old boy in question is my cousin's son

So there you go. A personal connection to my life. And you know what the kicker is? I don't really have anything interesting to say about it. Its not just that its too close to me or anything. I just don't have a spin. Buncha lunatics. Did a horrible thing. I hope they get locked up for a good long time. Yep, that pretty much covers it.

So really, I guess what it comes down to is, my blog isn't really about me at all. In order for me to really have something to say, it needs to be something I have something to say about. The existence of a link to my life or lack thereof is secondary.

But I am wondering about other people. How do you decide what to write about? Do you keep mostly to talking about your life? Do you consider what might or might not be interesting to the reader? What makes you keep a blog and how do you decide what goes in.

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

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From: ludimagist Date: October 20th, 2006 - 12:24 pm (Link)
First off, how is your family doing with this? Is the kid ok or anything reasonably approaching ok?

Second, in answer to your question, I think I have a multi-purpose LJ. The locking function really changes how the tool is used. My locked post are primarily to communicate with my friends and talk about what's going on in my life on a personal level, and may have nothing to do with the public posts at all.

The public journal is about 70% PR tool, 25% blog in the way that you use it, and then the rest made up of random various other things. As a PR tool it's been pretty good. I know it's one of the first hits that come up when I'm googled and I know that people who consider hiring me for various theatre jobs have seen it before choosing me, so in that sense having recent theatre stuff up there has helped me. I also was told by one of the organizers of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference that the entry I posted on them last year was one of the things in their PR packet that they gave to sponsors.

I have public occasional commentary on arts and whatnot, but I know I have to be careful as I'm pretty sure my students and some of my profs have found it. As I get closer to the full on professorial job search I may have to reconsider how I use it again and possibly lock almost the whole thing.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 20th, 2006 - 08:51 pm (Link)
See, I use AIM, the phone and conversation to communicate on a personal level with my friends. The intereaction is just much better. Consequently I rarely make locked posts. As a PR tool, for wrestling, myspace is much better.
[User Picture]From: marsinthestars Date: October 20th, 2006 - 12:30 pm (Link)
p.s. "Apparently they weren't very lunatics."

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 20th, 2006 - 12:32 pm (Link)
very smart... fixed.
[User Picture]From: marsinthestars Date: October 20th, 2006 - 12:33 pm (Link)
me or the lunatics?
From: wooble Date: October 20th, 2006 - 12:50 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 20th, 2006 - 08:52 pm (Link)
heh... well, the US haven't been caught yet.
[User Picture]From: marsinthestars Date: October 20th, 2006 - 01:19 pm (Link)

trying to fix the irreparable markup...

Personally, my blog has undergone a huge transformation in the past few weeks (I know, I know, what in my life hasn't?)

I originally began it just to read a story that ludimagist refused to tell over IM, since he had already written about it (and locked it) on LJ. So for awhile I did nothing with it, save for getting to know you and reading occasional stories he didn't want to repeat twice.

Then I discovered that my spread out cousins were on LJ, and soon LJ covered two lands - the land of updating about my life, locked, for their benefit, and then occasionally something fun and unlocked, perhaps a meme or random thing I had seen. My friends grew, and I began separating out the locked posts for family, from the semi-locked posts for people I saw day to day or had met online, from the public posts.

But now I'm in another country, and no one who reads my blog sees me day to day. So now I'm posting a lot more personal stories, but locking them on less of a filter.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 20th, 2006 - 08:55 pm (Link)

Re: trying to fix the irreparable markup...

hmm... well blogging as a travelouge makes sense. But like I was saying to Meron, I just kinda feel weird about using LJ as a means of personal communication. Filtered or otherwise.

I do it on occassion, but it just feels kinda inefficient, impersonal and odd... especially given how much the character I portray here has deviated from the real me.
[User Picture]From: marsinthestars Date: October 21st, 2006 - 04:26 pm (Link)

Re: trying to fix the irreparable markup...

"it just feels kinda inefficient, impersonal and odd... especially given how much the character I portray here has deviated from the real me."

But that's not true for me, on several levels. I don't create a character for LJ, I tell personal tidbits about my life the equivilent of which I would share in person were I able, and I have neither phone nor AIM available to me for the next 6.5 months. Well, phone is available but VERY expensive. And even when I do have phone and AIM in the US, my cousins and I are spread out enough that phone is difficult due to time zones, and we don't all use/have AIM. So for me LJ is the best option; though I also send e-mails and letters those tend to be less current and less specific about events or stories that happened to me today.
[User Picture]From: lonelocust Date: October 20th, 2006 - 04:48 pm (Link)
I mostly just talk about myself. I was reading my old entries and, in between whining several times a day about how depressed I was, I used to make posts with actual content. I don't so much anymore.

I'm not too worried about that, though. I mostly use LJ as a way to keep in touch with friends that are far away. I like seeing about their lives, and it's a way to know that they know what's going on with me if they want to.

I enjoy the blogs of several people who post content, such as you.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 20th, 2006 - 08:56 pm (Link)
thank you... I'm glad someone considers it content. :-)
[User Picture]From: sugarpinkrose Date: October 27th, 2006 - 07:49 pm (Link)
Funny you should post this. I have been giving these exact questions some thought over the past couple of days. My LJ has entirely lost its focus and it needs some redirecting.

I think, overall, that there isn't much use in posting unless there is at least something in it for the people reading. I don't mind doing posts asking for opinions- the people on my friends list, for the most part, are people who truly like helping others, and I can almost always count on getting "good intel" from the people on my friends list.

I've also decided that nobody cares that I did my laundry today, and that I had mahi mahi for dinner last night...etc. I used to write in paper journals daily, and I find that I don't even care to re-read these things. So if I don't care to read them, why would anyone else?
Overall my life is blissfully boring at the moment- I'm happily married, my husband supports me, I live by the beach, and there isn't that much exciting going on. I've often thought that it would be more interesting for me to write my memoirs or something. My Uncle Ron once told me, in all sincerity, "You've lived an interesting life". (And I only really told him the G rated parts.) Reading through the old journals, there are many interesting things that can be distilled out of the daily dosage of boring entries like "and today I almost killed my sister, studied for a math test" and blahblahblah.

The other thought I had was that it might be fun to blog about things and people and ideas that inspire me.

Of course it still comes back down to "me"...just because these things inspire me, there's no guarantee that they would inspire anybody else...

I will look forward to reading what everyone else has to say about this too. It's a topic I am very interested in!

[User Picture]From: sugarpinkrose Date: October 27th, 2006 - 07:54 pm (Link)
Just wanted to add, I hope that Darius is OK...

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