Monday, July 13, 2009

My view of the hazards of blogging

Not that I am the world's foremost blogging expert, but I wanted to share a few thoughts on the hazards of blogging, from where I sit. Which is in my office, because the air conditioner is out at my house. And I read James 1:2 this morning about considering it joy when you have trials, and realized that none of James's readers had A/C in the first place, but were facing trials like family abandonment and death. So, lack of A/C is annoying, but it's not really even a trial. Want a trial? Click over to Voice of the Martyrs and pick a prayer request.

The following list is for bloggers like myself, that don't have widespread following or national renown. People like the Teampyro guys, Frank Turk, or other long-term part-time bloggers have different hazards. So do people with big names that have blogs, like Thom Rainer or Al Mohler. But there are hazards for the little people like me. And I want to share them. So, the hazards of blogging? In no particular order:

1. Assuming people actually read your blog. Yep. That's a hazard. Why? Well, I'm pastor of a nice little church here in Monticello, Arkansas. I have 3 messages and 1 lesson to prepare every week, and a church to lead. I also blog. I have, sometimes, blogged about something and then assumed that people in my church were aware of what I had said. Guess what? They weren't. I have found myself assuming people knew what I meant when I referred to my blog. And then I learned something. All those stats that showed visitors with local IP addresses? Not my church members. So, I have learned to put time into most of my blog posts, but that they cannot consume my time. Nor can they be considered equal to my other responsibilities. Blogging makes a great outlet for me to rant about denominational life or political situations, because then I can focus on the Word in church ministry. But, I have to realize I need to say somethings both on the blog and in person. In short, don't assume that people are reading your blog and know what you're talking about. This would even apply to greats of the blog world. Add in that, even as you gain fame on the net, you might not be recognized on sight. Many bloggers use pen names, but they don't introduce themselves by that name. Which is fine, but if you introduce yourself to me as, for example, Jules, I won't automatically know you're from Everyday Mommy.

2. Assuming nobody reads your blog. This also applies to your comments on other people's blogs. I will not forget getting an email from a prominent Arkansas Baptist about my comments on a controversial issue on a blog. I didn't realize my comments were being read or noticed, since nobody really interacted with them. I rarely get comments on my own blog. My stats stay low. But, somebody is going to read it eventually. Really. So, if you're ashamed of it, don't say it. And especially don't link it to Facebook.

3. Spending all your time blogging. Enough said. Unless you're getting paid for it, do your job, love your family. Then blog.

4. Spending no time blogging. Don't run off at the keyboard. Say something. Or leave it alone.

5. Being more firm on your blog than in person. If you are a, for example, a hard-core KJV-only, anti-Rick Warren, Dispensational Fundamentalist that wants to burn Southern Baptists for heresy on your blog, don't be nice to me at lunch.

6. Being squishy on your blog when you're firm in public. Have some integrity. Don't come 'love is everything' the net world, when you're not that way in public.

7. I defended somebody on this from debate blog, but seriously: spell check. And grammar. If you do things like the sentence fragment before, blend them with real sentences. And watch for the run-on sentences. It's not perfect formal writing, but for the love of @Carpe_Comma, get it closer to right. And use a browser with spell-checker, or type it in a word processor first.

8. Sharing inside jokes without explaining them. Just don't. Unless it's a cult film or internet meme. For example, "Inconceivable!" or, as I searched for a bush Saturday, "Ni!" are okay. Some people miss the jokes (Princess Bride, Monty Python), but they'll be alright. On the other hand, if you and 3 people are the only ones that get it, than either parenthetical an explanation or even just (well, me and boB are the only ones who know that).

There's my list for tonight. I need to get to VBS.



  1. Doug: I am one that is going to be tougher on my blog and nice to you at lunch. It's who I am because it's not personal, it's about an issue or something else we may disagree on.

    It is because I can separate the two. If one can't, maybe they shouldn't be blogging or at least learn to separate the two. On the job, I could disagree with a co-worker or a boss yet have lunch or even go to a movie together that night. It is how I think it should be.

  2. Perhaps another hazard is due here:

    Be clearer about what you mean. Much of my blogging runs in theological circles, and some of it in political circles. There are people who will spew the most venomous anger on a blog, and then be excessively, insincerely sweet in person.

    So, that was intended for probably more of an extreme than most people ever live.

    The intent was to remind to be sincere.

    The ability to separate your blogging from how you live can be a useful skill, but at some point, the two must come together. Are you a different person at home, work, school, and church? And then a different person on the blog? Which person is the real you?


  3. I think I'm far more even handed on my blog than in person... but that's because in person I can gauge my audience/friends and speak to them accordingly, but on the blogosphere everyone can read me. So, I think I'm much more direct and aggressive when I'm one-on-one.

    " I said to her: Why don't you get yourself a real car?!" [smile]

    Sorry, had to share the ultimate "inside joke" joke.




    PS: Okay, okay, I'll explain it. That is the "punchline" to a joke that you and your friends can laugh heartily over when someone who isn't "in the know" walks up to your circle. The truth of the matter, though, is that it is a punchline without a joke before it, so it's truly the ultimate "inside joke." And I don't recall what it's from...

  4. Luke--

    In high school, our band director told a joke about a group of people that couldn't clap. The band director told them if they could clap, he'd give them an ice cream cone. First one tried to clap, missed. Second one, missed. Third flute player clapped successfully. He gave her an ice cream, and she lifted it to eat it---and planted it on her forehead. It's funnier with visuals.

    Point being: over the years, all he had to do was act like he was planting an ice cream on his forehead, and everybody got it, except new band members. Finally getting the ice cream joke explained was a form of showing acceptance to the new folks.

    I think it's interesting to note the types of different we all tend to be online compared to in person. That's part of what I've been struggling with personally, is the difference an acceptable one, due to the medium used and the ideas discussed, or does it reflect a lack of integrity or a level of hypocrisy? Probably something we should all continually evaluate in ourselves.

    Luke and Debbie, you both illustrate point #2: I had no idea you were reading my blog! (even if you just read it once.)



To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

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