Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My First Blog

I was so excited to finally have my very own blog that I had tremendous difficulty coming up with an appropriate topic with which to launch it. For nearly a month I wrestled with what to write about. I listed several possibilities and meditated on the numerous insights I could offer into each of them. I thought my most promising subject was the ever-changing face of technology (I even had a great title picked out: "I'm Being Dragged Kicking and Screaming Into the Twenty-first Century"). Before making my final decision, however, I wanted to be certain that I wasn't misusing my blog. I figured there was no point in starting this whole thing off on the wrong foot. The truth of the matter is, I didn't even know for sure what a blog was. I had heard the term many times, and had even used it myself on occasion, but never actually bothered to learn its strict definition. I began to wonder how many people, including those who regularly keep one, truly know. I had come to assume it was simply an outlet for those who didn't have a TV/radio show or newspaper/magazine column to share their thoughts and feelings about what's happening in the world. I thought a blog was a way of providing a voice for those individuals who couldn't otherwise get the attention of hordes of people, a way for them to reach others (lots of others) with their ideas and opinions. I soon found out that it can be that, but it doesn't have to be.

For the benefit of those who still may not know, "blog" is short for "web log," i.e. a log kept on the web. Obviously this does not refer to the kind of log a lumberjack would send down a river, but rather (for those who never watched Star Trek) a kind of journal or diary. This discovery relaxed me a bit. The pressure of finding the "perfect topic" and writing the "perfect first blog" was taken off. A blog entry does not need to be a professional writer's column or a college essay paper. I mean, how many folks write in their diary as if they were Thomas Paine? I need not wax eloquent about deep ideas and profound truths. I can come on and write completely stupid and inane remarks about nothing. (as many do). I also don't have to write paragraphs and paragraphs of words. I can be short and sweet (as many are). I could get on and write, "Hey there! Just got back from Tucson. Wanted to let y'all know. Later!" or "Whoa! I never realized before how hot Bea Arthur is. I am so drunk right now..." and they would both be legitimate blog entries. In other words, a blog is whatever the blogger wants it to be. Thus, I resolved to make my very first blog a simple, straightforward announcement, a mere: "Hello, everyone. Here I am. Stay tuned," and leave it at that

But I couldn't.

The truth is I can't get excited about engaging in an activity, especially a semi-regular one, unless I believe it to be in some way substantive. There's nothing wrong with wasting time, of course, but it's hard for me to do. I find it difficult to put any effort into something that seems, in my eyes, to be completely empty and inconsequential. If it is devoid of value, perhaps it isn't worthy of my energy in the first place. How could I possibly write meaningless drivel when I have a genuine opportunity to say something that might even get someone out there in the world to actually think about what I find significant? I would be a fool not to at least take this somewhat seriously.

If a blog is whatever one wants it to be, then I decided to make this particular blog a greeting and a warning. If you choose to continue reading this, you ought to be prepared. Most likely, there will be very little fluff in my blog. I will try not to allow it to become bloated with the self-importance of a fellow hoping to win a Pulitzer, nor delude myself into thinking I could possibly "change the world" with this "powerful and influential tool of education." However, I will also strive to value the effect of this newfound medium of communication and not take lightly the responsibility that comes with possessing a means of self-expression that has the potential to reach the masses.

So... "Hello, everyone. Here I am. Stay tuned."