I started blogging for the same reason I suspect most other people do: There was something I wanted to blog about. In my case, it was books and reading and reviewing.
Henry Miller says somewhere that happiness consists largely in finding a more or less pleasant way of passing the time. Since most of us spend a good chunk of our time earning a living, if you can find a job that you like, you’ll have a leg up on the happiness problem.
I have one of the pleasanter jobs.
But after a year of doing it, my understanding of blogging is different from what it was when I started. Which isn’t all that surprising. Reading something is a lot different from writing something.
Still, there’s more to it than that. Searching online for book-related items, skipping from link to link, has enabled me to cover the book beat better than I was ever able to before. I not only know things now that I didn’t know before. More important, I know things I simply wouldn’t have known otherwise. Distributed narrative, for instance, “telling stories across networks,” in Jill Walker’s phrase. The size, the variety, and the quality of the poetry one encounters online are prodigious — and I’m convinced I’ve only scratched the surface.
But what has most impressed me about blogging — and has been of greatest benefit to me — is its interactivity. The phrase “blogging community” is more than just a metaphor. It’s a reality.
There have been some lively discussions on the blog over the past year. Forceful, but always cordial.
I have never met Bonnie Calhoun, or Rus Bowden, or Dave Lull, or Vikram Johri, or Willis Wayde, or Melville Goodwin, or Lisa Cohen, or Kate Benedict — to name just a few who come immediately to mind — but I have come to regard them not only as friends, but as colleagues. Having my posts commented upon and sometimes challenged by the likes of such people has sharpened my thinking. I thank them all.
This is something some of my official colleagues in the news business would do well to ponder. If the aim is to know more and understand better, then an ongoing dialogue among kindred spirits is likely to prove in the long run more successful than anything we’ve known previously.