In the Mix

“What’s In A Blog?”

(Shonn Sopko is, among other things, an intern with Applied Storytelling. I enjoy his wide-ranging interests and inquiring spirit. Look for more perspectives from him in the months to come. EL)

Long time writer, first time blogger.  I’m all for innovation, new technologies, new medias, new ideas.  But for some things, like writing, I tend to be a bit of a traditionalist. For this reason, I have always hesitated to blog.  I didn’t want to become “a blogger.”  And yet I write in a journal on a daily basis about the thoughts that come and go, the news I read, the ideas that inspire me.  Sounds a lot like blogging.  The only difference is that I’ve been keeping it to myself.

What is the stigma around blogging that has me hesitating?  It is the same that I have, until recently, associated with social media.  I found it trite and juvenile.  I did not want to waste my time sifting through a sea of “lol” and “omg” and status updates.  I don’t need an email to tell me someone “liked” a picture.

Blogging, for me, was the same.  Something for stay-at-homers to do to feel productive. For a while I thought blogs were little more than long Yelp reviews.  And while I sometimes turned to Yelp for opinions, I felt little kinship with the opinioned.

Cynical Sopko. Looking at social media, I saw only the surface.  Not liking my first impression, I turned away.  And for years I’ve been turning up my nose to those who posted, who reviewed, who blogged, thinking none of it had any meaning for me.

Over the past six months or so, I’ve come around.  As part of my internship, I’ve been required to establish an online presence. [Insert eye roll.] But okay, I’ve come to realize this online presence is a way of introducing myself to the world— a way of building a resume, not of my accomplishments, but of my thoughts. [Yes, yes, ‘hello, world.‘]

I read everyday, always from a book, a news site, and occasionally a magazine.  Lately I have begun to read blogs.  There is something almost alive about a blog. Maybe it’s the immediacy of the writing. Written last week, or yesterday, or just hours ago.  Maybe it’s the accessibility, physical as well as linguistic.  Everyone has their own writing style, but I don’t need to read through an introduction or a forward to get to the point. 

I do feel a sense of community as well.  Reading a classic novel at times makes me want to write one too, but I feel no obligation to Balzac or Twain. In the blogosphere, however, I feel I’m among peers.  Sensing that these writers are in some respects, just like me, I feel I owe it to them to make a contribution.

Recently introduced to Medium (“a community of readers and writers”), I have been reading daily. My interests these days are Storytelling, Psychology, and Branding. Lucky for me, all are tags on Medium. Now I receive an email with recommended blogs each day.  Many have encourage me to add my voice:

From John Siwicki: I want whoever reads this post to do one thing. Stop right now and think. What do I want to be remembered for? What is your legacy?”

That’s a great place to start!

To that Ken Merced says:Never underestimate the power of your story. Whether you realize it or not, you have experiences and expertise that others are interested in… Be bold, be vulnerable and share your journey. No matter the content, there is someone who will watch, read, like, comment and share your story. “

I’ve no shortage stories to tell.  Which might people want to hear? Hmm.

John Westenberg responds: You have to measure what you’ve done by what you set out to do. You have to evaluate your work by whether or not it reached your standards, requirements and intentions.”

At 33, I’m still trying to find myself, to know myself.  Baby steps, they say.  Well here’s one.  I’ve just written my first blog post.

Not a lofty accomplishment, but as Jonas Ellison said in his post: You are your own subject: 

“My blog is my public record of being alive.”


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