In all the excitement that can come from sharing ideas, opinions and information, I find myself pausing to consider the painfully philosophical question of ‘why’ or, more accurately, ‘why, at all’. Hitting publish on a blog post is often accompanied by real or metaphorical crossed fingers, hoping that words painstakingly crafted will reach at least one set of eyes in the drink through a fire hose that is the Internet and the myriad of sites in its makeup. Writing for this blog is no exception – sharing about technology on the Internet seems like an extra layer to work through, an almost ‘meta’ fight for interest and attention when discussing the overwhelming nature of social media, for example, on the same sites that create the confusion we describe.
According to some sources, no less than 2 million blog posts are written in a single 24-hour period (http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-24-hours-on-the-internet/). 2 million posts create 2 million thoughts, and at least 2 million people clamoring for attention, validation or answers. Why, then, are we writing? Why does this blog exist? Who do we write for and why should they read what we create?
As much as we label blogs and similar Internet activities as a means to share and connect, I would argue that, more often, we write almost exclusively for ourselves.
Is this selfish? Perhaps. Is this a terrible thing we must work to rid ourselves of? Not at all.
In fact, writing for ourselves is one of the best things we can do for others; for the colleagues we share an institution with and, most importantly, for the students we have the privilege of sharing our stories with.
Writing, like any other activity we engage in, carries with it the imperative of self-expression and exploration. More than an opportunity or assumption, blogging gives us space to process ideas and share opinions. The finished product represents an intriguing and still somewhat mysterious process – we may not see each edit or backspace, but we still see a work in progress. No blog post is truly finished; it remains a courageous act of publicly sharing an often too private process of understanding our students, our institutions and our field. In sharing our process, we, in some small yet meaningful way, encourage others to do the same.
- Lisa Endersby is the Manager, Student and Campus Life at Seneca College in Ontario, Canada. She is also working to connect and engage NASPA technology friends and fans in her role supporting Community Engagement in the NASPA Technology Community.