Funny that this Ideas of March thing should happen today, or rather, that yesterday I posted the exact thing I'd have wanted to say today if I'd known we were going to spend today talking about why blogging matters.
But, to expand on some of what I already said:
Information, I feel, has a real and scary capacity for eating away at one's sense of self. Caterina Fake wrote a post exactly one year ago today about how FOMO is fueled by social media — the more we know about what our friends are doing via things like Facebook, the more we compare what we're doing to that and fear we're not doing enough with our lives. Our friends aren't assholes for sharing their Saturday nights, and it's really our choice whether to go our or stay in with a book or a month's worth of unwatched episodes of Fringe. And yet: knowing our friends are out there without us is painful. The fear that we chose poorly, and are stuck playing out a bad choice, is painful.
The connection with blogging is that, at least for me, it's hard to write a blog in a world where John Gruber — or Jason Kottke, or whoever — exist. It's not exactly as if blogging isn't worth doing unless you can get famous doing it. But it's strange, and a little uncomfortable, knowing that someone out there has become famous for doing the exact same fucking thing I'm doing right now, and I haven't. I've never been in a band, but I feel like many people who have can understand this sense of not knowing why [name of similar, famous band] is famous and they're not.
In either words, the more you know about what other people are doing makes whatever you're doing seem smaller and less important. And, consequently, this makes me gun-shy about expressing an opinion knowing it'll be just one voice in a sea of other, sometimes much louder voices.
But that's bullshit. Blogging matters because it's an opportunity for people with something to say to say it. A blogger being more famous or linked-to than me has nothing to do with whether or not my opinion about something is valid or not, or how well it's received by people on the internets, unless I'm so worried about being wrong (or facile, or lame) on my blog that I don't actually manage to say anything there.
That's not to say I should just spout off on my blog without regard to how it'll be received. Ultimately, blogging is writing something for someone to read — it's up to me (or you, or anyone) to figure out who that is, understand what my relationship to them is or ought to be, and keep it healthy.