Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I Blog Therefore I am

There has been just a little pressure for me to start blogging properly (as if my recentish long post on the super 14 didn't mean anything - actually it didn't with my round of predictions not even making it past round 1). Actually, the pressure comes from the last remaining vestiges of the blogging community I spawned in a frenzy of blogging procreation. Yes I was the first...But if you check all the links around the place you'll see they no longer update. Maybe the continuing bloggers just want some company? Add to that another interesting insight - I was fortunate to be an admin on the cession Lent blog (and not just because it meant I could log in as cessionite and comment on someone's blog once...) and therefore got to see the hit stats. The reality: very little sustained interest from the local church. Now maybe the topic was boring for most, but on the whole, I thought the blog was worth a read and was generally encouraging of a person's Lent journey. My point is this: if no one is writing and no one is reading, why blog?

This blog originally started as a means of communication with friends supporting the cession church plant. Over time it became a way of sharing my odd thoughts about things as well as family news and personal introspection. Some of these things, I now do in other ways - for example, I have a personal superviser for ministry which probably draws away some of the written processing, I am a radio star for 3 mins a week where I have to be current and deep, I have 2 kids instead of 1. But most of all I am part of a vibrant, growing church where I get to connect on a daily basis with real people living real lives and sometimes the blogging thing just doesn't fit into that lifestyle, nor does the world of ideas seem so important in the context of simply being with people who I might be able to help.

On the other hand, I still enjoy reading blogs and follow the current ones. Many of them have a clear purpose and seem to engage others as well as bring meaning to the author. I still have thoughts that are bloggable and maybe even interesting. And I still blog. Occasionally.

So, a little experiment! If you are reading this drop me a comment so I know you read it. Tell me why you bothered and if you are a blogger, why you bother. I really want to know!


Dale Campbell said...

i watch your blog, Brett, because, like me, you are right about everything! :D

Nah, I obviously 'heard about' and 'met' you through Frank, and you seemed like a blog-follow-worthy guy :)

BJ said...

So you blog to be right?! Seriously why do you blog?

Rhett said...

I follow your blog because you are in the relatively small circle of theologically or church-minded people who I find interesting, and really, that kind of discussion is like crack cocaine to me. But also because you are my friend and it's fun to keep up with you.

The drop in stats is born out by my blog too. In my last month blogging last year I got 10 000 visitors, and last month I got 1 000. Sure, some of that is being gone, and perhaps not being so inflamatory. But I think some of it is also lack of interest, and some of it is Twitter. I'm not overly concerned with hits, but I do care about having conversation - it feels good to see comments.

Why do I blog? This is a really crap answer but to "define myself". You though I was doing this for other people!? :-) It's a total indulgence and I empathise with your position and lack of time as a pastor. I felt a bit of that over my two summers. That's why next year, I will probably close my blog again, and if I do find time to blog, it will be much more focused. Maybe it won't even allow comments. Maybe it will be a study-aid type blog, or a "discuss this weeks sermon" blog (though we all know how much interest there is in those!).

I'd love to see you blog more but obviously time has limits. Why not go the Matt chandler way (he is my latest pastor-man-crush) and post one deep-ish post a week? Schedule it in!

Nige said...

I read your blog.
My thoughts on bloging and social media can be found here:
Facebook as omnipresence

BJ said...

Blogging as talking? Now thats something I could do!

Flendolyn said...

I read it because occasionally you used to comment about me, and I like reading about me...
Sadly there's actually some truth in that. I read it cause it's another way of connecting with conversations that we don't get the time to have. Sundays we're all busy, cell group is about cell group (very cool by the way), and the rest of the time we hardly get a chance to chat. So this is my 'connect with BJ' place. I also love finding things that I wouldn't have thought of, that I go away and reflect on - it makes me grow. Good thing, cause I'm still short.
I blog cause it's like a journal except I know people are watching so I have to be accountable. If I wrote things privately, they'd quickly turn into less than forgiving rants, and I wouldn't grow.

Anonymous said...

(a.k.a.: Marcia) I read your blog to keep up with you -- well, mainly your children! Loved the blog on "Recent Rhysisms" and on Rae's first birthday. Must confess, I skip over the sports entries and most of the political entries. So basically I'm interested in the current events of the Jones family, not rugby or your political leaders.
Anxiously awaiting news of the arrival of Baby R. Love ya!

Steve Goble said...

This feels like an AA meeting "Hi, my name's Steve, and I blog."

Actually, I'm just about to publish my 1,000th post. Is that good or bad?

I blog for several reasons...

1. It's my way of sharing my day with someone.

2. It's a terrific memory aid, because I get to sort out what I've done. At the end of 2003 I sat down and made a list of all the things I could remember having done that year, so that I could thank God for them. I thought it might come to maybe 20 things. I gave up after 100. That's about 80 experiences that I hadn't really retained afterwards. Blogging prompts me to process and think about things afterwards, rather than just dismiss them. It's a discipline.

3. I learn how to express my opinions. I've always been something of a nodder and a smiler, so it's a good opportunity practise expressing myself, figure out why I believe what I believe, and remember it better. I also learn to respect other people's viewpoints better. Sometimes I've gone to repost some stuff I've said in an email, but had to tone it down first. Othertimes in conversation I've found myself talking very concisely on a subject, because I'd earlier written about it on my blog.

In some ways, it's actually more personal to blog. You can open up without the immediacy of someone criticising you to your face in the next second. In the event that they comment negatively, I have time to reflect before replying.

4. Because I'm still six weeks behind, and years ago I said that I would catch-up. So I will. Hey – I was 9-10 months behind!

5. Thanks to search-engines, about 50 more people a day discover that a Christian is interested in the same subject as them. Last year I wrote a post on reading the Bible in 40 days, which seems to get read by someone about once a day now. So I went back and touched it up to make it more encouraging.

6. As Rhett says, it helps me figure out who I am. It is a hobby, and a scrapbook, and I keep it for myself. But it wouldn't be worth doing if noone else read it. Where would be the fun, or confidence-building, in that?

I read your blog:

1. To get some Brett.

A few years ago I went back and read some of your early posts. I found them of greater interest, because they were more personal. It was interesting to read about this guy setting-up a church, and his day-to-day challenges. I was rooting for him. I must confess, the Super 14 post is the only one that I have ever skipped reading the comments of! :) It might be nice if I were writing more anecdotal posts these days too.

Frank said...


I read your blog because you're a friend. In fact, I pretty much only read friends blogs now. It's a way to hear some thoughts you might not hear from them in a natural conversation.

I don't blog in my personal life the way I used to for a number of reasons.

1) I got sick of it - the petty arguments, the way people wouldn't listen to each other and would simply try and make sure the others knew what they thought. There's a lot of immature bravado in the blogging world covered in thinly veiled diplomacy.
2) Most blogs go in cycles with pet issues... some people take longer to work around the cycle because their thinking is broader, but with many blogs eventually you're just going to hear a rehash of the same issues said in different ways...
3) I've said most of what I want to say. I don't feel a great need to blog essays anymore. I'm at a point now where I simply search my blog on pretty much any issue I'm interested in and I can find a post.
4) My work involves a blog. My life has focused. I have an area of "expertise" in a way that I have never had before and I enjoy writing about that... so I operate a blog for my work place around that. I would feel no great loss if I decided that blog wasn't serving the organisation well enough and I would drop it.

That doesn't mean I have given up completely. I like the connection that the internet offers to a whole range of people outside of my immediate sphere - people of different world-views and journeys. In my time around the internet, through the different fads (chatrooms, forums, blogs and now microblogs) I have connected with people all around the world - Palestinians sitting at their computer in the West Bank, a buddhist in Thailand, Muslims in various Islamic countries, conservative Americans in the Bible belt, I chatted with an Iraqi as the shock and awe campaign was being unleashed on his country, I have engaged with a couple of anonymous Iranian bloggers... and the list goes on. Those connections through various forms on the internet have had a profound impact on my understanding of the world. I plan to continue that.

I love being able to give something of myself to that conversation, but the space that I have to give from is a lot more limited now so I have chosen a format that allows me to give 'snippets' as often as I like, with no compulsion to write screeds of information. People can choose to engage that or not. I have no doubt that it frustrates some of the people who are used to my old style of engaging and who connected with me and got to know me through that format - through my blog... but who knows who I will encounter with the new format. I expect my circle on the net to change and morph. I'm simply continuing my journey I have always taken on the internet... moving and changing.

At a personal level I now work with Twitter and Tumblr... and am enjoying what images bring to the table.

Somewhat I'm probably just moving with the times. I like to keep up and "in the know" on where communication is heading. When my daughter hits the age where she's connecting with this stuff, I want to understand her world. That's part of the motivation to move with the technology.

Jonathan said...

I only read this post because I was sure there would be a good cartoon at the end of it. Besides film guide, I only blog -mainly with images - occasionally, on my newer blog. The best way to get hold of me these days is Twitter...

BJ said...

Thanks for all the thoughts so far - very interesting. More to follow from me...in due course...

Sarah S said...

Hey Brett, I read your blog! I like hearing your thoughts on things.

I am starting a new blog, to be launched very soon. It's called Reading - My Mind, and it'll be a blog where my students, friends, family (anyone really) can comment on the books I am reading, and of their own. I'll be moderating comments. Watch this space.


Jack said...

I read your blog because I find most ;-) of what you have to say interesting and I find blog conversations offer me something I can't find elsewhere. Not being a member of a church, but still with in interest in God, the blogging community gives me a place and the space to learn from others. I hope you keep going with it and I don't care when bloggers take a break - sometimes we do get busy or go through stages of wanting to write or not.
As to whether I blog - well I do for business purposes mainly (marketing) - and to keep in touch with friends and family. I think those that blog some really personal stuff are very brave and its a privilege to share and learn from their journeys.