So I don't know if you've noticed, (you probably haven't) but I write blogs on a semi-regular basis, about things I enjoy, about interesting things I've read, and about opinions that I feel don't get enough air-time. I say semi-regular, I wish it was regular. But I am a strong believer in the power of blogs for the individual.
Now you might be saying "Joe, that's a load of rubbish. They're ego driven, they're a waste of time, and they just add another opinion to the maelstrom of already present, better written opinions."
Well it's good that you said that, because I have written my opinions on precisely those three points. So thanks for saying that. I appreciate it.
1) "They're ego driven"
A blog can be ego driven. When I get any more reads than just my Mum reading it 10 times out of sympathy (thanks Mum), I go out for drinks with friends to celebrate.
But firstly, the best informative blog is a culmination of other people's ideas and concepts, with your own filter and take on what they say.
Secondly, being ego driven isn't an issue. People read your blog for your take on things, not someone else's. If they didn't want your opinion, it's very easy to not pay attention to someones blog, you simply don't read it.
If in your writing you write down your exact take on something, regardless of your take on it, you are (hopefully) opening up yourself to learning about the topic you write about. In fact, writing a blog can be incredibly humbling, as people with vastly more intelligence than you weigh in on your opinion. But if you didn't put your opinion out there in the first place, the discussion would never be had. On all issues, I believe it's crucially important to get everyone's voice out and heard.
2) "They're a waste of time"
Every single time I sit down to write a blog, I finish it satisfied. They allow me to clarify my opinions in a way that just thinking about something doesn't. I can really explore the nuance of a topic, and often I find myself shocked or surprised by where my line of thought takes me.
But it's only in clarifying your opinion that you can shock or surprise yourself.
It's only in clarifying your opinion that you gain the opportunity to shape your own views on things with research. Written pieces will always be subjective, more on that later, but they allow one to add a bit of objectivity to their writing. It's a brilliant learning curve. So many blogs I have written remain in draft phase because I start writing them, and realise I don't know enough about the topic. So I talk to people and research the topic with books, and learn more about the topic than I ever would if I had simply not bothered to write one.
3) "They just add another opinion to the maelstrom of already present, better written opinions"
This one is an interesting one, maybe one people think in their heads to dissuade themselves from starting writing.
In my opinion, (see, subjective, but you're reading my blog, deal with it) no-one would ever say anything ever if they applied this filter to everyday life.
Can you imagine?
"What do you want for tea, love?"
"Well frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."
What you actually wanted was fish and chips, but Rhett Butler just said it so much better that you felt inadequate.
You actually want fish and chips? Don't just quote Rhett Butler. Have fish and chips.
This has become a convoluted metaphor, I apologise.
My point is, if you shape your opinions based on better ones you have read or heard, you do yourself a disservice in stifling your opinion. You end up the sucker. The great thinkers of our time, and of previous times, became great thinkers by bouncing their ideas off similar and better minds, in a receptive environment. It allows ones opinion to take shape.
In the world of the internet where everyone has an opinion, I think it's brilliant that we have the arena to clash opinions with someone. I think it's brilliant that everyone can put their two cents in. Because someone else's opinions might just be different to yours.
And you both might learn something.