Why blog?

psychology, writing

So, I tell my beloved I’ve become a user on LiveJournal, and he doesn’t get the appeal. It seems too much like a vanity project. Now, this is the man who normally is the first to “get” anything about me, so I started thinking. At the risk of rationalizing my vanity, I thought I’d work it out here.

At a glance, these reasons appear:

  • It’s a way to make the world smaller; a way to find people with common interests who don’t live in the same neighborhood, or even the same continent.
  • In a media-driven culture, placing ourselves online makes us feel more participatory, as opposed to having little or no influence on the world. [Note: “ourselves” and “we” in this entry mean the blogging community, not the voices in my head ;-)]
  • It’s a safe place to express feelings not acceptable in the workplace, etc….
  • It’s a way of dealing with psychological issues without having to confront the fact that you’re dealing with psychological issues. You’re just sharing.
  • It’s a way of dealing with psychological issues deliberately. Writing and speaking thoughts gives us more ability to analyse and “reprogram” them.*

Ok, so there are some reasons, and probably all of them are true for me to some degree. And just writing it all out has made me feel better. So, regardless of the motive, the practice is useful.

* There was an interesting study done on people who experienced sudden catastrophic trauma (such as the WTC tragedy, or Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing). They were asked when they first spoke about the trauma with someone – anyone, whether it be friend, family, police, counselor, stranger – and how they felt about it. They found that a year later, people who spoke about their experience before they went to sleep displayed less severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms than people who slept first. Less pain, fewer night terrors, fewer panic attacks, and so forth.

No reason was given, but my idea is that sleep processes information whether we like it or not, and processes it not only on our conscious level but on all those primitive, emotional, fight-or-flight levels as well. Speaking about it doesn’t remove the fear or anger, but does help you sort out the event a little more clearly, and structure the direction of the “hardwiring” that happens while we sleep. Or maybe “firmwiring” is a better phrase, since these are neurons we’re discussing.

Originally posted on LiveJournal.