A record of our life, our times, our vanity

March 10, 2010

ssp2 A record of our life, our times, our vanity

What does blogging do for you?

Is it a forum for tips?

A place where you reflect and have conversations with yourself?

A safe haven; an escape?

A commentary on social, political, economic issues of our times?

A minute-by-minute record of your personal life? A journal that was meant to be personal, but really isn’t?

Do you have one eye on the traffic stats and the other on the number of comments you received?

Isn’t your blog like a monologue that you stage for your audience? Craving recognition, applause, critique, and fame?

 A record of our life, our times, our vanity

Watching  “Private Lives,” an episode in the long-running Fox series “House“  got me wondering about the purpose of blogging.

The show is based on an eccentric genius of a doctor with no interpersonal skills but plenty of diagnostic ones. This particular episode focused on a patient whose life revolved around blogging. Thinking about having kids? She’d blog about it. Had an argument over dinner with the boyfriend? It’s going on the blog. Seeking comfort? Yep, you got it! Read the blog.

Here’s a snippet from her life:

She: So-and-so said you’d react this way.

He: Who is this so-and-so?

She: It’s one of my followers.

He: You blogged about this?

She: Of course I did!

He: I don’t want you writing about me or us. You take it down right now.

She: No I’m not. You’re part of my life and that’s what I blog about. I blog about my life.

He: You like bringing strangers into our life? To weigh in on things they don’t even know about?

She: They give me perspective.

She was so obsessed with blogging that when the doctors asked her to choose between a pig’s heart valve or a plastic one, she turned to her boyfriend and said, “Can you please pass me the laptop?”

Here was a woman seeking advice from people halfway across the globe instead of taking a moment to think about this life-altering decision for herself or conferring with her significant other.

When she was being prepped for the operation, she asked her boyfriend if he’d still be there when she woke up. He kept quiet and she wistfully said, “I wish you’d blog. At least then I’d know what you were thinking.”

I know this was an extreme portrayal, but it brought to fore an important point. How far removed are we from the people we live with, work with, interact with? And how close are we getting to those physically a world away?

The internet is a great thing — it’s brought so many people together, but at the same time is it increasing the gulf between those who live under the same roof? Have we become slaves to technology? And so much so, that before we open our mouth to talk to someone standing next to us, we look for a keyboard?

For those of us whfour people speaking mardep0181s2 A record of our life, our times, our vanityo blog, does every real-life conversation become fodder for the next post? Are we always thinking about what would resonate with the readers? Is this an attempt on our parts to record our lives and our times, or is it just a reflection of our vanity? An endeavor to feed our ego? To rally the troops in favor of our ideas? To find like-minded people?

I see my blog as a medium to spur conversations — not necessarily with me, or with people in your lives, but with yourself.

I put my thoughts in words, so that my words can spark some thoughts in your mind.

So, yes, as much as I say I write for myself, I am inadvertently writing for an audience.

And while stats and comments don’t matter per se, it’s encouraging to have a readership to validate this undertaking.

But I tread these waters carefully. Not treating my partner or friends as characters in this “play.” Not getting swallowed into virtual existence. Not treating this space as a personal diary that will serve medical practitioners with valuable information some day.

This is not where I “live” my life.

What about you?

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F A record of our life, our times, our vanity

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13 Responses to A record of our life, our times, our vanity

  1. kuratowaNo Gravatar on March 10, 2010 at 7:28 am

    If people more and more rely on social networks rather than true physical relationships, I say it owes a lot to our current career-oriented culture and economic realities. Many Americans now live in bedroom communities, and the need to commute and spend some quality family time each day diminishes the opportunity for social networking with neighbors, friends, and family. It is easier to squeeze in the time to go online and make a post or comment that it is to carve out to time for a one-on-one interaction.

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on March 11, 2010 at 8:15 am

      What’s easy isn’t always what’s right. Right? And, if face-to-face interaction started becoming an inconvenience, I wonder where this path will lead us … or future generations. It’s scary to think about all the isolated hubs we’ll have created … sharing more time with our computer screens than with the flesh-and-blood around us…
      Thanks for stopping by :-)

  2. beth chapmanNo Gravatar on March 10, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Mansi – Excellent thorn! I too worry about becoming so connected with the outside world that we exclude the opportunities to engage those in front of us. As a hermit, I have found blogging as a way of coming out of my shell and interacting with people. One thing I have tried to do is always read my writing to my partner before I post. We talk or laugh and it allows me to share "that" world with "our" world. You are spot on lady, thanks!

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on March 11, 2010 at 8:14 am

      I don’t share it with my husband before posting (the egoistical journalist in me wouldn’t allow that) but I hound him as soon as it goes live :-) Gets us talking :-)
      Thanks for your encouragement, Beth.

  3. DaveNo Gravatar on March 11, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Very thought-provoking post.

    I do pay attention to traffic stats and comments, some would say I obsess, but I don’t think so. While I do check regularly, it doesn’t *bother* me when nobody comments or if the traffic is low.

    That being said, the point for my blog is a combination of some of the things you mention. It’s to spark conversation (including with myself) and it’s also to just give my views on the world. While I get personal, I never get *too* personal.

    Anything personal I blog about, it’s always about *me* and me only. If it involves anybody else, I don’t mention it. Thus, no mention of any problems with the wife or with friends (if I do mention anything about what’s going on with friends, it’s always in the abstract).

    It’s always good to stop and think about why we do this. Even if you’ve already decided, sometimes you have to re-evaluate to make sure you’re still doing it for that reason.

    Great post!

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on March 11, 2010 at 8:12 am

      Thanks, Dave. I’m pretty much on the same keep-an-eye-on-but-not-be-obsessed-with-stats plane as you. Appreciate your insights.

  4. BillNo Gravatar on March 12, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Love House….very well acted show!! As far as the blogging goes. I write to bring more joy into others lives through what I’ve experienced & learned. I don’t keep stats in fact I made a conscience decision to not add it to the blog. I always look forward to comments because it is nice to know that people appreciate the work you do. I have rarely blogged about what’s going on in my life because that’s not why I blog. I’ve enjoyed the process of blogging but my "life" is much more important to me then anything I’ll ever write.

    Thanks for the thoughts.



    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on March 12, 2010 at 7:12 pm

      That makes two of us — I love the well-defined characters and the storyline (most days) of this Fox production. And I must say that you’re right on target with your blog — it does bring joy into my life. It uplifts and inspires. I like the idea of not having stats … now that might be something to emulate. The joy of letting go… ;-)

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  6. Parth J DaveNo Gravatar on March 13, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Wow, this is a brilliant post!

    A blog should be a reflection of one’s thought-process and attitudes towards the world. Let us not become slaves to blogging. Though blogging can throw our voice to the other end of the world, it should not be done over the limit.

    I so agree with you on this. Real friends matter more than incoming traffic and comments. We tend to lose touch with our social skills if all we do is sit and home and blog, blog and blog.

    Very nicely put up.. Thought-provoking, indeed! I loved your take on this, Mansi!

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on March 14, 2010 at 9:31 am

      Thanks, Parth. Appreciate your kind words :-)

  7. jenneandrewsNo Gravatar on March 14, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Hi Mansi- I really enjoy your posts. I’m on wordpress and she writes as well. Pay me a visit!
    I blog as a writer bringing my work- and myself- back into public view after a very long period of devaluation of myself and my abilities, even after many wonderful kudos early in my career.

    Building a readership one person at a time feels good to me. I am also disabled from a horseback riding accident so that going out is hard; the internet is a lifesaver for me. I live semi-alone- with one dog.

    Would love to have you stop by Loquaciously Yours. all best xj

  8. lostworldNo Gravatar on March 15, 2010 at 3:04 am

    I wholly agree!:-) I make an effort to treat my blog as just a page to have some interactions, so I limit the time I spend blogging, blog-hopping.. It is important to detach a little & often take a look from a distant since it is quite like a whirlpool.


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