Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How Blogging Can Be Narcissistic

I think that the primary way a blog can be narcissistic is if it about you. There's nothing wrong with having a journal. Lots of Christians way more godly than me journaled and found it a useful spiritual exercise. So I have nothing against it per se. However, I do think that there is something fundamentally narcissistic with a journalistic blog, which is by its very nature public. Some things are best kept to ourselves.

This will surprise some people, I'm sure, because public journaling is commonplace nowadays. I think, however, one can better use a blog by thinking through things with others, or honing one's writing, or sharing information about a common cause. That sort of thing, I think, is useful. It is not fundamentally narcissistic. It does not involve one taking lots of photos of oneself and telling everyone what one's cooking for dinner. These may well be nice, and worthy of sharing with a few folks, but why put such information online? It strikes me that in devoting ourselves to trivial things, in publicizing trivial things, we ourselves become trivial. I see a trend in public journaling blogs in which people lock themselves into immaturity by prattling on about the rudimentary things of life, complaining about hardships, procrastinating, being silly, and generally wasting time. It's fine to write and to journal, but surely there are more productive uses of time than writing a blog about mundane and petty things. Of course, there's nothing wrong with an occasional personal post or taking a day to share some exciting news with the world, but I would push for us to save such personal blogging for the more important things of life, rather than the everday things.

I would challenge young bloggers to devote blogs to spiritual things, devotional thoughts, cultural commentary, philosophical discussion, and the like. If you're going to take the time to blog, make it worthwhile. Sharpen yourself, and sharpen others. Avoid the narcissistic drive that comes into play when we broadcast our lives to the world. The world tells you to do everything publicly today--to vent, air grievances, express happiness, and all to as many people as possible. In the process, you become a self-centered person concerned not with others and their betterment but with you and your publicity. As Christians, let's resist this temptation, and write to urge one another on in the faith, to think through and appreciate life, to make some meaning out of our days while we still have them.