The Emotions of Blogging
Blogging started out as something entirely different than it is today. When web logs first began, they really were primarily online journals where you spilled your guts to the degree with which you were comfortable. You would reveal your emotions for others to experience along with you. These days, there are still personal blogs but blogs are now primarily designed to allow people to spread information and education about a range of different topics and products. This doesn't mean that emotion has left the blogging world. Indeed, one of the reasons that people prefer blogs to news reports is precisely because they include the opinions and emotions of the writer. But it does mean that things have changed in terms of the level of emotion that you might see in a blog today as compared with blogs of the past.
When you think about the Internet today, you have to think about an environment where anyone might see what you are writing. When blogs first began, only a limited number of people were online and only a fraction of them had a chance of running across your blog. Today, everyone is online and anyone may stumble upon your blog through search engines, links and social networking sites. Because of this you really only want to put as much emotion into your blog as you'd be willing to reveal to the people who are living in the world around you. If you tend to express vocal opinions about topics with a highly emotional frame of mind, then you'll probably be comfortable doing this in blogs as well. But you shouldn't get emotional in blogs if you're not comfortable with dealing with those same emotions in a "real world" environment. The reality today is that the Internet is the real world and anyone you know offline is someone who can find you online.
Let's take a closer look at three ways in which emotions and blogging may be related:
- You may blog about any topic and reveal your emotions through that blog post. This is what we're talking about when we say that you shouldn't reveal more emotion than you would in a typical conversation. This is particularly true if you are blogging for the purpose of being informative; you want to sway people with facts as much as with your emotion. Of course, you don't have to take a stoic approach to blogging and leave your emotions out entirely. In the real world, people usually know how you feel about a topic but you don't get excessively passionate in describing it to them most of the time. Your blog should reveal the way that you would discuss a topic with people in a live conversational group. The only difference may be that a more introverted person can be more comfortable with extroverted opinions in the written world.
- You may also blog specifically about emotions. You might have a blog that talks about emotional issues and emotional problems. In this case, you are using an informative approach to discussing a topic that is based in emotions. The key here is to provide facts and information about your topic while using the occasional analogy or personal story to get at the root of the emotion. It's similar to when you're writing a book about emotions.
- You may experience emotions because of blogging. Blogging is a great creative outlet and can lead to many of the emotional ups and downs that you would experience through any other art. You see a swell in your stats and feel pride. You get an angry comment from someone and feel sad. The key here is to deal with the emotions that result from blogging offline before you take it online. You don't want to snap back at a commenter without thinking it through. Instead of using your blog as a platform for fighting, pan your response carefully and approach it logically even if what you feel is that you're going out of your mind with emotion.
Blogging is writing and writing is an emotional art. However, when your writing is intended for a market, you have to balance out that emotion. The degree to which you do that will depend on the nature of your topic, the audience that you are writing for and the personality factors that make up who you are. The important thing is to acknowledge the relationship between emotions and blogging and to deal with it head on through your work.