So, as some of you may have noticed, I have not been too active on Ye Olde Blog over the last couple months. But! I have been somewhat active on Facebook, which I had recently joined. And the experience has led me to think about a few things.
The two forms, to me, seem decidedly different, which makes a comparison of the experience interesting. And the differences between the two have something to do with my activity levels on each.
Facebook is basically the online version of joking around with your friends. Yes, sometimes Facebook can be more. Sometimes important things transpire on Facebook and filter through to social consciousness (of groups either large or small). But, basically, it's sitting about and having fun with a few of your friends. The serious bits are like the occasional intrusion of depth into a conversation that mostly revolved around making fun of Miley Cyrus. Facebook is about everyday stuff (Hey, how's it going? Have you been to Tru's lately? They have a great new sandwich on the menu) and one-liners.
Blogs are more about content. Now, obviously, there are a few jokes and bits of stupidity and silliness on blogs, too. But, overall, the focus is still on creating some sort of content. It is about a writer making a conscious attempt to write about something, to speak their mind, and to share something of themselves. This, I think, is what I still love about blogs: the focused attempt to say something. There is conscious meaning in blogs.
But this focused attempt to speak and share is also more demanding. It demands more in terms of time and thought. The emotional expenditure is steeper. This makes blogging, in a sense, more difficult.
Over the last few months, things have been busy. Four growing kids, busyness at work, and (yes!) some actual writing, rewriting, and revising of fiction. Throw in health concerns and there was little time or energy left for crafting blog posts.
Facebook, on the other hand, is sort of easy. You check in, glance at what people are doing, and then write a few quick comments in a natural way, whether making a joke, offering condolences, or shouting out some encouragement. Facebook is sort of fun (and a bunch of other things, too, some of which are not so nice). It's easy, it's quick, and you can enjoy some good times with friends. Videos of velociraptor pranks are also acceptable.
But I miss blogs. As a writer and reader, it's nice to step up and say something. And it's nice to sit down and read something.
Conversation is wonderful. I love conversation. Facebook is a sort of conversation. You joke, you laugh, you get annoyed, you occasionally want people to shut up. Reading blogs, though, is a bit like stepping into a book day after day. It, too, is a communication, but one that has been shaped by the writer's will and passion and values. It's often the stuff that wells up from underneath, the stuff that you have to talk about even though it's hard to fit in a conversation.