A very nice communications student from Sweden wrote me, asking permission to ‘interview’ me with questions relating to blogging for her Masters thesis. I thought I’d share some of my answers.
Please excuse the pretentious sounding answers.
What factors determine whether something is worth blogging about for you?
It completely depends upon my mood and the events surrounding me. Living in Indonesia, nothing is static for long. The culture, people, and environment are in a constant state of change. Blogging about these events can become overwhelming or infinitely interesting depending on the perspective you choose to view them from. When I first started blogging in 2002, everything was so fresh and different. My home in the U.S. is quite possibly physically the farthest place on the globe from Jakarta, so every moment was like an awakening of the senses. I found it easy to be inspired.
As time went on, it was quite easy to rant and complain about the struggles of being a foreigner in a foreign land; further offering blogging material. I think after a period, many expats settle into a routine or become more accustomed to living overseas – it was in that period that I found it difficult to come up with a reason to write. Now I’ve eased into a natural state of blogging only when I want; instead of feeling as though I have to post on a daily basis, I think it’s easier to keep going if you’re only posting when something is worth sharing.
Do you blog about what happens to you only, or about what happens to others and in other places?
Without trying to sound pretentious, I’d say the majority of my writing is a very subjective and at times introspective. There are certainly other bloggers in Indonesia who cover the political happenings and the news. They do a fantastic job with that; so I see no reason to try to match what they produce. There are many times when I’d love to share more about my personal life; it seems so odd to keep things separate when some visitors have been dropping by for over four years. However, Jakarta has its share of oddballs and those who may take advantage of that information. So whereas I may blog from a subjective point of view, I don’t share as much about my personal life as I wish I could.
In your opinion, do you think more about the things you blog about, than people who do not blog?
Definitely not. A blog is simply a podium from which to share opinions. Those who blog about a subject are, in my opinion, not necessarily any more aware, thoughtful, or informed than those who choose not to blog. Many may disagree, but blogging about a subject is not an accurate measurement of a person’s wisdom or intellect; it’s simply an avenue from which people may express their thoughts on a particular subject.
On another note, often those who choose to blog about a narrow field of interest (vs a general blog) are more informed about that particular topic; perhaps they have a passion for it and are simply sharing that passion with others. In this case, perhaps they have given that particular area much more thought than the average person and in that case it holds true.
Does it matter who reads your blog?
It has never mattered how many people read my blog. I’ve never taken the steps to dramatically increase my traffic. I have some wonderful readers who visit regularly, some of whom have been doing so for many years. I receive a continual stream of supportive comments and emails; those are the people who make this blogging thing worthwhile. I would much rather have a solid base of interested readers than a huge influx of people who are just skimming the surface.
If you have a hope or a motivation that your blog should do something, what is it that you would like it to do?
Someday I’ll leave this country; I hope my blog becomes a reflection from which I may gaze upon my time spent here in fond remembrance. Indonesia is in the news so often for negative events and problems, that I truly hope that my words and photographs may offer a different perspective. My hope is to share Indonesia’s vitality, beauty, and the simple allure of this breathtaking country with the rest of the world.