When we were in Edinburgh at New Year, I was amazed by the number of people using selfie sticks, gurning up at themselves to record just about every minute of their time there. I knew they were popular, but not how much, and I’ve mostly looked down on the fad since most of the end product then ends up as vanity image on Facebook, Instagram etc, saying to the world look at me! look at me!
But then John Gray over at Going Gently made a similar point the other day when he asked a colleague why on earth she posted pictures of herself on then every single day. Instead of giving him a reason, she said: ‘Isn’t that something you do everyday with your blog? Blogging is a selfie for writers who love to be read.’ And that has preyed on my mind ever since. Isn’t blogging just another form of selfie self-aggrandisement?
It’s a while since I asked myself just why bloggers keep on blogging and, more to the point, why do I carry on blogging?
I know why I started Shooting Parrots. Although the web wasn’t exactly new fangled back in 2003, it had been pretty much a passive experience. You searched, you found, you read or you watched and that was it. Suddenly, with the advent of Blogger and WordPress and the like, anyone could participate and contribute thoughts and ideas to a worldwide audience, no matter how ordinary or trite they might be. I know mine were.
I suppose it became the equivalent of keeping a journal, something I’d never done before, but if I had, what would be the reason? To remind my future self what I’d been up to maybe, but there must would also be an assumption that someone else would read it at some point, even if it was only my family who got some idea of what sort of life I’d had long after my bucket had been kicked.
And there’s the nub of it – we surely wouldn’t keep on blogging if we didn’t think that someone, somewhere will read what we write with some degree of interest, so perhaps it is as John’s colleague said, blogging is a selfie for writers.
I don’t kid myself that I have thousands of readers hanging on my every word, but it is satisfying to know that some people take an interest. Just this week I had a comment from someone new to Shooting Parrots. Admittedly it was to tell me that I’d got something entirely wrong in one of my ABC Wednesday posts, but at least it shows that my efforts have not been in vain.
So I admit that these pages are indeed a selfish selfie of sorts, but I shall continue a) because I can, the web being a democratic space and b) because it is just possible that my thoughts, both shallow and profound, might be missed by someone.