Shortly after I publish a new post on my blog, I put a link to it on Facebook. One of my friends linked to my latest post, the one in which I expressed my opinion on an article by Angela Jamenen in the Huffington Post. She wrote about why people ask you to go to church with them.
He apparently took exception to my post. His succinct comment was simply, “My God! Don’t you sound a bit narcissistic?”
The good news is that someone actually read my post. The bad news is that I found this comment from a person I respect and hold in high regard disconcerting.
Just to make sure I understood what my friend was saying (he’s Danish and lives in Copenhagen, so sometimes he is challenged by the nuances of the English language), I looked up the word “narcissism.”
It is defined as “a generalized personality trait characterized by egotism, vanity, pride, or selfishness.”
Hey, that’s not me, goddammit! Well, maybe some of it is. But I’m not a total narcissist.
Okay, yeah, I can see that perhaps I may come across that way in my blog. After giving this possibility some thought, I replied, perhaps somewhat defensively, to his comment:
Well, this was posted in my blog, and if you read my “About” page, you’ll see that my blog is “about things that occur to me, that happen to and around me, and that I find interesting, fascinating, provocative, or just plain crazy.” Notice how many times the word “me” is in there. So, yes, perhaps I may sound a bit narcissistic in my blog posts. But it’s my personal blog, right? So, by definition, it’s all about MY perceptions, MY opinions, MY experiences, and MY observations.
My friend’s response was “Well, it was posted on MY wall, so I comment it as I see it.”
I actually didn’t intend to post the link to my blog on HIS wall. I’m pretty sure it showed up on his news feed, not on his wall. Although I have to admit that I don’t really understand where things end up once posted on Facebook. I’m not sure I even understand the difference between one’s “news feed” and one’s “wall.”
Rather than letting it rest, though, I decided to respond to his last comment. I wrote:
And you have every right to comment as you see it, just as I have every right to comment on your comment, which, by the way, was agreeing with you that my blog post may have sounded a bit narcissistic. But the same thing can be said about virtually any personal blog post, right? Even about most Facebook posts, as well. After all, isn’t the point of Facebook to tell their world, “Hey, look at me, see what I’m doing, see where I am, see who I’m with. Aren’t I special?” I posit that everyone who posts to Facebook sounds a bit narcissistic.
My friend was right, though. Blogging, by its very nature, is narcissistic. Many blogs are personal journals or online diaries. It used to be that people kept their diaries or journals under lock and key hidden in a desk drawer lest anyone see their innermost thoughts or secrets.
Today, though, people post their personal journals on the internet for the whole world to marvel at. Isn’t blogging, then, the epitome of narcissism?
Harsh but true
In a post on a site called Psych Central, psychologist John M. Grohol wrote:
Most blogs are drivel, banal shit written by angst-ridden teenagers and adults sharing feelings, thoughts, and mind-numbing details about their daily lives that provide little insight into anything or anyone.
Whoa, John. That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it? True, but harsh nonetheless. Grohol went on to say,
The best online journals and blogs keep moving, growing, and changing directions, mirroring the author’s own life. They are constantly there, being added to, but if a day or two goes by without an entry, the reader doesn’t feel disappointed. The reader knows and understands that a person can’t perform every single day of their lives. That, in fact, such breaks remind us of our offline lives and responsibilities, and how they’re not always that interesting or need to be shared. In fact, this is what often separates a good journal from a horrible one.
Grohol’s comments are slightly dated, as they predated Facebook and Twitter. With Facebook and Twitter, nothing is too uninteresting not to be shared, it seems.
Many blogs, including my own, were created for no other reason than to allow the blogger to have fun. Like many bloggers, I simply enjoy writing, and I mostly write for myself. I’m not that concerned about how much traffic my blog gets or how many comments people post. It’s a creative process and I enjoy doing it. It’s a hobby.
If someone does comment on one of my posts, whether directly on my blog or on my Facebook page after linking to my blog from there, I consider it a bonus, even if the comment is a negative one. Someone read my blog and was stimulated enough to take the time to post a comment.
This, essentially, is what blogging is all about. It’s a selfie, but with words instead of a picture. It’s more than just “a bit narcissistic.” It’s the embodiment of narcissism.