|Kaffeeklatch - Google Image, Courtesy pbase.com|
My early blogging began on a long-since retired business site of mine. It was a place for me to share upcoming events and feelings about day-to-day blips and vexations. (I had to use that word. It's one of my favorites from another place in time.) And, I wasn't looking for followers -- I didn't understand their power or what it could mean for me, at the time. Living alone, it was a way of reaching out and communicating with others, a catch-as-catch-can posting done as the mood struck. Then, I discovered solar cooking and decided other mainstream cooks should know about this energy-saving appliance. I wrote my solar cookbook, "A Month of SUNdays - Solar Cooking at Home." People who had bought my book wanted more information and recipes and suggested I start a solar cooking blog. Reluctantly, I did. For them, I said. Because, they asked me to and I didn't want to disappoint them, I said. Then, something happened.
The Internet Kaffeeklatch Fills a Need
What I wasn't expecting was how blogging affected me! Suddenly, the world as I used to know it had crab-stepped its way back into my life. Back in the day, SAHM women visited back and forth and had a regular kaffeeklatch to share their journey of marriage, motherhood, anecdotes, crafts, how-to's, a way of sharing outside the family that brought a real sense of community and support to your life. We knew each other's families, frailties, and joys.
Time's changed. The world started moving faster -- and, away, from the comfort of family and extended relationships. People you had known for years now lived across the country, moved by jobs, dreams, need. Adults and children began filling their days with outside activities, putting themselves through the stress of meetings, competitions, deadlines, above and beyond the easier life of earning a living, enjoying the family, and focusing on a single career as opposed to a multitude of choices. The mantra taught in schools was that you could be anything you wanted by visualizing your success, you could put off growing up until you were ready, and the world was yours for the taking. We all took advantage of the personal wanderlust, and lost a very precious thing in that pursuit. We lost touch with those immediately around us. We didn't have time to go visit because we HAD outside commitments that returned us home exhausted with barely enough strength to finish the day before dropping into bed.
With families scattered to the winds, we lost easy visiting time. Oh, sure, there are any number of people you can point to that still have regular family gatherings, but, I think, that's becoming a much smaller number as the next generation feels they don't have the time or the desire to keep up the traditions. Our family has been getting together since 1926. The latest generation has already said they aren't really interested in continuing the tradition. Maybe, someone will but it's not likely. But, now we have the Internet, and blogging.
Without leaving one's home (chair, for that matter), all of a sudden, you can share each other's lives and watch extended family grow up through shared words, pictures, and Skype! Even though separated by the miles, families are closer through the Internet. There seems to be at least one blogger per family willing to take the time to post news, upcoming events, pictures, and anything else to be shared with loved ones. It's still an illusion of closeness, but do we really need to know every pimple, wart, and shortcoming. And, a bigger question, do we really want to share it on the Internet?
Bottom line, we all need human interaction. That's why we have families and friends, to share our sorrows and joys. Blogging has changed the friends dynamic and certainly enlarged our boundaries, but in its own way has replaced the old-time kaffeeklatch. We can take a few moments to visit our favorite blogs, comment, and develop very real friendships. Some are witty, some informational, some focused on ways to save money, others to simply have a voice -- but, all share the need to communicate with others and be a part of something outside of themselves.
Is every blogger the Great Philosopher/Educator? No, nor should they be. But, that doesn't mean they don't have anything to say. We all have stories to tell, crafts and information to share, coupled with an inherent desire to be heard. And, through blogging, we find new friends who share mutual interests, real people we look forward to hearing from on a regular basis. Do they know all our deep, dark, secrets? No. (Well, for some. There are those who really do "let it all hang out") but it's a chance to say what we have to say and folks can accept or reject it; but, you've had the chance to express yourself. I wonder if this generation realizes how lucky they are to have a venue? to be heard? simply by signing up to a free service? It's quite overwhelming for my generation and, yet, taken for granted by this one.
To Blog, Status Update, or Twit, What is the Advantage?
Are we losing Bloggers? Even though we now have the competition of Facebook and Twitter, I don't think we're going to see the end of blogging for a very long time. Blogging gives one a chance to put it all out there, finish a thought. Discover who and what you are and find your people.I love blogging -- and, I had no idea that would happen. I arrived kicking and screaming, and fell in love. With all of you! I wish I had the time to visit them all. (Maybe, in the rest home, in my dotage... maybe). How does blogging make you feel?
Facebook Updates? I'm on Facebook and building a business site there because it's a great marketing tool. Those of us who have paid a gazillion dollars for bricks-and-mortar advertising know what an opportunity this is and one I'm not going to miss. But, there's really no room for serious sharing. It's a place to post events, photos, fast blips of congratulations or condolences. More often, there are the fast bites of inanities ("..why today?.") that fill one with an ennui bordering on the supernatural. The proliferation of these unfiltered thought belches has caused me to "un-friend" many an otherwise delightful real life friend. No, FB is not a competition for blogging.
Twitter Tweeting? To me, it's another great tool for marketing, but not something I can spend my day doing. I know there are lots of bloggers who are also very active Tweeters, but I'm still trying to figure out where they find the time -- not to mention how they remember all those strange @ names! But, my handle @SolarChief is where you'll see my updates and the occasional 142 character update if something really great takes place in the solar cooking world. My blog is an automatic upload and that's the miracle. It finds other solar cookers and those interested in following alternative energy solutions.