Sunday, July 11, 2004

The Purpose of My Blog

Ideally, this should have been the first entry to my weblog. The purpose for maintaining blogs varies from person to person. I’ve only been aware of their existence for a few months. The first I heard of a blog was from the campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. His blogforamerica was seen politically as revolutionary. I believe Mickey Kaus is credited with having originated the first online blog. There are countless other political blogs. There is dailykos, a left leaning publication. Andrew Sullivan and Matt Drudge have created projects that have a somewhat more fascist leaning.

About a year ago, I attempted to maintain an AOL Instant Messenger Buddy Profile. It was a fairly successful endeavor until a tragic virus shelved further updates. This unfortunate happening was actually a blessing in disguise. The AIM Profile was more constraining than it was liberating. There was only space for a dozen or so features. The blog allows for a full archive of all diaries. I long had visions of creating my own website. I had people try to convince me to create this or that website. In reality, I did not need something so grand. A website would typically focus on a concrete issue or set of issues. I have no such desire.

I’ve talked enough about the logistics and technical features of the weblog. A simple google search can explain in more detail what I expressed more succinctly. The real question is why take the time to maintain this small blog. There are a number of reasons behind this. Some may have merit in your mind; others you might disagree with.

It can be very therapeutic to put one’s feelings on paper or the computer monitor. Everybody feels things that make them happy, sad, uneasy, depressed, or any variety of dozens of emotions. A lot of times these things are difficult to understand. Simply contemplating it interpersonally, over and over, is enough to make you crazy. It is much less important who actually reads these entries. Back in the day, people used to write journals that were meant to be shared with nobody else. I recall an episode of the Brady Bunch where one of the kids stole another’s diaries. If I had to guess, Marcia may have written about some illicit sexual fantasies. Of course, you might think the object of her affections were Greg. However, I tend to support the theory that she secretly longed for Sam the Butcher. Nevertheless, the point is that one’s writing does not have to be shared in order to serve a purpose. Since I am publishing it online, I hope for at least a few people to read what I have to write. I am not arrogant enough to believe my writing will have a profound impact on how other’s view life. I do think, however, that other people can read what I have to say and occasionally offer their humble thoughts. It might be my lack of confidence, but I always think the other person is better than myself. I do care deeply about how others feel about what I say. I am not totally familiar with the system, but I was made aware that there is an option for comments. It might take one initial registering with in order to post comments. I doubt that it would be too difficult.

My second main motive is to hone my writing skills. I will admit that my entries are by-and-large unedited. I am very good with spelling, but sentence structure and grammar may be substandard. I do my best to make the writing minimally comprehensible, but it is nowhere near perfect. I think it is important to write something every day. Often times, I may not write anything of substance. If there is nothing pressing to report one day, I will resort to talking about my favorite musical artists or television shows. Writing about something lighthearted is better than writing nothing at all. The ability to write is lacking desperately today. We have so many great thinkers who cannot express those thoughts in written or typed word. I consider myself to be a competent writer. I wish I could be better. I know deep down that I have the potential to become a more effective writer. I notice, and I’m sure you will too, that I have a tendency to overuse certain words. I’m cognizant of that fact at all times. Another weakness of mine is complex sentences. I try my best to vary sentence structure. Poor writers write all their sentences in the same manner. This is something that I will try to become even more aware of. Simply understanding and acknowledging these weaknesses can be a healthy process.

The blueprint for my blog is still under construction. The basic idea is to write about the things that are on my mind on a daily basis. You’ll quickly notice that sports and politics occupy a large portion of my thoughts. I write about them because I can speak with some degree of authority. I try my best not to try and sound educated on issues where I am not. Many times in High School, we would “B.S.” our way through papers. I always found that to be reprehensible, even though I admittedly I would partake in it. I will try to avoid pontificating on the aforementioned sports and politics. My desire is that the bulk of entries focus on personal thoughts and emotions. As a rough estimate, I would like half of my diaries to highlight current event issues. This can include sports, politics, television, music, movies, etc. The other half should be about things that happen in my life and personal musings. I touched on this in more detail in the 4th paragraph of this diary.

There is one particular feature that I plan to introduce tomorrow. Each day, I will present a “candidate of the day”. Hopefully there will be enough candidates to make it to Election Day. That would include roughly 115 individuals. I hope to spread it out as not to run out of prominent candidates quickly. Some days I will write paragraphs about the candidate and the office he seeks. If it is someone lesser known, I may simply include a link to his website. Dean’s “Democracy for America” is putting time and energy into supporting candidates at the state, local, and Congressional levels. Gov. Dean is a man whom I have the utmost respect for. I want my blog to embody some of the ideals that the good Doctor stands for. Electing John Forbes Kerry as President is not the only step in taking our country back. The House of Representatives and Senate are all hanging in the balance. The Democratic Party has a decent chance of regaining Senate control. The House is a somewhat more questionable proposal, but a 1994 like Revolution is not out of the realm of possibility. The likely scenario on November 3 is Democratic control of the Presidency and Senate, with the GOP retaining the U.S. House. The Democratic Party has a large pool of talent running in each of the 50 states. Tomorrow, I intend to debut with Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama. I will peak your interest by speculating that “Seven of Nine” will probably be pleased with a Sen. Obama of Illinois.

Now it’s off to perform the gritty work of maintaining a quality site. I have promised an entry daily, but I may not always be able to deliver. As a more intensive school semester approaches, it might not be feasible to offer the quality diaries that my reader deserves. I will try and keep a good balance between quality and quantity. I want my best work to be published daily. However, I do not want to miss a day of updating. The likely solution is that I will publish small entries on busy days. I will be able to maintain my pledge of writing every day and still be able to keep up with scholastic obligations. I have stated before that I would be very pleased to hear anything positive (or negative) about my entries. There is a section for comments under each post. Furthermore, my AIM is TSias2004 and email is I would greatly appreciate the feedback.



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