I was thinking recently about the difference between keeping a public blog like this one and keeping a private diary. So many people keep blogs nowadays for the entire cyberspace to stumble upon and read, and there are plenty of pretty private posts out there. I know I've got a few, like the ones I wrote about Dr. Schwebel. So why didn't I just write them in a private diary? Why did I write them for the world to see?
Why does anyone write about their thoughts and feelings in public? Is it because of the hope for replies? Is it because we crave human connection? Because, honestly, although it is the internet, people reveal so much more about their inner selves in writing than they do in person. At least, sometimes. I find that I learn a lot about the way people think by reading what they write.
The draw towards keeping a private diary is, of course, that it is private. There's no need to censor yourself, no fear that someone is going to judge you based on something you write in anger or frustration or pure emotional overload. You can be completely honest with yourself.
But with a private diary, there is no hope for human connection. No one is learning anything about you and no one can offer you comfort, advice, kinship, nothing. So then - is a blog entry a cry for attention? And not in a bad way, but in a way that says, I need a friend right now, please know this about me. Of course, I don't mean non-personal entries. I'm talking about the deep ones, the philosophical ones, the emotional ones. It is like we are saying, please, this is bothering me, let's discuss it. Or, I am upset, please reassure me.
I think we write blog entries when we specifically want people to know what we think, how we are feeling - we are on purpose making them public. We need that human connection. We need to know we are not alone.
And yet sometimes -- sometimes it is better to keep things private. Sometimes certain thoughts and emotions should not be shared with the world. There is definitely a line about what you plaster across the internet, what you share with a few close friends, and what you share only with yourself. And if we find that line, if we find that balance, then that is a very healthy thing.