There was an article in the Times recently which was very negative about blogging and Facebook. And presumably Twitter if they were with it enough to know about it.. While there is some attempt at maintaining a balanced view, the overall tone appears to be that sharing your feelings and experiences online is part of “a creeping desensitisation towards squandering personal privacy” and they back this up with some scary stories about a woman who met someone she had never met before who knew about her child’s recent accident, and others who are “so obsessional [about their blogging and getting material for it ] that the author sometimes puts the virtual life before the real one, never really living in the moment”. I was really irritated by this article and until I sat down to write this post had not really put my thoughts together about why it irritated me so much. I suppose because, perhaps like many of you, I am not surrounded by other bloggers. Few of my friends blog, or read other blogs. So when I tell people I know that I blog people often seem to think this is a very strange habit, and raise some of the points raised in the Times article. And there’s no denying the writer of the Times article has a point – you have to take some care in giving out details of where you live and your family and you have to exercise some judgment about the information you share with the world. And there probably are people out there who “put the virtual life ahead of the real one”. But I think there are far more people out there who spend every evening zoned out in front of the TV instead of having experiences themselves. Blogging is, at least, doing something – creating something. However flawed or self-referential. Moreover, most of the blogs I read are by people who very much lead real lives and who, far from holing up in their virtual world, are probably more self-aware and “in-the-moment” in part because they write about an aspect of their life. Finally – my main blog is about running, and I am not surrounded by running. Discussing the ins and outs of training schedules, workouts, and good and bad runs is not something I can do with many people in my “real” life. My blogging buddies add a dimension to my life that would otherwise be lacking. And finally finally – blogging has created some very real relationships and events in my life. Without blogging, I’m not sure I would have carried on running after my injury last year, I would not have met Maritza, Jen, Charlie, Melisa and Maddy last year and I would have missed out on some great runs. So, while I take the points made by the writers on board, overall I disagree with them. Blogging is what you make it – and most of our lives are enriched by it.
What got me onto this rant was a recent realisation that some of the meme’s that make their way around FaceBook and the blogosphere are really very good things – the recent 25 things list on FaceBook was a great read for me, very revealing about some of my friends, and a fun thing to write myself. Another goodie was a meme that Aron or Jen started recently – asking interview questions of your friends. I asked Aron for some questions, and here they are. Read the rules at the bottom if you would like to be your interviewer..
What is your running history (how you got started, how long you have been running)?
I had lurched from diet to diet in my twenties but had, predictably, done nothing but steadily gain weight. By June of 2003 I had reached a low point – I was fat, not working, felt hemmed in by my move to the countryside and two tiny children – my self-esteem really was terrible. One day I bought yet another slimmer’s magazine and there was an article in it by John Bingham about how he ran – slowly. It had never crossed my mind that you could do that – I knew I couldn’t run fast and I thought that disqualified me from trying at all. Somehow this triggered a glimmer of hope in me. So I started running around the farm. There’s a 1.4 mile loop on the farm and it took me weeks before I got round it without stopping. But I just went at it, every day, and this was the first time in my life that I had persevered with exercise. At the same time I started weight watchers online and the combination of exercise and diet finally worked for me. Over the course of the next few months I lost, in all, 25 kilos. And here I am – 5 and a half years later and I’m training for my 6th marathon. Who’d of thunk it?
If you could have any job what would it be?
Hmmmm. I would say architect – because that is what I wanted to be when I was younger and I regret not seeing it through all the way, even if only to find out I couldn’t do it. But recently I have to come to believe that sometime “the place you need to be” if I can be so vague, is the place you’re at. The job I have at the moment, Marketing Manager of a lawfirm, is not particularly exciting. However, over time it is allowing me to develop a much sharper idea of what I’m good at and what I enjoy – more so, perhaps, than the “ideal” job ever would. So the answer is – I’m not sure but I think it will become clear..
What is your favorite part of the day?
My instinct is to say morning because I truly am a morning person. I like to get up, go for a run, come in and have my bagel and coffee and read the paper – often before anyone else in my family wakes up. Mornings are good. But then I like the evening as well – day accomplished, everyone home from their days out at work and school – we all come together and wind down.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I could say my children, but they are not my accomplishments and their accomplishments are their own and for them to be proud of. So then I would have to say my health and fitness turnaround, as described above, in my early thirties. And what I am most proud of, in that turnaround, is that I somehow managed to overcome a degree of low-level depression and total lack of faith in myself and forced myself to do something that I never thought I was capable of doing. To go against the grain of expectation that everyone and you yourself have of yourself – looking back that was amazing. Having done it once, I hold that experience very closely because I now know that it IS possible. You CAN change things in your life that don’t work.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Oh man – I am such an irritable person! I have so many. But somehow on this beautiful Saturday morning I am totally unpeeved. OK. A few come to mind:
- I hate it when people say “I was sat” or, worse “I were sat”. The grammar! How hideous! Wash your mouth out! “I was sitting” please.
- Littering. I can’t stand people throwing rubbish out of their car windows as they drive. I honk and shout at them.
- Excessive packaging. All the cr*p they put in inserts in magazines and newspapers, and then wrap in plastic. You can see I probably don’t have a lifetime in marketing ahead of me..
And that’s it. There’s far more once I warm up but I’m not going to go that way .. The day is too beautiful.
So – if you want me to interview you,
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Easy peasy. Till soon!