Why blog? What is blogging for? Who am I writing to?
The answer to any or all of these questions might differ depending on the blogger you ask, but in my case, it’s mostly for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just shooting these posts off into the void, I do want people to read them and get something out of them, but for the most part, my driving force for creation lies within.
So, the recent controversy in the Christian blogosphere regarding who should have authority over it rings strongly of censorship to me. I start off on the defensive anyway, when it comes down to someone else wanting to police my writing, and I know that’s really not how it was meant, but writing is akin to pulling out my heart and letting everyone examine it. Censorship of it is like telling me a part of myself is too wrong to be shared.
I won’t repeat the entire – unquestionably valid – theory of other bloggers who postulated that the article was aimed at certain female bloggers with a thinly veiled aim to curb their readership. Regardless of what the author might say, the original article did have a tone that gave that impression, and the fact that there are just as many, if not more male bloggers who have theologically iffy views does make it seem like the article was specifically targeting a community of female bloggers with whom the author did not agree.
Here’s the thing, the Internet is vast and infinite – and that is both awesome and horrible, much like working from home, re: Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal. Online, you can say anything you want, any opinion you have can be immediately expressed in as many or as few words as you like, and as accurately as you wish. You, as an individual, can make your voice heard. You have the potential to change minds and hearts; to open the eyes of your readers to new perspectives. You can be the teacher in an endlessly vast classroom.
On the other hand, you might be misinformed. Maybe you hate research, or you got your information from an untrustworthy source. Perhaps you failed to temper your unvarnished opinion with tact and sensitivity. Maybe you lack racial and cultural awareness. Your information is somehow faulty, and you are to blame for that, but does that necessarily mean that you need to be censored?
I don’t think so.
Even if your perspective is misguided and completely erroneous, on the Internet, you still have a voice. You have as much of a right as anyone else to be heard. Being against censorship in free speech means that I believe you should be able to express yourself even if I think your opinion is trash.
What does that mean for potential readers who are now adrift in the vast sea of dubiously accurate Internet information? Well, it means they should learn how to critically analyze what they read. Misinformation is everywhere, not just in the blogosphere, and not just among Christian bloggers. There are no arbiters of what gets to be posted online, and I hope there never are.
This post isn’t meant to weigh in on a discussion that is already several weeks old, because to me, there is nothing to discuss. The question isn’t “Who is in charge of the blogosphere?” The real issue is “How do you critically evaluate the things you read on the Internet?” And that’s a question you should ask yourself every time you read something online.