Today’s discussion isn’t about books, not really, it’s about people who talk about books – about us, book bloggers. I know not all of my readers are book bloggers, but I think you’ll find the topic interesting either way.
I am not an introvert. I’m a fairly open person, I like going out, and I even like – love? – speaking in public. I’d love to be a University professor, for example. Sometimes, the fact that I’m a translator working from home chafes at me because I miss a work environment though I love my job and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
But I often see bloggers – especially of the bookish variety – identifying themselves as introverts. There’s nothing wrong with that, I absolutely get it, I’m married to an introvert who’d rather stab himself with a fork than speak in public, so this is nothing new to me.
But my question is this (and please bear with me, I mean no insult to anyone): how does this introverted, private nature connect with the very public aspect of blogging? Okay, I know that one of the beauties of blogging is that you’re hidden behind the screen of your computer. If you don’t want to, you needn’t share your real name or your face with your readers (which is a totally valid choice and a discussion for another time). And you only pick the things you want to share with your readers – no one can make you write about the stuff you want to keep private. I also know that bloggers are generally a nice bunch of people (at least in the bookish community, which I know best) who respect boundaries and make mostly everyone feel welcome, as long as they’re not trolling.
But think about it: when you’re blogging, you’re sharing your thoughts with the world. You’ve read a book that you really liked (or disliked) and now you’ve written a review and posted it online for everyone to see – and if your review is any good, it won’t just be a summary of the plot, but your opinion on the book, your thoughts, and even feelings (yikes!). And don’t get me started on discussions – those are you all over by their very nature. If I’m being honest, I find blogging to be a narcissistic hobby. :)
For me, sharing my thoughts with the general public isn’t a new idea. I think some people of my acquaintance might even be secretly glad I’ve found a creative outlet like blogging, which means I don’t bug them as much in real life as I used to (I now have fellow bookish enthusiasts to gush with me on favourite books and such). My family and friends have also always been very supportive of my endeavors (though a lot of them still don’t know I blog) and expressing myself has never been a problem.
But I think that blogging is actually a great way for introverted people to become less so – not that I see introversion as a flaw that needs to be fixed, but I do believe expressing your thoughts, opinions and feelings is a very useful skill. So if you aren’t comfortable speaking aloud in public, writing about the same issues is a great outlet.
What I’m saying is this: maybe bloggers are crippled by horrible stage fright when it gets to public speaking, maybe they hate the spotlight and making new friends in class or at work or at parties, but on their blogs, they can be pretty damn eloquent, which I find to be a very good thing, indeed. And it doesn’t really matter what they’re like in “real life”, either: as long as they can write (and aren’t nasty or anything), the blogging community will accept them with open arms. This is one of the reasons I love blogging so, so much.
I’m linking this post to the Discussion Challenge page, where you should go if you want to find more cool people talking about books (you really should).
So, are you an introvert or an extrovert?
How do you deal with sharing personal stuff (not just from “real life” but your opinions, feelings, etc)?
I’d love to hear from you! :)