Saturday, August 04, 2007

Philosphy of Blogging - Part 2

An ongoing series that can be viewed here.

As mentioned in part 1 - I believe the best blogs contain 4 basic ingredients...
Ingredient 1 - INVITE

There's several layers to this. We'll filter it through two basic questions...
  1. Who do I wish to invite into my life through this blog?
  2. How much of my life do I want to invite them into it?
Expanding on these two questions...

Who? Most blog hosts provide a feature where you can limit your blog to a select chosen... a.k.a a private blog. In doing so, the writer has a level of security of knowing who is peering into his/her life, and in return can feel a level of comfort in the information shared.
In my case, I decided I would be ok w/ anybody on the www. peering in. Yet, I would keep in mind those that I thought would be the main crowd (students, parents, friends, family, church members, youth ministry minded people).
So I did a few things to get the word out:
  • Added my blog address to my email signature.
  • Put a link on our church website (actually, this was Scott Engbrecht's idea).
  • Did a few Wednesday Night follow-up deals with students where I directed them to the blog.
  • Did a few (last year's Summer Camp was the first) event reports that directed people to my blog.
  • Announced on my blog address on my first Sunday am of preaching.
  • Commented on several other's blogs, and in the process left links to my blog.
Now, each of these methods seem self-promoting and arrogant. I believe they definitely are the former, but not the latter. The goal in keeping this blog is to invite others on a journey. I need to get the word out.

How Much? Now, as I determine who, I've got to think through what areas of my life I want to invite those individuals into. As I let people peer into my life, my thoughts, my feelings, and my relationships, I need to remember there are certain aspects which need to be "protected."

Some wise people well before me have said...
"No need to air your dirty laundry for the world to see."
"If you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all."

Also, I would add to these the importance of valuing those around you by protecting them. Personally, I've decided the following:
  • If others will not be informed, inspired, or entertained by what I write, no need.
  • When it involves those closest to me, only positive and encouraging.
  • If it is a critique, it will be in generalities (a person once said to me) or speaking of a broad-based group (American church, pop culture, media, pastors, parents, etc.)
  • If I'm not I sure I want people to "know", then I'm not ready to post it.
One point I want to clearly make through my blog is how false the "pastors are perfect... they never doubt... they never struggle" mentality. Therefore I do make it a point to invite the reader into my struggles, failures, doubts, and imperfections. Yet, I still guard "how much."

"Inviting" is an ongoing process both to new readers, and for continuing readers to come along with you on your journey.

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