Austin Kleon mused about blogging being a forgiving medium compared to social media. Artists talk about particular mediums being unforgiving like pastels because they have a permanence hard to undo. You better get it right on the first go, or else. Blogging, not so much. Blogging runs on grace.
I love blogging because it’s a grace-based medium. It allows for mistakes, spelling errors, half-baked ideas, changes, and even changes of opinions and heart. Blogging is a collection of our thoughts, ideas, and cultural artifacts collected over years and years. Blogging is an extension of who we are. Blogging leaves room for grace.
Social media is limited to a certain amount characters and built on immediacy. Platforms like Facebook with more space for longer posts are not built for such things. People aren’t on the platform for long essays and opinion pieces. We scroll, skim, and move on. The socials aren't built for reflection. A shot of dopamine are what we want. Of course, that can happen on blogs too.
The other platforms on social also don’t lend themselves to change, mistakes, or grace. Instagram is only for images, and brief text. TikTok is built for short videos. SnapChat is not much different. The platforms hem you into the here and now, and hem you into one particular medium. Text, video, image, and rarely bringing them all together.
I’ve blogged for close to twenty years on a variety of subjects. And in all of this word-slinging blogging has allowed for evolution. Yes, I was reflecting on whatever was brewing in my mind, or what I was paying attention to, but the blog allowed for change. It allowed for half-baked ideas and incomplete thoughts. The blog allowed for me to be flat out wrong. Blogging allows for being human. The blog offered grace and pardon.
Social media is built on law. You have to have an opinion, comment, and be on the right side of history now… no, too late. The platform doesn’t lend itself to grace. Doesn’t lend itself for time to think, ponder, and pray. Too late, we’ve moved on. Next hot take.
The problem with most of our current social media platforms is one important truth: every human is half-baked. All of us are in process. All of our ideas, reflections, and opinions on God, art, politics, and how to educate our children are works in progress.
Therefore, I believe blogging is a grace-centered medium and important for working out thoughts and ideas. A medium for paying attention to things for the long game. Room to be human. Social media is not.
A blog allows for what Alan Jacobs calls: owning your own turf, and tending your own digital garden. You aren’t at the mercies of the social media algorithms and what they deem appropriate content. Do you really think Twitter and Facebook are forever? I think not. Your domain will most likely last well beyond your lifespan.
Blogging is a place to play, think, and fall on our faces. Nobody is a finished product, and nobody sees everything with clear eyes. The Scriptures say we all see through a glass dimly. Eyeballs and comments and going viral on a blog is probably a relic of the past. But that shouldn’t be the goal.
The goal should be learning how to be a better human. How to do the generous thing, and helpful thing, and perhaps make things a little brighter for someone else. And in all honesty, blogging for me is therapy, and joy, and it doesn’t matter if anyone sees what I’m paying attention to. I’d do it, anyway.