I mentioned a few days ago the perception that bloggers are narcissists, or at least, self-centered.
Fellow bloggers know that we create a community here. That we cheer each other on, commiserate together, learn from each other. We relate to one another's human experiences, and find our common ground.
So what's the root of this criticism? Is it a few bad blogs? Is it the social marketing?
No, the criticism of blogging began just about the same time as the first blog entries. I don't believe it has to do with the content of some blogs. I believe it comes from the very essence of what blogging is: using our voices.
That ability used to belong to just a select few; those lucky enough to have weekly columns or talk shows or had the money to be influential where it mattered.
As much as we tout free speech, as much as we believe in the ideology, never before has it been able to be practiced to the extent that we can today.
If we're not rich, famous, powerful, we're supposed to lead lives of quiet desperation. Bloggers refuse to do that. We speak our minds. We tell our stories. We're rarely desperate, and never quiet.
Mainly, we don't let others speak for us. We don't rely on politicians, authors or experts to tell us how we should be feeling or what we should be doing. And we demand better of them.
Personally, I'm delighted when someone thoughtfully challenges my views. If I'm not being personally attacked, I'm happy to have some back and forth discussion and debate. I have, however, had to implement some comment restrictions (sorry, BigLittleWolf) to keep my critics honest. I've had too much spam and too many hateful comments, and I will exercise my right to keep my space my own. Free speech has always had its price.
I won't run away, though, because someone slaps a label on me. I'm not afraid of being called a narcissist because I know it just isn't so.
I don't know if I'll blog forever. I'm grateful it will always remain my choice to do so.
Still, I won't ever apologize for being a blogger, or even (gasp!) a Mommy blogger. Nor will I apologize for speaking out loud. I prefer that label to being quietly desperate any day!