The Blogger Lens: Thinking About Things In the Context of Describing it to Others

Seth Levine recently made an acute observation:

What I’m referring to is the tendency to start looking at everything in terms of whether it would make a good blog post or not. Kind of a funny way to look at the world, but it happens when you blog a lot – probably a combination of looking for new content and more generally a rewiring of your brain to think about all things in the context of how you’d describe it to someone else.

Bingo. Since I’ve been blogging regularly for almost two years, it’s ingrained habit to ask myself whether the situation I find myself in would make a good blog post. Friends know that it’s not uncommon for me to take a time-out during a conversation and scribble down a post idea on my BlackBerry. I have dozens of "evergreen" (ripe all year round) topics that I write when I have time.

The most provocative aspect of Seth’s point, though, is the consequence of thinking about things based on how you’d describe it on a blog. Sometimes I go into meetings / events / conversations knowing I’ll blog it. Does this change the actual experience? In the anticipation of documenting something, do we act differently? Is this good, bad, neutral?

I write a lot of quick emails or blog posts in my head and then type them out when I’m at a computer. There have also been times when I undergo an experience and write about it in my head at the same time, as if I’m doing play-by-play broadcasting. Weird.

5 comments on “The Blogger Lens: Thinking About Things In the Context of Describing it to Others
  • Super interesting…’perspective filtering’

    I do something similar when I coach – Before making a key decision I remove myself from the moment and analyze the situation with an after-the-fact perspective, considering both best and worst case scenarios.

    How would I feel later about leaving so-and-so in for ONE more inning vs. going to the pen in a tight game?

    It’s the instant advantage of retrospection. More than once this technique saved me from making a stupid decision.

  • Coach — That’s an awesome decision making approach. I’ve read studies that show anticipating how you’d feel afterwards is a good way to check your instinct.

  • Awhile back, I found myself thinking about everything in terms of blog posts. I found that worldview really saddening, actually. It was as if I couldn’t experience things fully because I was always too busy thinking about how it could be described to the outsider.

    I definitely agree with scribbling down ideas that pop up but I think it’s important to experience things first and foremost, letting the thought process run free only later to be delegated to a blog post.

  • I’ve been writing in my head for years–long before I ever owned a computer or started blogging. The most annoying part of that is when I’m writing something in my head, it sounds *so* much better than what I finally put down when I get to a piece of paper. I write poignant masterpieces while I’m lying in bed with insomnia or driving long distances.

    I have five blogs, so I keep running lists of ideas for each of them. I currently have 50 ideas for my memoirs blog, for example. I keep the lists posted on the bulletin board by the computer, and I frequently update them with additional ideas.

    Writing makes me happy. Sharing ideas and reading blogs makes me happy.

    I once spent a couple of weeks writing more than I lived, much as Ryan mentioned above. I agree with him that it’s important to live. Compared to other forms of writing, though, blogging is free from agony–posts can be as short as you want, you can edit them when you find typos, and if you type 100 wpm like I do, your fingers can almost keep up with your thoughts.

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