Why is it that when someone announces that they intend to speak their mind that others around them tend to cower away or completely block the person out instead of sitting there listening attentively? Why is speaking your mind such a bad thing? From where did the negative connotation arise?
Wil Wheaton (yes, the actor who costarred in the film Stand By Me and the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation) wrote on his blog about how, over the years, his site has lost its focus. He's become too caught up in making others happy and not using his blog for what it was intended, that being to speak his mind in a public forum. He feels he is suffering from what he termed "Blogger Burnout" and linked to a site that gave ways to determine if you, too, are suffering from BB. Now he is making a conscious decision to turn his site back into what he originally intended it to be. A forum for his thoughts. If you agree with them, fine. If you don't, he isn't going to lose any sleep over it.
I agree with him and feel it's important to use a blog to air your thoughts, opinions, etc. It's a great way to say something that you otherwise might bottle up inside yourself. My blog is the closest thing I've ever had to a diary in my life. I never wanted to write stuff down in a little book and keep it to myself. Heck, I could do that in my head; why make my hand cramp up in the process? I think it's cool to read someone else's internal dialogue and to have their permission to do so makes it all the better. I don't have to worry about feeling like Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) reading Clare's (Emilie de Ravine) journal in that episode of Lost. I never have to feel dirty knowing that I'm scanning the (sometimes) innermost thoughts of my fellow bloggers and Web surfers and knowing that you all can do the same back to me.
However, I also feel that a line sometimes has to be drawn. There is only so much I'm going to type on this blog. And there are reasons why I have made a conscious decision in this regard.
I do like having readers. It's rather self affirming to know that people read what I write and to know that a few of you come back here on a regular basis because you like reading my little cyberniche. I know Tony Pierce said that you will suffer burnout "when you get caught up in traffic, hits, popularity, readers, and/or fame." But I do feel that knowing that someone is reading your posts is important. There's nothing worse than getting up to speak and not having anyone listening in the audience. No, increasing traffic to my site is not my focus. It is simply a welcome benefit of having done this for so long. I will still write what I think and not actively seek topics that will boost my hit count. But, should it happen from something that I am writing, great. I won't be upset having more readers.
Also, I'm never going to lie to get more readers. I will always speak what I'm thinking. But, at the same time, I am not going to say something that will hurt my wife, my family, or my friends or jeopardize relationships or jobs. As frustrated as I get with work from time to time, I'm not going to bad mouth specific people right here in this forum. I do know, for a fact, that some of them have read my site. But at the same time, I also know I have poked fun at our IT department a couple times, but it was well deserved and something that every business, school, or organization endures often enough that what I'm saying is not particularly damning.
My site will never be WWdN. There's just no way. Nor do I want it to be. But I respect Wil as a fellow blogger and applaud him on his decision to take back his site. I am Kevin and that's all I can ever aspire to be.