In order to substantiate my claim of what benefits blogging provides for me, I think it is important to define what I mean by when I talk about blogging.
I have already indicated that blogging is more than simply posting thoughts here. Part of blogging, for me, is reading other blogs and commenting on things that other people are posting. I read a wide range of blogs, ranging from personal journals, to political commentary across the political spectrum. My most important criteria for choosing blogs to follow is that they must be generally thoughtful. In other words, I don’t follow blogs which consist of nothing but rants on some subject. Nor do I follow blogs that have an extreme agenda. Some might have a purpose, or a focus, but they do not spout the “Doctrine of Open Source Software” (or any other cause) with their eyes shut to the limitations of their professed agenda.
Although I have less control over this aspect, I also find it very useful to receive comments on the things that I post. This helps to refine my thinking and sometimes to expose me to a new point of view. This was driven home to me recently as I received comments from a few people out of the blue. I have no idea how they found my blog, but they left comments which provoked my thinking.
Because I no longer make use of trackback in my blogging, I rarely make comments on my blog with thoughts I have had from things that other people have posted. This means that I have to get my material from other sources. Those other sources are my own experience and current events. A lack of current events (at least, current events I wanted to comment about) is what led me to start thinking about this current series. As I faced days where I felt there was little to say I began to consider – should I force myself to say something, or should I just let the day slide?
So that is how I define blogging, it is a process of ingesting information, processing that information, and then constraining my thoughts to the confines of written language where I invite others to critique what I have posted.