Jeanne D’Arc is worried that she might be burning out on blogging and worries that part of the reason may be that there is too little reasoned discourse and too much yelling:
The blogosphere’s beginning to seem more like a place for people to scream in each other’s faces than to learn from each other.
Yes, much writing in the blog world as in the traditional media world is polemic. I don’t think that we will ever see the end of polemic discourse. But it does change in scale depending on the issue of the day and the circle of blogs you read. Many of the polemicists are not interested in learning something new and feel secure only when their mental barricades are not challenged. They intensely fear those who understand that that not all the tablets have been etched and that writing and exchanging ideas is one of the tools we use to learn. And they feel successful when they quiet the thinkers.
Jeanne has a perfectly good reason to keep blogging. She says it herself:
I’m a writer, not a lawyer. I’m better at musing and questioning than I am at building unassailable arguments. Arguments, to be honest, bore me. I don’t write to persuade, I write to figure things out myself, and readers, to me, are not people whose minds I want to change, but people I’ve invited along on the journey (and who sometimes have suggestions for a direction to go in that I hadn’t thought of before.)
She points us to Jeff Cooper who also questions his inspiration to blog and offers another take on why to keep it up:
I’m not so egotistical as to think that I would change many minds, or even any minds, by writing here. But I did hope at least to make my positions understood, and to come to better understand the arguments of those who see things differently. That requires a certain openness, though, a willingness to attempt to see the world from different perspectives and to take seriously the possibility that I might sometimes be wrong. And, unfortunately, I don’t find many other bloggers approaching their writing in a similar spirit.
In both cases the blog, it used to be the journal, etc., offers a tool to let us explore our understanding of the world we live in. The big advantage of doing it in public is the feedback. Real folks (some jerks) sometimes read our explorations and talk back to us about them. This doesn’t happen in a private forum like a journal. And without the feedback learning does not thrive.