By now, nearly everyone knows what a blog is: a web log. An online chronicle of anything and everything, a blog is whatever its creator makes of it. Blogs sprouted like weeds in the early 2000s, when blogging software became more user-friendly and accessible. Many businesses have a blog going, and millions and millions of individuals have personal sites that function as anything from a PR tool for a struggling actor or a church group's info hub to a poet's outlet for anonymous odes.
The simple act of disclosure – sharing our thoughts, ideas, and feelings with others – can make us feel better. That's probably why so many people pay psychotherapists for their services. It's why so many people write journals, love letters, and books. And it could also be why so many people write blogs.
Writing about emotional topics has been linked to reduced stress and improved academic performance. Physical health also saw an upswing – some research showed that after a period of regular writing exercises, people may take fewer sick days off from work, require fewer medical appointments, or experience better immune function.
Journaling is a method some people encourage for those going through a difficult diagnosis or medical treatment. Writing offers patients an avenue for focused self-expression and a place for venting the surplus of emotions and sensations that often accompany living with a disease or condition. Move these journals online to a blog format, and the writing gains a new dimension, a new power: it becomes accessible to others in similar situations who can then reflect, react, and respond. The opportunity to build a new community based on shared experience opens up.
It is this social element that really sets blogging apart from writing for oneself. Blogging combines the cathartic experience of writing with the "social capital" – friendships, community ties – you can gain by linking online to others. And when you gain social capital, you may increase your overall feeling of well-being.
Considering launching yourself into the blogosphere? Consider the pros and cons first.
- Blogging is belonging: People who blog and share their thoughts and feelings with an audience enjoy an enhanced feeling of belonging. In what can feel like an increasingly isolated world, blogs can pull together likeminded individuals to form a new kind of community that allows for friendship and social support.
- Blogging creates friendships: As a person blogs and fields comments and gains "readership," their social network can grow and become stronger. This can mean strengthening ties to existing friends or creating new ties to people who may become friends. And the friendships forged online can become as real, as binding, and as supportive as offline relationships.
- Blogging is inclusive: The online platform isn't just for extroverts and those seeking attention. You can choose to be open and out there on your blog or maintain your anonymity. It's a safe space where the usual social constraints – awkwardness, insecurity, shyness, hesitation to talk about tricky topics – don't have to get in the way.
- Blogging can become addictive: Once you get the blog buzz, you may never want to go without it. No doubt about it: it's fun to get feedback, to meet new people, and to watch traffic to your posts grow. But in the 24-hour news cycle of the internet, bloggers can become compulsive about posting frequently enough or about getting the scoop on fellow bloggers. Blogging binges can cause sleepless nights, stress, and precious time away from offline relationships.
- Blogging can open you up to criticism: This is a risk we run whenever we open ourselves up to others. The tech twist to this vulnerability is the "comment" function. Reveal your emotions or unleash your opinions on your blog, and you may receive comments attacking, scrutinizing, or dismissing what you've written. The good news is that since people seek out blogs based on common interest and read them voluntarily, most comments and interactions are positive.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Online-Life-Is-It-Healthy