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To Blog Or Not To Blog, That Is The Question

By Brooke Benton

I loved Elder Ballard’s talk on Sunday afternoon. Indeed it was the cherry on top of an already amazing conference weekend. I found myself tearful and grateful, turning to my husband to see his reaction, turning to my kids with a half-holler: “are you guys listening to this?!”

I was feeling very virtuous and appreciated till he got to one part. You know the part: that itsy bitsy mention of the Internet. He said, “Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the time-wasting, mind-numbing things like”¦ surfing the Internet.”

Hm. How do intelligent, internet-saavy readers of blogs and Segullah reconcile this statement? I do think that Segullah is the opposite of mind-numbing—in fact, I love the things I’m forced to consider and question as I read so many lovely, thought-provoking things. But sometimes”¦ I find that I have stumbled unwittingly onto a blog who’s author and family I don’t even know.  And sometimes”¦ I find myself reading about these strangers for embarrassingly large amounts of time.

It’s true I’ve made my kids play outside while I have computer time; right now they’re watching cartoons so that I can write this. What is the balance of this? I feel I’m doing a service by “scrapbooking” our life and “filling my well” with writing, but how much is too much?

How do we reconcile our blogs and our life?

About Brooke Benton

(Blog Team) is attempting inner om with this writing stuff. Proud to claim four loud children, a patient husband and a fat black cat as family, she feels blessed to be their mommy-- their giver of kisses and baker of cookies. She is ever seeking a good novel and wishing for the sand between her toes, palm trees, the ocean.

22 thoughts on “To Blog Or Not To Blog, That Is The Question”

  1. Brooke, your questions about balance and how much is too much are key, it seems. I've been thinking about this the last day or two, especially as my blog "usuals" have not much new on them, and I repeatedly see the words "no new messages" when I click "check mail," and then I sit a few minutes longer and click that check mail button one last time, just in case. Before we adopted our son, I spent tremendous amounts of time at the computer, and I would say many of them were wasted hours, but not all.

    I'm reading C. Terry Warner's "Bonds That Make Us Free," which so far seems mainly about being honest with ourselves. I think that if I were honest with myself about what really matters to me, I would end up in front of the computer less often and for shorter periods of time. I would still blog, but as seldom as I have deep thoughts since becoming a Mom, I don't think I'd write as often.

    On the other hand, blogging and such can be really fun and inspiring. When I want a break or a connection or something brain stimulating (or even mind numbing), it's not a bad route.

    For me it goes back to your questions and the honest-with-ourselves idea. I think it's good to ask ourselves these questions.

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  2. This is indeed the question. Since Elder Ballard was also the one who encouraged us to share the gospel online, it seems to me there is a balance, just like with everything else.

    I like what was said above about being honest with ourselves. Hard to do, but important.

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  3. I've really had to monitor this myself. I cut way back on posting, but then realized I was reading other blogs and not posting to my blog = still wasting time! Sooooo, I made a rule for myself, I have to post to my blog before I "surf" other blogs and since I don't post every day, I'm not reading blogs every day. Like you said, the purpose of my blog, also, is to "scrap book" my families life, I want to be true to that, the reason I started.

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  4. All things in moderation right?

    The internet and blogging is a wonderful outlet, one I need. It can also be a giant time waster when you could be off doing better things. There's that same fine line in all types of hobbies and activities. Know your boundaries and know when you could be doing something to better serve your time and others around you and then go do it!

    And when you need a little break from doing all the rest of those good things, go blog.

    It's fun!

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  5. What did I do before blogging, I ask myself. I know I read a lot more books!
    Not too long ago, I set a goal to not blog/read others' blogs for two weeks, to get myself into a better exercise routine. And it worked–it was a good motivation to get it done.
    My next one is going to have to be 'no blogging until 30 min. of scripture time have been accomplished'.
    I hear my kids ask me something and I say "Just a minute". I try so hard to do whatever it is they need in just a minute, not letting that minute turn into 20.

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  6. This is my first comment on this Blog Segullah, although I've read most of the editorials for several months. I've been going through some blogging trauma of late…feeling judged by it either way and decided with much remorse to go private. I felt that by putting that limitation (i.e…# of readers, less need to be so generic and inclusive with my writing) I'd find more moderation in my desire to blog. But I admit to deciding to "just stop" blogging first. I mean, isn't that what good mothers/wife/LDS women do? Give up anything that isn't completely self sacrificing? Except the hot bath. For some reason, we're given that o.k. all the time.

    But then I remembered that I actually LOVE blogging. I love how it makes me think. I love that it gives form to my shapeless days. I love that there are a small number of people out there who care. I love that it is mine.

    Enough with the self flagellation. There is wasting time, which certainly deserves a rebuke, and there is relaxing and "filling our vessels" which blogging does for me. I hope my solution works for me. Thanks for the opportunity for discussion on this topic:)

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  7. I can definitely tell a difference between when I am idly surfing the internet just to waste time/escape/not think and when I am doing something purposeful. I try to catch myself when I'm doing the former and get off the computer. I also have cut down my online time to be only when my kids are napping or in bed. I'm pretty good about that most of the time, especially since they trash the house while I'm online if they're awake. Part of this is made possible through using tools like an email program (Thunderbird) and Google Reader that save me time on checking up on things.

    I also don't have a lot of other hobbies and I don't watch much TV, so I do have a fair amount of spare time that I use on writing and reading. Blogging has spurred me to also start a private journal where I reflect on things that I've read on others' blogs. I've made a lot of good friends through blogs, had great conversations and learned a lot. It is also a constant battle to avoid the addiction and the idleness that can easily happen.

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  8. My thoughts exactly when I heard that council from Elder Ballard. I have made myself think twice this week before logging on to "just check my mail". usually a task that should take 30 seconds has snowballed into 30 – 60 minutes and "where has the morning gone!".

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  9. As soon as I heard Elder Ballard's talk, I knew he was talking to me! I thought,"I need to delete my blog…again"! Moderation is the key…but how do we moderate? I like what Elizabeth said. Make other priorities before blogging and once they are done, you may blog, but I am not that strong! I just need to avoid the computer altogether! 🙂 Which is exactly why I am posting this reply on a Friday night at 9pm. I mean, don't I have anything better to do? The answer is, YES, and I'm going to go do it right now! Snuggle with my daughter!

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  10. i always check my blog and friends all at once. and mostly when babies are napping. i don't feel like i am missing out that way. and i mostly blog at night when they are asleep. or first thing in the morning before they wake up.

    there definatley needs to be a balance. just like with everything in life. it is something to look forward to for me. especially reading comments. those are fun to check at night.

    the other time saver…bloglines. i only check blogs, when they get updated. wow. thank you to my blog friends for introducing me to that. that way, i am not always clicking here and there.

    love ya this is the life. i look forward to reading yours daily.

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  11. I loved Elder Ballard's talk as well. I felt a poke in the side when that statement was made, but it was when my hubby turned and looked at me, I felt even more guilty. I have to say that blogging has filled my empty vessel with much fun and enjoyment. And then there are times, I will start reading blogs and realize that I have just set there for hours, which is rediculous. I have loved reading Segullah and appreciate all of you who contribute such wonderful words of wisdom. I am working on this very addicting but fun habit/hobby.

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  12. The little apple with the bite out of it on the lid of my computer says it all. I have partaken of the tree of knowledge and there is no going back. To quote you Segullah ladies, "I love, love, love the internet." I eventually find answers to everything I am looking for here, whether it is a recipe for rice krispie treats, encouragement for loving a wayward son https://segullah.org/spring2006/havelove.html or renewing a relationship via email with a long lost cousin. The internet has been a gift, my own personal Urim and Thummin, and for me "there is no other way."

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  13. colleen, that made me laugh out loud. and the apple that's staring at me right now: never even thought about it in that context. and it's funny and TRUE.

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  14. I really don't think blogging, specifically, has become a church-wide, or even US church wide issue. You may have 'heard' blogging because that is what you do. People who read this blog, probably have a blog of their own and probably know a lot of people who blog. But there still remains the majority of church women who do not blog or read blogs. I doubt very much that Elder Ballard was speaking to us bloggers, about blogging. The counsel is still sound, applied to blogging or any other internet waste of time (like checking the Drudge Report 16 times a day). Take the advise personally and apply to your own weakness.

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  15. I have not left a comment here, before, although I do enjoy reading Segullah blog because it is thought-provoking, writing. In the discussion on this topic, however, I wonder if by pulling out the line "surfing on the internet," we have missed his true message. We are awfully tough on ourselves as mothers, me included.

    Personally, I was relieved when my husband looked over at me and said, "Your writing on the Internet" is not "surfing the Internet." That was just the reassurance I needed to not beat myself and know that this is my way of "cultivating my gifts" and sharing them.

    The most important message Elder Ballard gave was this, "What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."

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  16. So not only did the Elder Ballards talk, our conversation and this post reaffirm what I knew all along. It is all about using our time wisely. We need to not get caught up in the social aspect of the world of blogdom. It is a great resource for those of us without many other options but one that we need to keep ourselves in check with often. I think it is a great thing if used wisely.

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  17. I agree that blogging and writing are very, very good things. And I know for myself when it's time to "put the mouse down and step away from the computer…"

    But DO I?

    Not always. That's what I feel bad about.

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  18. Brooke,
    I love that "put the mouse down and step away from the computer…" I have to do that with the computer, a delicious book (at 1 am) and especially Segullah because it is my favorite blog! It is all about balance. I appreciate all your comments.

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  19. Thanks for this, Brooke. This is so hard for me. I needed Elder Ballard's talk, and I needed that comment. Sometimes I feel like blogging satisfies my needs, and sometimes I feel like it just makes them bigger, creates this hole. It's hard for me to find balance.

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  20. The line that got me was "Avoid any kind of substance abuse, mistakenly thinking it will help you to do more" To ME that said 2 words. Diet. Coke.

    I think that blogging has helped me to be a better mom because I'm looking at life in a constant "compose" mode. Instead of being upset with Everett for smearing butter all over the dining room table, I take a picture and laugh about how he won't be doing this for much longer (I hope). It's also a way to connect with others as we go through these different stages in life. Sometimes you can feel isolated as a mom to young ones and it's comforting to see others and how they deal with the ups and downs of motherhood. But, just like everyone has said…it can get out of hand if you aren't careful with your time.

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