I’ve been blogging on one platform or another for longer than I’d like to admit. But in 2007, I signed up for IGN’s community and started blogging there. At the time, my goal was still to try to break in to the industry and write game reviews for a living (more on that some other time) so the IGN blog started out as portfolio of sorts for posting my gaming reviews. I thought a dedicated gaming community made more sense than something like Blogger, where I was struggling to get any views at all. And it was the right decision, but maybe not for the reasons one would expect.
Over the weekend, I received news, via friends on Twitter, that IGN was shutting down their blogging community. This news created a wave of nostalgia between myself and older bloggers that we’ve stayed in touch with and while I was wondering what to post as a top 10 for this Tuesday, an idea hit me. What are the 10 biggest things I’ve gotten out of blogging.
10. Making me a better writer. – I’m sure you are saying, “Chris, you aren’t really all that good of a writer though.” Well you didn’t see my old stuff, this is far more articulate. Trust me on that one.
9. Overcoming a fear of putting myself out there. – I’m a naturally reserved, introverted person and terrified of rejection. Hitting publish on a blog you’ve made public drops whatever you’ve written, drawn, filmed, recorded, whathaveyou, into the hands of others. It’s still a sometimes scary thing for me to do as I’m sharing with you all something personal, even if it doesn’t seem it. But. blogging has helped me a lot with this.
8. Being a part of a community. – As an introvert, it is sometimes hard to feel a part of something. One of the things that joining IGN’s blogging community was that feeling. It’s a feeling I get here at WordPress now too and it’s a nice feeling to know that after a bad day, I can come home and read things (blog posts and comments) that people wrote and drop my opinions on them, sometimes sparking a conversation.
7. Exposing me to a bigger world. – I don’t have the means to travel the world. I mean, my wife and I make a decent living and are able to support ourselves and our kids to live comfortably but I’m not heading off to Japan any time in the next 10 years, if ever. Being part of a blogging community has exposed me to different cities, different countries, and different cultures. And I credit it a lot with looking at things in a bigger sense and not just in my insulated little valley, making me much more understanding of others in the process. (That’s not to say I can’t still be an asshole from time to time but it’s an ongoing growth.
6. Exposing me to other opinions. – Much like with how blogging exposed me to a bigger world. It has also exposed me to other opinions. In life, we tend to surround ourselves with like minded people. Over time this causes us to stop challenging ourselves by looking at things differently. Blogging has shown me that, not everything is as I see it. This has allowed me to become a more robust critic and…
5. Taught me to respect the opinions of others. – Maybe this isn’t so much from blogging but I feel that I’ve seen myself progress in this vein over time and I can see it in chronological detail by looking back at old blog posts, comments, and interactions. And because of this….
4. I’m less angry on the internet. – The internet can be an infuriating place and I’m not going to deny that I’ll sometimes lose it and just go off on a rant, either on my own blog or in the comments somewhere else but I do it less so because someone not liking what I liked isn’t cause for me to rip them apart and tell them they are an idiot with as much colorful language as I can muster.
3. I’m a better debater than I was. – When I do wade in to a debate though I feel I’m better prepared. I try not to let emotion dictate my arguments anymore (not saying it doesn’t happen though) and I think this puts me on more solid ground when debating an issue, be it about games and movies or even politics and the economy.
2. Being able to take criticism has made me a better critic. – Putting my writing, podcast, videos, etc… out there for others to consume and critique has allowed me to see the flaws in my work and has helped me become a more focused critic when I approach things.
1. The friends I’ve made along the way. – I’ve heard it plenty of times from people over the years, those are Chris’s “internet friends”. It’s a condescending dig by people that don’t get it but I’ll take all the condescending digs you can throw my way because I’ve made some of my best friends through blogging. I talk, like with my real voice, to three to five of them at least once a week. Sometimes I don’t talk to my so-called “real-life” friends that often. The friends are real and I value them immensely.
Even though I don’t ever really visit MyIGN anymore, I’ll miss it. I’ll miss the opportunity and experience it gave me being passed on to other people. I do hope those that were using it are able to find and latch on to another strong community, like maybe this one here on WordPress.