It’s an important question. Maybe the Band of Bloggers panel will discuss it.
I know folks like Owen and Justin Taylor tend to make their blogs about ideas and not about them. Somewhere Owen has said (I couldn’t find the link), in his advice to bloggers, “Make your blog about ideas and not about you” — I think in the context of trying to mute the egocentric tendency of bloggers and blogging. And as the well-read top ten list from Michael Spencer has noted, the number one reason he might not read your (or my) blog is that it is too personal.
I think that Justin Buzzard balances the personal and impersonal aspects on his blog. He shares a fair amount about his life and self, but also has good, thoughtful content. My friend Ben, who is one of the most freakishly intelligent men I know, said:
I think the whole point of blogging is in some way … personality. Maybe you don’t want to talk about yourself all the time, but if people read your blog, it’s because of you (whether they know you or not).
Obviously, this is not an “either-or” — we can incorporate both elements into our blogging. However, there will be a tendency for everyone, whether intentional or not. Most folks will probably tend toward the personal side, given the individualistic nature of blogging — I mean, we all start blogs so that we can get our own thinking and ourselves “out there”, don’t we?
I am trying to strike a balance on this one. Writing thoughtful posts on “non-personal” things takes a lot of work, but it is necessary if blogging is going to be more than just a fluffy online “dear diary.” However, like Ben said, there is an inherent personal aspect to blogging. Just think about how we refer to our favorite blogs — it’s “Justin Taylor’s blog”, not “Between Two Worlds”, when we it comes up in conversation. It’s “Timmy Brister“, not “Provocations and Pantings”. We know a blog by its blogger(s). Of course, this is not just a personal exercise — we come to appreciate blogs and their bloggers by the ideas that they convey and not only from an accounting of their trip to Mammoth Cave or something.
My own tendency is to try and thoughtfully reflect on my personal life and experience in a way that will be applicable and helpful for others. I assume that people don’t want to read my paper comparing and contrasting the theological methodology of Carl Henry and E.Y Mullins. But I could be wrong (you can read the paper and let me know…).
I am sure you have thoughts on this. Let’s interact.