Sunday, March 21, 2010

How I can I better meet the needs of my constituents?

Open question: How are the running updates sitting with everyone?

I was pretty hesitant to add them as a regular feature because
a) I thought it would be more than I was willing to share, and
b) I didn't think anyone would care.

I want to dig deeper into both concerns, because I think they unearth a deeper issue of my blogging ethos, not to mention how I feel about running. Let's take a hard look at what I am willing to share: disturbing dreams, political beliefs, and existentialist ponderings as to my true nature and being. (Guess which one this post fits under?) And what I'm NOT willing to share: I don't use proper names, I try to avoid talking directly about my specific research tasks, and I don't like using stories that involve other people without running it by them.

As for b), let's look at the content. I've got comic book features that most of my readers don't care about, book reviews for books that, as far as I know, people aren't that interested in, and personal stories that rarely even involve a second party. So for the most part, I don't really care whether people are interested or not. So why the concern with running?

One more item to ponder: I seriously considered putting up a disclaimer in the first running post that I wouldn't be posting *ALL* my runs, just so I wouldn't have everyone knowing (and potentially belittling) my running efforts. I haven't done that; what you see here is my entire list of physical activity, for better or worse.

So what info is to be weened from all this? Well, I like running--or exercise in general. I also feel like my running is a private activity. And I like the feeling that I'm taking positive steps towards my own fitness. (Which is a lot bigger a statement than it may appear to be. But of my reticence to discuss running issues is probably related to my body image, which is a much bigger Topic That We Don't Talk About.) I like sharing that positivity. The downside is that the guilt that comes from skipping a day (or a week, or a month. Things happened, dammit) is now magnified in front of an audience. But for me, one of the main purposes of blogging is to take things stuck in my head and get them out, and this is one of those things.

I'm pretty conflicted here. So we'll conclude with two points:
1) Running updates. Good or bad?
2) On the subject of running updates and body image, here's a running update connected with body image. I'm skipping today, but I'm planning on doing a 10 k every day for five days, starting tomorrow. So if you're not liking the running updates, you're really not going to like this week.
Also, the resumed running has forced me to admit that running alone is not going to make up for the past half year of debauchery. So I'm changing the food intake. For the next month, I'm giving up pizza and chocolate. And it's probably very telling that the one thing I deleted on this post was the complete list of ALL the products I'll be consequently giving up. Although I'm really going to miss those Cadbury eggs...

Later Days.


Cait said...

Okay, I've had this thing open for about 8 hours on and off (as I'm sure your statcounter will tell you), so I'd better comment or else I'll look insane. Also, I feel the need to point out that one of my previous word verifications was "epoof."

I think it's a good thing to talk about your running, personally, and as I am apparently going to be a runner myself, I am interested to hear about it. But that's not the only reason I think it's a good idea. With blogging, it's very easy to present a particular version of yourself to the world (Wide Web), and I wonder if that sometimes-unintentional disingenuousness is actually damaging to our sense of self. The feedback you get on a blog affects your self-image, I think, but if you haven't actually presented yourself it has the potential to give you a skewed vision of who and what you are.

But then, I'm prone to oversharing in life, generally. One of the reasons I abandoned my former blog is because I felt as if I revealed too much of myself, and one of the only things that has prevented me from taking it down is the knowledge that the backlog is far too impenetrable by virtue of its size for anyone to get a proper handle on how unstable I was at the age of 20. But then, my new blog seems to be going down the same "opening a vein" path that the previous one did, so perhaps that's just the way I'm built. Either way, the essay I posted on it today is very much a direct result of this post, so, er, thank you...or fuck you! depending on how I feel about it in the morning.

Person of Consequence said...

"epoof" lends itself to some tasteless jokes. And some just bad jokes. Internet magician...or something...

And to touch on some of your other points, I think one of the potentially most cringe-worthy oversharing moments is the blog post based on Something Someone Else Has Said. And you pour your heart into a response and the other person reads it, and completely disavows themselves from it--"That? That was 'cause of what I said? That is not even remotely what I meant, and you're weird for thinking so." (I'm paraphrasing.)

If it was something said in conversation, you could just trail off and let time take care of it. But it's on the Net. The text is there, preserved. A shiny permanent reminder of your failure to communicate.

Not that this pertains to your post. I haven't read it yet. I'm sure it's brilliant.

Cait said...

You know, I tend not to worry about those sorts of things -- I'm unself-conscious to the point of idiocy on occasion, let me tell you. I'm going jogging with a friend of mine today (my first time!) and she's got this spot picked out where no one can see you so we don't feel silly, and I thought, "it didn't occur to me that I would feel silly at all..." although I'm sure I'd look silly, and I'm well aware there's a certain amount of antipathy directed towards joggers in general.

I'm interested in this idea of body image. Well, YOUR body image, actually (sorry!). There's so much discussion about female body image, and I'm a woman so that's inevitably the perspective I take when discussing it. I think there's an unfortunate underrepresentation of men and their bodies in the overall discussion. And I'm not surprised that men don't like to talk about it. Discussing constructions of masculinity in any way is very difficult, I think probably because it's been so wrapped up in notions of patriarchy and power. In its broadest terms, admitting weakness is effeminate, but admitting strength is sexist.

Person of Consequence said...

Well, on the "looking silly while jogging" topic, I've been laughed at, repeatedly. People pantomiming jogging when I go by, yelling "Run, Forrest run!"--I got hit by a friggin' car once on Taylor, and two teenage girls nearby thought it was hilarious. They're always between the ages of fifteen and twenty or so, and always in a group. It just proves the old saying: Kids can be cruel, but teenagers in groups can be assholes.

Person of Consequence said...

...and in case you couldn't tell, I had a bad experience today.

Cait said...

Ah, people are dicks. Especially teenagers. I hope you didn't get hit by a car today, though! Here. Read Charlie Brooker. He thinks joggers are part Tralfamadorian: