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The Value of Like-Mindedness in Blogging


Canyon Lake

Originally uploaded by factormom

By Jessawhy

Last night, after a fabulous AZsnacker at Mraynes’ house, with the pleasant company of ZD’s Ziff, I explained to my husband how happy I am to find like-minded individuals through blogging. Although he loves our friends, he disagreed with my comment, saying like-mindedness if often negative and encourages group-think. We went back and forth, me citing the Civil Rights movement and him citing the Nazis. In the end, I think there are benefits and drawbacks to any like-minded group, be they Mormon Bloggers, or Jimmy Buffet fans.

Admittedly, Mormon bloggers aren’t all like-minded, and that is what makes blogging fun. But, I tend to frequent blogs where I am most comfortable, and avoid blogs or posts that have a different take on life (say conservative, for example). In Poli Sci, I think these are called reinforcing cleavages, or echo chambers, or maybe both. But, of course the bloggernacle is full of diversity of thought, if you choose to see it.

For me, blogging balances the like-mindedness I find all around me, especially at church. So I don’t feel like indulging the regular Relief Society posts or answers because I can get that every Sunday. Blogging is the place where people speak my language, and I don’t have to fake my way through a conversation.

But, perhaps blogging has also warped my view of what is normal. Sometimes I begin conversations with, “Did you see that post on BCC?” and I talk about feminism as though everyone sees the virtues in it like I do. I guess I’m just hoping to bring my friends and family along with me into blogging paradise (or psychosis, whatever).

It’s working, too. I have a few close friends who were surprised that I didn’t invite them to the bloggersnacker. “Really? I didn’t know you wanted to go.” But, of course they do, because bloggers are so freaking cool. And, everyone wants to find someone who is honest about life and the church.

That’s what bloggers do best.

I’ll take that kind of like-mindedness anyday.

Jessawhy

Jessawhy is a wife, mother, community volunteer, activist and student. She is currently working towards a Physician Assistant degree.

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  1. sarah says:

    Me, I’m just jealous that I didn’t get to go and meet other like-minded people. I cannot wait until the end of September! I need your (inclusive of Ex-II bloggers and readers) like-minded conversation. If we don’t have people we can talk freely with and who will respect us, and sometimes even agree, we wither and die inside.

  2. Caroline says:

    I’m like you Jessawhy. I tend to stick to the blogs that tend to have similar takes as I do on life. I can understand why some would think that a negative thing, but for me, I need some like-minded support and community after my 3 hour block where I often feel like an alien.

    I do, however, like it when people come to exponent with a different take on things. IT might be frustrating if they seem insensitive, but I like the conversation and the back and forth it brings.

    Wish I could have come to that bloggersnackle!

  3. Rory says:

    Jessawhy worked in a Jimmy Buffett reference on her blog post. I knew she was cool before, but this seals it. Fins up 🙂

  4. Jessawhy says:

    Thanks, Susanne!
    sarah,
    I was jealous about snackers in UT and ID until I got invited to one by our very own EmilyCC (who unfortunately couldn’t attend this most recent one).
    Where do you live? Could you host one? Perhaps you could find people nearby who want to find other like-minded individuals.
    I agree with the withering and dying inside. It’s good to have people agree with you, but my problem is when I think _everyone_ should agree with me. That’s just ridiculous 😉
    Caroline,
    I wish you could have come, too! We’ll just have to have a Ca/Az retreat soon. Sometimes I feel like an alien at church, or even at ward playgroups. Today we had one and there was this feeling that I can only describe as Styrofoam. It was weird.
    Not normal, like blogging. (what am I saying?)
    Rory,
    Are you a parrothead? I can’t imagine! Please tell me you don’t wear the Hawaiian shirts to the Sunstone symposium!

  5. gladtobeamom says:

    I actually appreciate a lack of like-mindedness. I found this site and have really enjoyed learning a different point of view. I have learned about so much that is not come up in my circles. I can see where it can be good to find people with your same thinking. For me I am surrounded by to much of the same thinking with out any willingness to be accepting of other people regardless of their views, thoughts, etc.

    This is one of those Mormon culture issues I have a problem with. I don’t always agree with everything out here but I have learned so much and am starting to understand more about feminism, women with different ideas, peoples struggles within the church etc.

    Growing up, feminism was a dirty word. And people in the church who had issues were scary. Reading and learning from other non like-minded people has taught me this is wrong. I think it has helped me to be more Christlike. It helps me to see their motives or the good in them etc. It has helped me to see people different. It has helped me discover that though some of my views are different there are a number of things that I am like-minded on or has helped me to see where I have been mistaken.

    I appreciate honesty and wish there were more women like you in my ward. I wish church could be like blogging. Where you could have a discussion even when you have apposing views and have everyone able to share and still respect each other.

    I appreciate being able to share my views and not be torn to pieces when they might be different or the fact I am not very articulate. That is actually not true of a lot of blogs.

    Maybe it is good to find like-mindedness if you are amongst the minority. I wish more of us were open to a little searching where we don’t have like-mindedness you might be surprised by what you learn.

  6. Steve Evans says:

    Beginning conversations with, “Did you see that post on BCC” is definitely a sign of a warped mind.

  7. Bree says:

    I love these blogs precisely because they offer a much needed reprieve from the mormon majority group-think that I experience during the 3-hour sunday block and in some interactions with close friends and family.

    But it has also lulled me into a false sense that all of my views do fit within the mainstream. (The blank stares I got in RS last Sunday confirm this) I guess my sunday-censor has faded a bit…which I think is wonderful.

  8. EmilyCC says:

    gladtobeamom, thanks for sharing your story. I always look forward to your comments here.

    I think I take our blog (and the bloggernacle) for granted sometimes. Thanks for the reminder, Jessawhy.

  9. Ziff says:

    I really enjoyed bloggersnacking with you and mraynes and your families too!

    I think I am probably in the same position as you are, Jessawhy. As Caroline put it so well, after feeling like an alien at church, it’s nice to hang out (even if only virtually) who ask the same kinds of questions. As long as we’re such a small minority, I think there’s great value in knowing we’re not alone. Whenever I see someone comment here or at FMH or somewhere and say things like “Until I found this site, I thought I was the only one who worried about polygamy in the next life,” I think the blogs are serving a great community purpose.

    I think I see your husband’s point about groupthink. And certainly I’ve experienced the feeling you mention of losing track of how out of the mainstream I am. I hear a comment at church and think “if you said that on the bloggernacle, you’d get 50 people shooting you down in 10 minutes.” But I think as long as we (generally speaking) are in the church as well as the bloggernacle, the former limits how group-thinky the latter can be. In other words, I think going to church will always remind us how heretical we are. 🙂

  10. KiriClose says:

    This blog is like home to me :o).

  11. sarah says:

    Jessawhy, I’m in Ohio. 🙁 So far, I haven’t really found people nearby who I can’t let it all hang out with. I know there are a few in Cincy, but I’m a SAHM, so I don’t get out much. Needless to say, I *need* ExII.

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