I had an interesting conversation this weekend with someone who didn’t know that I blog.*
I also had an interesting conversation with someone who didn’t know that I played soccer.
Conversations can get pretty quirky when you’re talking with someone, they take the authoritative position on a subject right away and you let them do so. You position yourself at the quieter end of the chat and let your partner take the reins and all of a sudden you realize that you have a phenomenal indication of what someone knows or how much experience they have or, in some cases, how highly they consider their own opinion.
And I don’t mean to undermine the conversations I had this weekend. Neither was awfully ‘arrogant’ or anything along those particular lines, but when I am ‘assumed’ to have a certain level of understanding on a particular subject without any evidence to support the theory, I not only wonder what lead to the assumption (usually I think it has more to do with the assumptor, but who knows) but I know right away that I’m in the middle of one of those conversations.
As for the subjects, blogging and soccer are quite different. Soccer is a game, it’s a spectator sport, and thus it’s a relatively passionate subject. People have opinions, a many have experience with the game. There might even be some correct opinions out there, but we all know what it’s like to talk about sports or watch people talk about sports and while here and there someone might think they’re right (Cubs fans?) the mere fact that people are willing to posit an argument against the idea that Tiger or Michael Jordan is/was/will be the greatest player to have lived means the topic has a lot of speculation going on.
I don’t often argue with anyone about soccer. I have a long history with the game and a lot of it’s current players, so I just squirm in my frustrations as I watch the misteps in this country as they relate to the sport. Half the time I ignore soccer…I don’t follow European games like I used to, and only recently as we gear up for the World Cup do I find myself paying attention here in America.
I mean, as you all know, I really don’t write about soccer a whole lot.
Blogging, though, is not a sport. (Okay, for some it might be, but I’d like them to explain how.)
From where I’m standing, I’d position blogging as an activity that anyone can do, and everyone should do. It’s a communicative extension, and there’s no right way to do it, and there are ways to do it that will get you more attention than others. Writing, dancing, singing, speaking…all the same thing.
When blogging comes up in a conversation, it tends to be a uniquely personal conversation. Aside from the “what is blogging?” or “how?” or “why?” conversations, a real life chat about blogging is usually a reflection of how two people approach the activity. That has a lot to do with who they are. Their influences.
It’s an intimate thing.
Which is why I think it strikes me when subjects like these are commandeered in a conversation between folks who don’t know one another well. I don’t know…maybe it’s just that these two topics kind of resonate with me personally. Maybe I hope that I’m being conscious of how I might assume that I’m the expert in a conversation, or maybe I notice it because I’m very sensitive to the idea of being perceived as intellectually arrogant. There’s nothing wrong with thought and intellectualism and all of that…I adore it and I adore conversation as a result…but assumption and arrogance make an enemy of the fun, mutual, inquisitive conversation that I find the most worthwhile.
We all know things. Finding out what you know is the fun of it.
So what do you know?
*This may be obvious, but this conversation is obviously not a conversation I had at the blogger/tweeup on Saturday. That was a ton of fun and you are all wonderful people.