He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage. George Orwell, 1984
Every once in a while, I have to pause and ask myself, “Why bother doing this? Why blog?” IF I am honest when I say, “I don’t really care if anybody reads these words,” why is keeping a journal not enough for me?
For starters, I have never succeeded in keeping a journal. I must have accumulated dozens of journals with scribbles only on the first few pages: my handwriting progressively became sloppier, and the word counts less, until … blank. Blank. Blank.
So am I really that narcissistic, as I like to accuse myself of – getting it out of the way before anybody else points this out.
This recurring self-reflexive questioning was put to an end when I came across this Time article, “Like to Brag on Facebook or Twitter? That’s Because Self-Disclosure Is like Eating and Sex, Says Study“. The title itself is self-explanatory.
Intriguingly, the researchers noted a distinction between types of self-disclosure: introspection, or privately thinking about oneself, compared with having the opportunity to share those thoughts with another human being. Again, as expected, while introspection was itself sufficient to light up brain regions associated with reward, the effects were “magnified” when participants believed their thoughts would be communicated to someone else.
In this other article, “Why We Talk About Ourselves: The Brain Likes It“, it was spelled out even more explicitly. Here is the paragraph that I have committed to memory as rebuttal against my imaginary accusers:
We love talking about ourselves, we really do — that’s what a group of Harvard neuroscientists found while testing the theory that we’re big on self-disclosure, anyway. In fact, say the scientists, we love self-disclosure so much because it tickles our core value centers in much the same way as “primary rewards” like food and sex.
The researchers noted that people particularly enjoyed self-disclosure if they knew other people were listening. When people were given a choice to share their responses with others or to keep them private, they gave up 25% of their potential earnings in order to broadcast the personal info. “[The] effects were magniﬁed by knowledge that one’s thoughts would be communicated to another person, suggesting that individuals ﬁnd opportunities to disclose their own thoughts to others to be especially rewarding,” says the study.
There you have it.
It is in our psychological make-up, part of the evolutionary outcome. How can you fight that? In fact, more people should be doing this –
Blogging. It is good for the soul.
And since it is 100% fat free and at no risk of contracting STD, it is good for the body too.