What I’ve learned from blogging for an entire decade
Blogging leads to unchanging opinions
As I told in the first part of this series, blogging is tremendously helpful for learning. Keeping this online journal has helped me learn about other languages and cultures, it’s helped me learn about writing and most of all it’s helped me learn about myself from a more detached point of view. But it comes with a terrible price—it has made it far more difficult for me to change my opinion.
Unfortunately, people are strongly influenced to believe what they write publicly. This bias is so strong that it was the subject of a full chapter of Cialdini’s classic book Influence. People will even tend to start believing things that they previously didn’t when writing them in public! I don’t know of any specific research on arguing, but I suspect people who publicly argue for a position become even more entrenched in their belief of it.
As a blogger who wrote multiple posts per week and occasionally ended up in huge arguments with other bloggers, it was an effect I felt acutely. Even when nobody disagreed with me, I could feel my openness to other points of view slowly decrease as I wrote repeatedly about various topics revolving around education, language learning, politics or blogging. This is the main reason I stopped blogging so much, even before leaving Taiwan.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say that blogging isn’t a fantastic way to get feedback from other people and get closer to the truth at any given time. Over the course of days or weeks, it’s great. The danger is that after you come to a decision based on all of the feedback and have repeated it for a few months, then it gets harder and harder not to influence yourself to stick to it and even dig in further over time.