Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thoughts about Blogging

I'm starting to wonder about connections and friendships from blogging. It's weird to share, to learn about someone, let alone care about them, without knowing them in some other context, or perhaps never meeting, seeing their face, hearing their voice, knowing where and how they live. One of the contributors to Illustration Friday has "disappeared"--she hasn't made an entry in weeks, and I find myself worrying about her, wondering what happened. It feels oddly strange that I'd like to know she's ok.

For a couple of years I was part of a dog group: we'd meet in the middle of a park every day with our dogs; we'd talk, laugh, catch up, philosophize--all this on a first name basis but not much else. Ususually we didn't know eachother's last names,about our work selves, homes, kids, backgrounds etc. But we knew what was happening day to day, as we shared stories about the best shoes for sub zero (ughs), places to take our dogs, the murder of sharon's beloved son, and the rearranging of jonatha's music and career. I remember thinking how lovely it was to have relationships based so fully and soley in the present moment.

Is blogging the same kind of connection? Can you really come to know someone in this way? How are personal boundaries different, if at all? How can you be who you are and yet be discreet in what you share about yourself?

These are my thoughts on this fine Thursday night. Any comments?

14 comments:

  1. Very interesting KJ, especially that I mentioned the subject on my blog today.

    I was thinking about the term rather than the action. As I have to get ready for another day of work at the office, I will trow on this subject and come back with my thoughts on another comment. Good topic.

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  2. Dick and I were just talking about the social aspects/consequences of the internet yesterday. We were in agreement that the internet actually formed bonds/friendships - fiendships that you choose where as in the past, when someone lived in a rural area, you had friends, but they were friends that you really couldn't choose, they were friends that happen to live near you. You may not even have anything in common with these people other than where you live.

    If you live in a rural area now, you can find like-minded people on-line.

    Gotta head out to work...I'll probably come back to this. Very interesting post!

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  3. I am also fascinated with blogging connections, and I think about it a lot too. I have made some very good blogging friends, have met some of them, others I feel connected to just through our comments. Just another circle to be a part of. They are all different. :-)

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  4. KJ, I feel the same way about my blogging friends ... one of my favorite bloggers hasn't been posting lately and I'm a bit worried. I feel like we have just what you described about your dog group -- my blogging buddies mean so much to me!

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  5. KJ, I feel the same way about my blogging friends ... one of my favorite bloggers hasn't been posting lately and I'm a bit worried. I feel like we have just what you described about your dog group -- my blogging buddies mean so much to me!

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  6. Okay KJ,

    I have been thinking about this topic. I met many people through message boards and blogs. I would not say that they are my “friends” I have very few friends because to me, it has to be what Aristotle once said a “Friendship borne of virtue”. The other types of friendships, which I have so many are “Friendship borne of pleasure” and “Friendships borne of need”, which I have a few. The people I meet through blogs and message boards are the people “I like”. If something unpleasant happened to any of them, I would feel sad and would sincerely wish them well. Unlike a personal friendship you can’t say “I will watch your house and pick up your mail while you are gone”.

    I do not think I can be truly close to anyone I have not met or at least had his/her criminal background checked. LOL!!! I could have never fallen in love through the web like in a lot of relationships formed these days. This weekend we met my friend’s daughter’s “boyfriend” she met through a chat room. He was not bad looking but he was not personable. He was very aloof and did not initiate any conversation or conversed in a normal fashion. I suppose he can be exciting and interesting when online. I thought about offering him a laptop so we can read what he was thinking or wanted to say when we spoke to him. LOL!!!

    What I cannot stand, however, are people who are rude and obnoxious because they think they are shielded by the monitor screen. There is no room for improper decorum anywhere.

    “Blog friendships” are relationships of convenience. We choose to form them. We unilaterally dictate its terms. When we are no longer interested we simply do not log on or read their blogs. We also decide when to say ”hello” by commenting. They will not ask us “how come you stopped reading/commenting on my blog?” In real friendships if your friend disappears or sees you walking down the hall and does not say “hello” you will ask “Is everything okay?” “You seem tired, may I buy you a cup of coffee?” or offer to take care of their children for a week because they have a family emergency. We can’t do that online. We also only read the blogs that interests us. We simply skip the topics we don’t care about. We completely shut out the ones that offend us. In person when someone is a friend we take the fun and cheerful side, we also tolerate their annoying and irritating habits.

    When there is bilateral agreement to form a friendship, bloggers and message board members will take that relationship off-line.

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  7. hmmm, this is alot of food for thought, ces. i'm pondering....

    :)

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  8. fascinating post and I too have experienced worry over a fellow artist that left clues of unhappiness and strife and then disappeared! It is a truly unique kind of relationship as you do feel connected to these strangers through art and words. You write wonderfully kj and I always appreciate your visits and comments!

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  9. kj… you were reading my mid as well… as i left a hasty post as to why i had gone missing i really wondered if anyone would read it let alone care and there you were along with a number of other blogging friends… i have yet to meet anyone i have "met" online and wonder what THAT would do to the relationship…

    for now i am content to know i have met some great people and may even have made a lasting impression on some of them through words or images…

    thanks for vissiting… for reading… and for wondering…

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  10. Wow, I was thinking about this yesterday. My husband made a myspace account for me and it reconnected me with old friends and acquaintances I hadn't though about in years. It isn't the same as having them around (most of them are scattered about the country now.) We can still keep a little bit of our former friendship alive. It is different. I would never think of calling any of them up on the phone or stopping by their houses. There is something less personal in an online friendship than in a face to face friendship.

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  11. I've made many wonderful friends online, actually, and I met my husband online as well. So I absolutely think that real friendships can form this way. Why not? At one point there was a definite stigma attached to meeting folks on The Net, but the entire world is on The Net these days -- it's no longer just the crazies or the socially-inept.

    As far as bloggers go, the blogs whose writers I don't know in real time are people I feel I connect with in some way. I mean, if their writing doesn't interest me, move me, make me laugh etc., then why would I bother? In that sense, they are people I could see myself potentially being friendly with were I to meet them. That said, sometimes online personalities can be deceptive. But, until given a reason to believe otherwise, I'll assume that these bloggers are genuinely putting themselves out there and I'll take them at face value.

    So, yes, I do care about my blogging friends. But it isn't the same as caring about people I actually know in person; I've invested a different level of energy there. It's only natural.

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  12. as a new blogger, all these responses have been fascinating, helpful, interesting, intriguing.

    here are the comments and ideas that stand out for me:

    --a truly unique kind of relationship as you do feel connected to these strangers through art and words

    --connected to these strangers through art and words.

    --they are people I could see myself potentially being friendly with were I to meet them.

    --the internet actually formed bonds/friendships - fiendships that you choose

    --Just another circle to be a part of.

    --Blog friendships” are relationships of convenience. We choose to form them.
    --------------------------------
    the bottom line for me: this is an opportunity to connect with people i like and/or share common interests with; to enjoy their talents; and to fall in love with writing and receiving letters again, sort of... and it's also a chance for me, and others, to enjoy and accept our human commonalities and differences without judgement....

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  13. KJ,

    auspicious questions and this too my friend is good. I can see the screen play for the dog group. It is your 'schtick' and you should write it if you are interested as I personally believe viewers would be fascinated...

    To the deeper, possibly, questions at hand. I believe that blogging is very much like human nature and some blogs you will attach yourself to and others you may want to avoid like the plague although sometimes I find myself reading blogs about things that so do not interest me because the concept that these things interest another to the point of consistently writing about it, baffles me fondly.

    I find sharing my life and my experience to be a humbling venture but have learned as many bloggers have that the more honest you are, and I strive for complete and total honesty, the more likely some people are going to misconstrue your thoughts as their own, take offense and sometimes stop reading all together. Either way, in my case, this was a commitment I made to myself, for those reading and wanting to read and the rest is just a benefit to me, a very welcomed benefit indeed. Your personal ability to share your emotion, sometimes raw and brillant, can only heighten ones experience upon stumbling to your page and from there, it is what the reader makes of it. I too miss bloggers and have realized that some events that I write about call for a follow-up response. The 'audience' WANTS to know more and hear more and if it is not provided, some do not fail to mention that they feel slided by my lack of concern for their emotion.

    Anyway, keep blogging and I too will keep reading with pleasure.

    eric

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  14. good to hear from you, eric. good thoughts from a observant mind.

    kj

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