Blogging: the little people

Wow, finally a well-placed piece of journalism that actually has something to say about the dynamics of blogging. That’s not to say everyone has been off-base, it’s just that they seem to overly concerned with defining a revolution, or placing it in a frame that pits blogging against politics- or news-as-usual. A New York Times article entitled Dating a Blogger, Reading All About It looks at blogging as a social phenomenon, and does a pretty neat job of it. It discusses one of the issues that appears regularly on many people’s blogs (including mine); that is, how do bloggers manage the difficult social lines of blogging about their own lives while respecting the privacy of those who are intimately linked to their lives. Deciding on a level of self-disclosure one is comfortable with is the easy part; deciding on how much of your friends’ and family’s (and friends’ families’) lives you report on is much more difficult.

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  1. Barbara
    Posted 5/17/2003 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    This is actually very interesting to me. Would I continue to date someone who wasn’t interested enough in me to read my blog? Should I care? I find that I do care.

    And I have written some obviously personal stuff, although I don’t reveal anyone’s identity to the world. The person for whom the post is intended, were they to read my blog, would know.

    In my mind they can’t object, being that I am deliberately protecting them, and simultaneously either complimenting or chastising them.

    Perhaps for me it is all moot. I’m not that popular, and I’m not dating!

  2. Posted 5/17/2003 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    …and I’m married, so while the dating issue remains a neat way for the NYT to get at the issue, it isn’t directly relevant.

    But married-and-blogging, too, has some interesting ram/blog/ifications. I’ve seen married couples with paired blogs, but in my house, I blog alone. Imagine my surprise when my wife suggested a few months ago that she read my blog, partially to make sure “I had it right,” and partially because “you tell the blog more on some topics than you tell me — it’s like having another layer of insight into you.” I think this is a great thing, but wonder what it means that it’s one way…

    On the more general topic, the most self-censorship on my end comes up because my parents read my blog, although having my high school students and fellow teachers read it as well keeps some of my less role-model-ish aspects out entirely.

    It continues to frustrate me to no end that I am more popular in real life than in the bloggiverse, though. Or not, truth being selective even on other people’s blogcomments, not just our own blogs…heh.

  3. Alex Halavais
    Posted 5/17/2003 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I think the title only gets at part of what the article is saying. In fact, more is in there about getting fired than dating. It’s just, you know, the “hook.” Dating stands in for a lot of our relationships. This is why Weinberger starts out with similar stories in Small Pieces, Loosely Joined. So many people think of the web as the place you go to get information, rather than the place you go to collaborate. Since dating is, in some ways, a familiar stand in for what we like to think are other important but unmentionable relationship formations, I think it’s a useful look. Also, it doesn’t assume that the 20 or 50 A-list bloggers are the only ones who matter.

    I have a feeling we have–what, the time? the space?–in real life to maintain multiple lives. I know people keep multiple blogs, though I don’t know how they have the time. But it’s easy to find this in real life. I am sure you have shared the experience of bumping into a former or current student in a disorientingly different context and perhaps not recognizing them, or they not recognizing you. The person who sits in the third row is the same as the one who slams into you in a club only in that they happen to share the same body–on timeshare.

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