I am not real sure that I like the title of this post, but I couldn’t quite find the words to describe this in an appropriate fashion. So I’ll work extra hard on the post itself.
One of the reasons that I blog is that I enjoy the interaction with others. Without this medium I assuredly would never come into contact with so many interesting people that I feel privileged to have met, albeit in the virtual world.
In a post here or on his own blog Psychotoddler referred to blogging as targeted socializing. The concept is simple enough to understand. Blogging is another medium that makes it easy to determine who we would like to get to know better. In theory it makes it relatively easy to form relationships, friendships even.
And that is where things can get interesting.
Think about how friendships develop. To be more specific, consider how adult friendships develop. It could be someone that you meet at the office, the gym, synagogue or perhaps through a book club or other group you participate in. In general over time you begin to develop a friendship with them, but typically there are some significant distinctions in how you do that compared to what happens in the blogosphere.
In the blogosphere our personal boundaries are a little bit more relaxed. Often blogs contain personal stories or thoughts on politics and religion. Perhaps these are things that you would share with a friend, but in general you would probably be slower to release some of this information. It is natural to be a bit more guarded in person than here in the virtual world.
So what happens is that the so called natural rhythm and pace of information exchange between people is accelerated. Not only is it accelerated but it is provided in a format that makes it more difficult to understand. Sarcasm doesn’t always translate well. Attempts at humor may fail. There are no verbal clues to help provide an explanation of the true meaning of your words.
Example: You discover a new blog and become a regular visitor. For the sake of the example let’s say that you consider this blogger to be witty, erudite and a very fine writer. It quickly becomes one of your favorite stops on your blogroll, until one fateful day when they offend you.
It is the day that they write a post that completely denigrates you as a person. It is a day in which they espouse a political point of view that you find so heinous you cannot begin to explain how ugly they have now become.
I suspect that it happens to all of us. I am sure that there are former readers of the Shack around the blogosphere, not because the blog jumped the shark but because they were upset by something that I wrote.
It is kind of interesting to me. In theory they could be offended by something that they never would have heard me say. It might be my real opinion or it might be a complete misunderstanding.
It is interesting to me because while my blog contains some insights into who I am, what I like, what I believe, what scares me etc, it still is not me.
It is interesting because as real as the virtual world can be it is still not reality. It is interesting to me because I have met some bloggers and I have made some good friends. They have transitioned from cyberspace friends in-person personal friends.
What do you think?