Monday, April 18, 2005

Blogging Reflections

Looking back at the vast majority of my posts i've sort of noticed that i never really put anything very insightful on here. It's more of an online "what have i done recently" diary than one which is full of deep and meaningful thoughts. This is especially obvious when i look at the kind of insightful blogs/xangas/live journals etc kept by a lot of other people. Indeed the same goes for some of the comments which seem to appear in response.

I don't want to sound too critical of what's written in those kind of posts, but sometimes i can't help wondering why people seem to be so comfortably open when they're putting their inner most thoughts up for the world to read. To me, those sorts of topics seem much more like something you might want to talk about with a friend over a coffee or two.. Not something you'd write in an article that would be circulated amongst people you hardly even know (or don't know at all for that matter).

I mean, if the reason people keep personal paper diaries is to give themselves an outlet for their thoughts and emotions that they don't feel like sharing, the very idea of using these web logs like diaries is counter-intuitive. Yet, despite the lack of privacy, web logs seem to provide some sort of security to a lot of people which lets them express themselves in ways that they wouldn't normally.

I'm sure that not everybody who keeps a blog (or posts comments) is just extremely extroverted and unconcerned with who knows what they're thinking/feeling - although undoubtedly there are some people like that. Maybe there are some people out there who just think that they're anonymous when they post because they don't use real names.. Or perhaps it's the security of not needing to immediately deal with another person's reaction. Isn't that the reason why so many people find it easier to write a letter (or these days, send a message) than to face someone in person? It is a lot easier to say unkind things to somebody's email box than to their face; so perhaps it is easier to put one's thoughts up in a blog rather than to talk about it to a real person.. Is blogging just another way by which we as human beings are distancing ourselves from one another in today's ever increasingly 'networked' social environment?

I guess i have to say that i tend to agree with the latter argument. It seems to me, sadly, that people today are generally spending less and less time actually interacting with each other directly. A lot of the time, and i am no exception, people take the easy way out.

Now i'm sure some of you are probably wondering how i can say that i am surprised that people are willing to post 'anonymous' deep and meaningful blogs, while i am happily reporting (with pictures) a large portion of what goes on in my daily life. What is the difference is between blogging about whatever you've been doing and blogging about whatever you've been thinking...? I guess in the end it's really quite an arbitrary distinction that i have in my mind. And that distinction may well be peculiar to me and to me alone. But in my eyes, unlike one's actions which are readily observable by any who would care to take notice, one's thoughts are an infinitely more private realm... And not one which i would feel comfortable sharing with the world at large.

I started this web log back in September 2004. And i started it for a purpose: i wanted to be able to share some of my experiences on exchange with friends and family back home. But as originally daunting as it seemed, i found that writing about my experiences regularly so that everybody could read was not only a good way to reflect on what i'd been up to; it also actually helped keep a sense of connection with people. And now that i'm home? I like to think it's my little link to my life as an exchange student and all the wonderful people i met there - even though the majority of readers are probably not living 8000 km away. In any case, i hope at the very least that in keeping this blog the way i do, i am not being too much of a hypocrite and falling completely into the very traps i was so critical of above...

And that, people, is my justification for why my blog is what it is, and why it's not what it isn't. ^_^

4 comments:

quebeck said...

I think you're right, ppl write those kind of blogs (or just letter writing) because they don't have to deal with other ppl face to face.

But I think it's good, because it let's them communicate to others what they might not have been able to do in person (which I actually see it the other way from you, that people should be more open in their thoughts). For instance this post, I didn't know you felt that way about the whole blogging thing, and now I do. Which I think it's a good thing, the image of someone we keep in our head should be as close to reality as possible.

Krispy said...

Yeah, blogs are definitely a good link to people back home. I feel more connected to the people who keep blogs, because I'm still in touch with what's going on in their life, even if I don't actually talk to them personally as much... (especially people who have RSS enabled blogs. how nerdy is that? =P But it's true, just because those pop up naturally on my livejournal page. sometimes I miss peoples xanga blogs and stuff just because it requires extra clicking)

As for the counter-intuitive distancing effect of blogs: it's happened to me more than once that I've been chatting with friends a friend goes like "what? when did you go to blah blah blah?" and i'm like "huh? you didn't know that? i guess you haven't read my livejournal in a while..." rather than an "oh? i didnt tell you about that?" It can have a funny effect on relationships that isn't always obvious...

Ez said...

Its because nobody asks me! *sob*

kAgE said...

asks what? =o
blogs are alright.... but i think i might scrap mine completely soon....