Blogo Ad Absurdum

11 06 2010

I’ve recently reconnected with several friends from many years back.

One had a blog.

Several did not.

I have some of the same concerns about blogs that I do about Facebook.  It worries me that so much information can be so public and available.  Frets of privacy concerns aside, the process of reconnecting with these individuals was really interesting as a result of the blog disparity.

The ones without blogs would give me a rundown of the last few weeks worth of news.

[Long Lost Friend]:  “W____ and I got into a fight over b____. ”

[Me]:  “Who is ‘W____?’  The last time we spoke, there was no ‘W____’ in your life…”

So I am given just enough of a back story that the last few weeks have a context.  It’s a packaged movie version of “where the hell have you been for the last nine years.”  The stories are always very matter-of-fact.  “This happened, then that.”  The words are spoken without emotion, narrated by a dispassionate observer.

The person with the blog also gave me a recap of the last few weeks of life, but punctuated the end of the story with a hyperlink.  I was free to read it all.  Catching up felt strangely complete.  There were no holes, no huge unexplained appearances or disappearances in the cast, no story lines that popped out of the ether or disappeared into oblivion.  This was the hard-bound, first edition of “where the hell have you been for the last nine years.”  The emotions in the posts were raw and unprocessed, and I could read and watch it all unfold as a voyeur – almost as a companion.

I felt pain reading parts of it and relief or even happiness with other parts.  The blog seems more real than the recaps because the emotion still rings through the words.  It felt like the more social experience even though I read it alone in a darkened basement near midnight.

I can’t quite reconcile this with my general feelings for online social media.

How can it be that a simulated personal interaction is more fulfilling than an actual one?

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3 responses

12 06 2010
Mary

Simulated social interacting isn’t more satisfying than actual social interaction. Web logs, facebook and the like are poor substitutes for real human connection. I wonder what anthropologists will say about all this 100 years from now?

13 06 2010
barelyliterate

I’m not sure that I’m actually making that sort of comparison. These conversations have been mostly over eMail and Instant Messenger. So… live current event feeds vs. events recorded when they happened.

21 06 2010
Mary

Sorry to make a pest of myself. Bug spray will probably work.

Anyway, I think you answered your own question here. Might it be the delivery (emotion v. matter of fact recounting of recent events) rather than the medium (current event feeds v. events recorded when they happened)?

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