Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I’ve explored in my mind all the reasons I blog. I’ve considered it might be out of boredom, a need for social interaction, to provoke thought, or because of my own vanity. And I thought I had it pretty well nailed down. But then Eleanor posted a note on July 24th about a survey that changed all that. You might want to go to her site and check in out.

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that after reviewing the survey questions, I became aware of a whole new aspect of blogging that formerly eluded me. It was like a sudden blogger conversion. What brought me under conviction were a number of questions that compared real-life friends to blogger friends. And my conversion shone this new light on my blogging relationships.

I concluded that we blog because here are friends willing to listen to us whether we are sensible or not. Sure some may break away from our nonsense after only reading the first two lines, but we don’t see or hear it happen – the shrug, the vulgar expletive of disgust, and the dismissive slam on the mouse button. But in real life, in the physical world, we feel the emotional cut of that dismissive wave of a hand, that sneer, door slam, or that glazed look coming over the eyes of our listeners.

And cyber friends give us the best support whether our complaint is a whim not worth mentioning or an earth-shattering event. They choose words carefully to provide the best comfort. Even on days when they think we are losing it and beyond help, they don’t let on. They pretend we’re still A-okay. So we don’t feel the rejection we sometimes feel in real life when we are so distracted and abstracted that we cannot think clearly. In the real world, on those days, our friends become uncomfortable and quickly rise from their chairs and prepare to leave.

Blogging is so different. It seems like no matter how confused a person is, as a coalition, we assume that the confused one will be okay as long as they don’t shut down their site. As long as they continue to blog. But always, for a time we are more attendant to that individual. We stay near, hovering in the background, until we are sure they are in a state of good recovery.

And cyber friends are loyal. If you are like me, you probably don’t precisely tally up incoming and outgoing links, or even pay a lot of attention to those who drop you because you gave voice to some radical, out-of-the-mainstream ideology. But why would we? An erased link is not an action as harsh as someone abruptly hanging up a phone with a loud willful crash or rotating the receiver inside a metal garbage can.

And if we need advice, our blogger friends all rally. Not with impertinence or impatience. Instead with gentle and caring options. In my own experience, none have ever been overtly rude to me. And if they were, does it matter? It’s not a crashing blow. When we can’t see their real-life polish and sophistication, it’s not even a put down. Many of us simply dismiss it as someone who is ill-mannered, normally discourteous, and probably having a bad day. In real life, if it’s the mayor, or the doctor, or the school principal, it’s hard to dismiss rudeness with that same level of ease.

But the biggest downside of real people in real life is how inadequate they make those feel who are already plagued with insecurities. It is not intentional on their part or on ours. But innate comparisons always bubble to the surface. They look at us, we look at them, and the auditing starts. Totaling up an endless list of comparisons. Comparisons in grooming, posture, walk, talk, teeth, weight, and stomach protrusion. And comparisons of goals, social positioning, career, education, etc. All things that many of us are more sensitive to than we care to admit. In the blog world, all that kind of baggage becomes misty considerations buried in fogs that make most of them quit invisible. Virtual friends seldom make us feel inadequate even if we’re not intelligent enough to pick up all that they lay down.

And finally, we share with cyber friends things we would never share with real people. That’s why so many bloggers appreciate their anonymity. Our most intimate secrets are safe, even if shared, because our friendships are outside the circle of neighborhood gossips.

So out of all this comparison and analogy, I suddenly realized why I blog so avidly. It’s time well spent with true-blue friends.

Would you agree?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

’ve explored in my mind all the reasons I blog"....
Does loneliness play any part?
I am not being critical,this question is serious and well intentioned.?

4:06 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

I don't think so. If it was, I'd probably run and answer that ringing phone or personal e-mail (I seldom do either). I do think though as I've gotten older I prefer touchy-feely conversations and they fit better on blogs than in real life.

6:01 PM  

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