Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Thing with Blogs


Completely unrelated to Turkey. I've been reading various blogs & their assorted comments, and it got me thinking.

You might be reading and/or writing a blog.
Ever considered how your perception, indeed your very “absorption” of the content, changes depending on whether you know the writer(s) or not?

Although knowing the blogger may be a fantasy or pipe dream.

Browsing around, I’ve noticed that some regular, often Anonymous, blog readers (who follow posts as if they were episodes of their favorite soap or series) gradually acquire the impression that that they do actually know the blogger(s) or even that they have become somewhat akin, like friends or accomplices.

What could be more natural? After all, as a reader, in most cases, you not only know what your favorite blogger’s zodiac sign is, what country they are located in, but also, where they travel, what food they like to eat, what they read, what is on their minds, what political/ethical ideas they adhere to, about their family situation, etc.

Just like when you’re captivated by a can’t-put-it-down-book, you’ll feel for (at least some of) the characters, applaud their successes, be infuriated by their enemies or frustrated by their misgivings… it’s all part of a magnificent human quality: EMPATHY
(em-pa-thy: Direct identification with, understanding of, and vicarious experience of another person's situation, feelings, and motives. -source :

There are countless types of blogs with a range of purposes. One thing is consistent; there is a real-live person on the other end of each and every one of them. And that person might not know you. That person might not even know you exist, let alone know that you are following their posts and “empathizing” with them.

A systematic blog follower might get so caught up in their reading that they may begin to have expectations –like in a relationship. For instance, they might feel let down when “their” blogger does not write for a while. Or they could express a defensive reaction when another blogger/reader posts a comment –deemed tarnishing or tasteless- in response to “their” blogger’s latest post.
As if, by their faithful reading, they had somehow earned joint-ownership of the blog. All the while hiding behind “Anonymous” on a blog that isn’t theirs.

I read somewhere that entering a person’s blog is like entering their home – ok, so it may be an open barn – but it’s not a forum or chat. I’m all for comments/feed-back/debate, but at least have the balls to put your name down.

I guess, it’s all part of the package. You go public; grow a tough skin. Take the glory and the blows, the passion and the humour, the hurt and the enthusiasm, the aggression and the eagerness…

Reader or blogger, there’s a life after and beyond blogosphere/cyberspace. And there’s a person at the other end of your keyboard who will read your comments. Words can be weapons in any language. …so how about using your empathy both ways?

I’m not naive, an idealist yes, but naive not- We don’t live in an ideal world… but there is a Golden Rule that transcends most cultures/religions:

Christianity: “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them”
“No one of you is a believer until he loves for his neighbor what he loves for himself”

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. This is the entire Law, all the rest is commentary.”

“Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.”

"This is the sum of duty; do naught unto others what you would not have them do unto you”

….and my favorite:
Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria):
“One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.”

(from “There is no such thing as “Business” Ethics by John C. Maxwell)

On cyber ethics:


Anna said...

Am I imagining this or did you change your name on here?

I like reading your blog, by the way. What a balanced person you are!

Sandra said...

Hi Anna,
Thanks for reading!
Yeah, my real name is Sandra. It just felt weird having people use a name that those close to me use affectionately. So I decided to use ma neutral-everyone-can-real name.

Balanced? r u kidding I'm a Gemini!!!! ;-)
So how's your blog coming along?

smile only said...

On the subject: you can consult that very useful guide published by Reporters Without Borders last years... full of good and trustful information on etic and technic!
You blog is starting slowly to take shape... that's pretty good and I will enjoy reading it in one month when your line will be more define; although I already enjoy it!
Keep the good work alive!

Adam said...

Sandra: I really enjoyed reading this blog. Very interesting. I would quite like to link my blog to this piece u wrote. Not sure how I do it! But it can be done, And good to have other people contributing too.

Would this be ok with u and do u mind letting me know by email?

Take care.

Brooke said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brooke said...

(sorry, removed the one above cause of a spelling error - what I meant to say was..)

here, here sista!! Well said!!

Leo of the jungle said...

Hey S,
I really should be working but I've sort of been drawn in by your bloggin. I like it! I could seriously spend all day checking out blogs (started reading Adam-in-Thailand's too) as I never really got into the trend before, and now you've made me curious. And almost a bit jealous (OK I only skimmed through the one where you seem to be ranting about some electricity bill so I'm sure it's not all rosy all the time). But still, travelling and meeting new, different and odd people is so inspiring! I also suspect that when you're away from home and other friends are moving around, as they do, the Net is the only place where you can meet and have a chat with your homies ;) Am now wondering if the only way to finally start some writing of my own is to get my indecisive butt out of Geneva..if not for the other 47 good reasons to do it.

Adam said...

Howdy Leo....yeah move that butt! We both know u can write. Today I had fun and made a movie. Not a porno movie no. Just watch those.

Marko said...

You're absolutely right.
Great post. I like your blog.