27 January, 2007

A bit of introspection

I've been thinking today, about the effect of reading someone's blog regularly. When you read a prolific poster you tend to find out quite a bit about them. Their likes, dislikes, how they feel about people, how certain events affect them.

You really start to think you know them.

And you start to care.

The past few days a blog friend (Carmelo) has been through some... well interesting times, to put it mildly. Now, he assures me that he's fine with it and even had a bit of a laugh, but I'm rather angry about the way he's been treated. There's been a few times where I've wanted to wade in and make some not so nice comments. I was going to say there were times I was biting my tongue but given the medium, I'll have to settle for 'put my hands behind my back'. It's his life and his 'fight' to deal with.

The whole thing is just messy and spilled over to another blog I read - Nicenurse. Another person who did not deserve the attacks he received.

In the end it looks as if Carmelo will no longer be blogging. I really hope it's not forever, as I quite enjoyed hearing about his experiences in learning to be an EMT/Paramedic.

Then there's the worry about another blogfriend fairsCaPe. She's currently undergoing chemotherapy to battle cancer. When you don't see a new post in a while, you start to be a bit concerned. Hoping the treatment isn't taking too much out of her. You'd like to see a new post but, at the same time, you feel selfish for wanting it when she may be tired or not feeling well enough.

It's funny how you feel you know someone through what they write. Is it the full story - heh, not by a long shot, says the logical part of me. I guess there's a bit of 'presumption of intimacy' when you regularly read someone's blog. It sort of feels like riding the same train, morning and night, and always sitting near the same group of people chatting about themselves. You overhear all about their lives, their hopes, their dreams and feel you know them, but you're not really a part of it all. It's a bit voyeuristic, isn't it?

As for the full story about me? Well, I will admit that I censor myself sometimes. Thoroughly sure anyone reading doesn't want to hear me moan on about stuff, or being boring and just prattling on about nothing. Though for some reason, I'm fascinated by the daily minutiae of other people's lives.

Ah well, I never claimed to be logical about it.


ken said...

Oh I wouldn't worry, some people are probably more honest than you might think..

Everyone has to bite their tounge sometimes (or in your case, sit on your hands), but occasionally doing just that allows you to gain a new perspective on things, and not to create further adversity by responding in a reflex manner.

Zazzy said...

I've mused about this before and there are several levels of "feeling like you know someone through their blog" - at least for me.

I read the blogs of a few people that are actually friends on some level - although I don't know any of them in real life. Still, we connect and communicate off the blog as well. We have things in common and exchange holiday cards and may call each other, and other things like that.

Then there are people I know only through blogs, but it's a mutual blogging relationship. I think you can get to know people fairly well through blogs and become a kind of friend even if that is all the relationship you ever have. I care about those people and wonder what's happening when they don't write anything for a while.

Then there are blogs I read on a one-sided basis. I started reading your friend fairsCaPe's blog a while ago but I don't comment. I don't feel like I know her well enough to comment, I'm just a reader. I've come to care about her and her family but in a more distant way, I guess. It does feel voyeuristic at times with those blogs. I think you begin to think of those people as someone you know, but since information only goes one way - you don't really have any relationship.

Then, last in my personal list of blogging relationships, are the popular blogs. People who set out to write to an audience and write highly entertaining or compelling or informative blogs. When you read them a long time, you feel like you know them. Like dooce. I even occasionally comment though she doesn't know me from Adam's cat. Those blogs feel less voyeuristic to me since they are made to be consumed by many. Still, I at least have a false sense of knowing the blogger more personally than I actually do.

There is a lot more two way communication on the forums than there is in blogging. Forum friends generally feel more like someone I know personally - though actually, I think I know less about the individual than I do in the blogosphere.

And sorry, this is becoming a post in itself. The last thing I wanted to comment on is our perception of our own blogs. I know there are people who read my blog regularly but don't comment. I honestly can't imagine why anyone (other than my dear W) would be interested in my babbling. Yet I care that people read. That's always been the strangest balance to me - am I writing for myself (which was my original intent) or am I writing in hopes that people read?

Steve said...

I think part of the intimacy of blogging comes from the fact that people do leave comments. It makes you feel like you're not wasting your time.

I'm not sure if my blog would still be going if it wasn't for people like Caramaena that regularly leave comments.

Steve said...

Just to add to what myself and others have said about this topic. I always find it interesting when Statcounter shows that someone has visited my blog as a result of a e-mail being sent to them.

It's one thing someone finding you through Google, but when someone recommends you to a friend, it's gives you a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling.

The Phosgene Kid said...

I do hope FS is ok. My sister-in-law went through chemo so I know it takes a lot out of a person. Just the fact FS is going through the chemo a second time is a testament to her strength. I miss her a lot, but am hopefull she'll pop up with a new post any time...

Charm School Reject said...

I went to Carmelo's site (I'm a random lurker there) and I don't really see what upset people so much and I don't get what a "uni-bod" is. Regardless, despite the fact that I like that people read what I rave/rant about, if they don't like what I have to say, don't read it. There's no need to get all nasty about it. Geez. I don't understand people.

And I know what you mean about "knowing" someone through their blog....and others that you read you're like "Yeah. Right. That's sooo not true." I don't comment on Fairscape's blog because I don't really know what to say but I do, in my lurky-sideline self, yell at and curse her various bodyparts. I started worrying about her the first time I read her blog and noticed she hadn't posted anything for a few days.

I enjoy getting to know my "Blog Buddies" and having people I can "talk" to that don't have preconceived notions of who I am and what I'm all about.

caramaena said...

ken - sit on my hands! That was the expression I was looking for :)

I can understand what you're saying - sometimes it's not easy though.

zazzy - very thought provoking. I couldn't honestly tell you if I was writing to be read or writing for myself now.

steve - aww you'll make me blush :)

I don't always comment on the blogs I read but I do try to read regularly. Sometimes I just don't have anything to say (other than a silly LOL). And how cool that someone's recommended you in an email! I've had some hits from odd search terms but none from an email yet.

pk - I hope she's ok too. I miss her too.

charm school - unibod seems to be the term used for the new wave of paramedics etc. So far as I know they used to get where they are by experience etc but now to get there you have to go through university (that's the uni part, I presume the bod is short for body). Someone more familiar may wish to correct me here.

I'm with you about not reading if you don't like it. There are plenty of blogs I bookmarked because a post or two looked interesting but then, after reading for a while, I decided I didn't really agree with what they said and didn't like the way they said it. So I un-bookmarked (is that even a word?) them. Just because I don't like their blog or their opinions doesn't give me the right to launch personal attacks.

Winter said...

I love reading about other people's everyday life. I have no idea why.

But you do end up caring, it's sort of strange.