Wednesday, April 16, 2008

musings on the blogosphere

over the past few months, i've been hanging out (a lot) in front of the internet. i found out that it was HUGE. i found out that you can find tons of cool stuff out there. that there are people who have a lot to say. i've read a lot of what they have to say and now i've become a bit more selective than i was in those heady early days back in january.

i had actually created this blog back in 2004, but hadn't done anything with it in more than 3 years, so part of what i did was come back to it. i can actually see, reflected in my own writing here since the beginning of 2008, the effect of those other blogs i was reading. i tried on some of their voices on my way to finding my own. and i did it all for myself, not ever expecting anyone else to find their way to it and read it. now a few people have and i find that i like it! it's fun and it pushes my thinking and improves what i'm reading out there myself. and that is very cool.

which leads me to musings on what it means to get to know someone. to become friends. can you do that by just writing and reading? or do you need to meet face-to-face? i thought about the authors i love. even when it's fiction, i think that often there is a lot of the author there in the writing . i feel, in some sense, like i know barbara kingsolver or siri hustvedt (my recent complaints about being a bit tired of her notwithstanding--i do still like her stuff very much). if i met either of them, i feel we'd have no trouble having a conversation. i have a sense of the manic personality that was dostoevsky and would have loved to hang out with him and partake of the madness. just as i would have loved to have known in real life (not just through books)--dorothy parker, alexander blok, anna akhmatova, constantine cavafy, franz kafka, anton chekhov (i could go on and on). i've been lucky enough to correspond with some of the authors i love who happen to still be alive--dubravka ugresic and andrei bitov--and although we've not met, we had plenty to talk about because in a sense i knew them through their work.

is it the same with blogs? to me it seems that it's perhaps even more so, because often people are so personal in their blogs. you can get a sense of them through the stories they choose to tell. that will either speak to you or it won't. i've found that now, after 3 months of intensively reading a huge array of blogs, i've gotten a better sense of what speaks to me in this new medium. at first, i was dazzled by all of it. now, i have narrowed my focus, gotten more selective. i read blogs of people who i'd like to know in "real" life, not just in the blogosphere--people who challenge my thinking, people who make me feel like being a better person, people who make me want to feel generous of spirit, people who i'd like to have over to dinner.

the blogosphere has been a place of healing for me over the past few months, as i recovered from my previous job. it is indeed a wonderous and interesting place. i feel as if i've found some friends here. maybe this is human evolution in action and i'm not only witnessing, but partaking of a cultural, social, evolutionary shift in the way humans interact and find their way to one another.

1 comment:

TheElementary said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your last lines:
"maybe this is human evolution in action and i'm not only witnessing, but partaking of a cultural, social, evolutionary shift in the way humans interact and find their way to one another."
Things are constantly changing and we don't realise it, I think, until it becomes part of mainstream life. The blogging thing just crept up on a lot of people and suddenly it's part of our culture now. We can choose to learn from it and learn about it so that we can grasp it better. Narrowing the focus is important though, because it could otherwise be overwhelming.

"can you do that by just writing and reading? or do you need to meet face-to-face?"- over time you do get a picture of somebody, and you pick up on pieces of information and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle, and it gives an idea of the person. On the opposite side of the coin, you can be face to face with somebody every day, and not know them so well. It depends whether they're better at talking or writing, and what sort of writing it is, and what they choose to divulge. People can be a closed book in person or in writing, and I think equally a friendship is viable in either situation.

I think the questions and answers for this subject are absolutely endless and I'd like to read more of your thoughts about it. Very thought provoking.