Friday, May 21, 2010

Who ARE you?

I've noticed something recently in my blog reading that is both puzzling and depressing. You know how it is when you have read someone's blog for a while. You may not actually know them, not in a flesh and blood way, but you think you have a pretty good idea about their personality, how they think and what they value. Then, they post something that has you going "Wha?" closely followed by "Who are you and what have you done with my blog-friend?"

Sometimes it's politics that rears its ugly head. Sometimes it's something else in the real world, like a squabble between members of a quilt guild or family, or current events. But when it happens, stuff comes out of their keyboard that has you scratching your head and wondering if you really knew them at all. There's something about the anonymity of blogs and other electronic text communication media that lowers the barriers in your brain if you're not careful. Witness the current news about cyber-bullying and its destructive results. It's likely that even the most hardened hearts would have a difficult time saying things to your face that they so blithely type. And without the context of facial expression and tone of voice, many statements that might be merely cross can become truly damaging.

When a blogger lets fly out of the blue with what you consider to be a cruel, intolerant or destructive remark, you can't help but wonder if all that you read in the past was a carefully constructed "front" and this is the real person. One that you don't like so much. Blogging can be like dating - at first, you dress up nice and use your "party manners". After a while, you get comfortable in the situation and maybe start to slip a little, and expose some of the warts and flaws you have been carefully concealing. Over the past three years, I have run into some bloggers who appeared to be like that. If I had read their blog now for the first time, maybe I wouldn't go back. But since you feel like you have a "history" with them, you keep visiting in hopes to prove yourself wrong. And mostly it happens. The posts that confused you so were an aberration, a bad day, a slip of the temper.

But sometimes they're not. And you have to sadly bid that blogger's writings goodbye because life is too short to wallow in bitterness and strife. I try to tread the line between expressing my opinion and disparaging others who feel differently. Dear Readers, if you feel that I have slipped into negativity in my writing - call me out on it.

P.S. - I bet a lot of you regular readers are worried that I'm writing about you. It's OK, calm down - I'm not! In the main, through blogging I have found some of the most thoughtful, generous and charming people I could ever hope to meet, and I value our communication.

8 comments:

Deanna said...

There are blogs I stopped reading just because they are negative. I primarily read blogs for quilting/sewing ideas, not for details about family fights. Yes, we are all real people with real lives, but...

Linda said...

Hmm, at first, I was thinking is she talking about me and then I came to the last paragraph...I know we all have our bad days and good days. We all have our opinions, hopes, dreams, etc. I have read other blogs that just by reading one blog I stayed away from them and later went back and read more. Alot of times, the mood I'm in shapes how I read things. Does that make sense? Like you said, we don't know each other face to face and it's hard to tell if someone is mad, sad, glad, or whatever. I try to share some of my feelings but not all. I find that I'm reserved on my blogsite but I do show glimpses of my feelings at times. I take everyone with a grain of salt and try to see the good in everyone. Sometimes it's harder to find. You are not one of those people. Cheer up, my friend and keep on blogging....hugs, Linda

The Calico Cat said...

"Blogging can be like dating - at first, you dress up nice and use your "party manners". After a while, you get comfortable in the situation and maybe start to slip a little, and expose some of the warts and flaws you have been carefully concealing. Over the past three years, I have run into some bloggers who appeared to be like that. If I had read their blog now for the first time, maybe I wouldn't go back. But since you feel like you have a "history" with them, you keep visiting in hopes to prove yourself wrong. And mostly it happens. The posts that confused you so were an aberration, a bad day, a slip of the temper."

This sounds so familiar... (& more)
So much so that I have started to cull my bloglines. For more than one reason, I am down to 126 blogs from a high of about 400... (BTW 400 was too many & several were "inactive." I am getting to a manageable number.) Some had me seriously wondering why I was following them - turns out that maybe I followed just to see if I "won" something, etc.

(I could go on - but I want to thank you for bringing it up - also feel free to call me on it too.)

Mama Koch said...

I agree. Sometimes I'm good at blogging, and then other times there are weeks inbetween posts. I also try not to read too much into some people's writings. I'm getting good at skimming and hitting delete.

catsinger said...

...I consider my blog as therapy...an on-line journal with the side benefit of having met some nice & interesting people...
since I don't have the internet at home anymore, there are some times that I don't make it online for days... & sometimes it seems that I have a lot to say...
I've also had the experience of misreading someone's post & ending up with my foot firmly between my tonsils...
I guess it is, what it is... & we just have to accept that sometimes,
things just don't work out as we had hoped... here's to more of the better days...

The Calico Quilter said...

Catsinger, I always enjoy my visits to your blog. You write such interesting prose. My heart aches sometimes when you write about your recent problems.

catsinger said...

...Calico... I always look forward to your comments on my posts & to visiting here...
I will never be a seamstress or quilter, but I always enjoy your approach to life's little ups & downs... :D

Tanya said...

Your PS caught me. Yep. I was wondering what I've been blogging about lately and if I offend people without really knowing it. Or if my observations are way off the wall... Thought provoking post.