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.