08/16/2005: "Personal blogs change the way we communicate"
Another way of looking at it is this…we used to write (or at least some of us did) real letter. Pen on ink, sent to one person, and the content was personalized just for them. I think we all tend to reveal different aspects of ourselves to different people. There is the person you can be goofy with, the person who brings out the intellectual in you, the person you can be angry with, etc. And then there are the people who know you better than anyone, that you can be really boring and complainy to, because they know you aren’t *always* like that and because they’ve seen you at your worst and still love you.
So, we’d write a different letter to say, our grandma (though my grandma is really cool so this is just a generalization) than we would to our drinking buddy. We might even tell each of them about the same event but we’d choose to reveal different tid bits in each.
Then email came along and now we can copy and paste one email message to multiple friends, though we might change "Hi Jake" to "Hi Sammy" and personalize some of the content. Take out the rant about Bush in the email to Jake who voted for him, etc. email saves time so you don’t have to write the same laundry list of what’s been going on over and over again and yet you can still personalize them enough that they aren’t perceived as an impersonal mass mailing (though even with mass mailing you edit to extent based on who you include in the list)
And now with blogs, there is just one version of events getting written. If you put something down Bush lovin Jake will be as likely to read it as your grandma as your best friend. And it’s not just me obviously, most of my friends are getting blogs and it’s the main way we keep up with each other’s lives. You only have to tell the story once. But the personalization has gone out of it, and some would say that forces us to reveal the unedited version to everyone, or else it means we’re self-censoring too much because any of the various people in our lives (including our bosses) could potentially be reading this, some of us may feel tempted to clean things up and only show the most watered down version of things…or as I was trying to articulate yesterday, only the highlights.
And an entirely new problem arises if you choose to write things like...that you had a party over the weekend. Unless you invited every single person you know...chances are someone will read it and think "hey, why wasn't I invited?"...but even with all the negatives, I still adore writing in here, and reading other people's blogs, and only write all of this as sort of an apology to anyone who maybe read one insightful post and thought I was this cool person, and then later realized I'm not all that.