March 6, 2004 in Blogs

Are Blogs Ruining Your Online/Offline Friendships?

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Shortly after I started blogging, I noticed that I was talking less and less to my best guy friend. Granted he began dating someone, but it was not like him to not check in with me on a weekly basis. He later explained that he was keeping up with my life by reading my blog. I felt sort of cheated as while he had a blog, he wasn’t keeping it updated. So I didn’t really know what was going on with him. Heck, I read about his girlfriend moving into his place on her blog. So I felt like he was neglecting our friendship. We have since patched things up, and once again talk on a regular basis which is a really good thing. I bring all of this up as I just read Blogging Off, an essay by Whitney Pastorek. Basic premise is that blogging can be dangerous to old friendships as well as new friendships that are formed through blogging. Thinking I agree with her point. Below is an excerpt.

The Essay
by Whitney Pastorek
Blogging Off
Your blog’s great—nice dirt on Graydon Carter!—but can it buy me a beer?
March 1st, 2004 5:00 PM
2. No one tells me anything anymore.
There was a time when my friends and I got together to chat about our lives, a time when any problem could be resolved in the warm light of our camaraderie and beer. And then my friends became bloggers. These days, I do not even hear about the stupid stuff that’s going on—”I got a haircut” or “My apartment burned down”—because the bloggers assume that I have read about it on their blog. Which I have not. And then I wonder why they are not answering their home phone, and immediately assume we are in a fight.
2a. No one has fights anymore.
If there actually has been a falling-out, an incident, I rarely find out what I did or get a chance to fix things. I just wake up in the morning to find that they are no longer linking to, say, my barely solvent literary magazine. And then my world allegedly crumbles.
3. No one invites me to anything anymore.
So say now that I am sitting at the literary event, wondering where everyone is and why everyone always has better things to do. In that other time, the innocent one, I might have thought myself paranoid, but now, in fact, everyone is doing something better. This is because the bloggers are starting to have parties to which they only invite other bloggers.
Secretly, and for research purposes only, I have been to one of these parties. The party I attended was quite progressive, as there were four or five of the blog-free in attendance (all of whom admitted to being on Friendster, however, which is basically just a gateway drug). Yet despite this initial multiculturalism, the room immediately broke down according to Blogospheric lines, conversation centered around issues of blogs and blogging, and about a half-hour in, the bloggers stood up en masse and left. Those who remained—non-bloggers with the exception of the party’s gracious host—were left to quietly wonder what they’d done wrong, and worry.
The original goal of these parties was to meet each other face to face (in order to convince any skeptical friends that they know everyone they’ve linked to in person and it isn’t as freaky as it all seems), but as the blogging has become epidemic, there are fewer people to convince and more people to meet and, consequently, link to. Bloggers collect links the way I used to collect scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers: Whoever gets the most/best wins.

Boy have I experienced all of the above. In addition to the situation with my best guy friend, I had a falling out with a blogger last year. He started reading my blog, left numerous comments which lead to us talking offline. Then he stopped talking to me. We hadn’t had a fight or an argument. I only realized we were on the outs when I noticed that he delinked me. That was his way of ending the friendship. He never explained himself and my email asking “what’s up” went unanswered. I’m still curious about why the budding “friendship” ended, but I’m not loosing any sleep over it. I have also noticed that blogging has become sort of clickish. I am so trying to avoid all of that. I want to be my own person, so not going to do or say anything that makes me uncomfortable just because I want to get more readers. So it warms my heart every time I see that someone new has linked to me. Or better yet, meeting a fellow blogger in person who says nice things about me.
Link for this article uncovered while reading Instapundit.

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