Saturday, June 23, 2007

Something to Think About

A blogger who goes by the pseudonym Mrs. Chicken has written an excellent, thought-provoking piece here. It has to do with her choice of anonymity as a blog writer and touches on many thoughts I've had in the past year about the blogging phenomenon...without a doubt, reading strangers' blogs and commenting on them creates a certain online community in our society of isolation, but I think a lot about the incomplete picture it gives us. I feel firmly grounded in other, real-life communities, and am therefore comfortable with this, but if that were not the case, I know I'd be left feeling very dissatisfied.

I know that I, for one, am limited in what I share here because I did not start out anonymously and over time have readers among my personal friends, family, and even clients and colleagues. This is fine with me, I have invited my readers, but it's true that it shapes what I say. And yet, even the anonymous Mrs. Chicken, who shares some pretty intense and personal highs and lows, feels that we don't know her, and that many of us wouldn't like her if we were to meet her in person. (Which I seriously doubt, but that's not the point...)

What does the surge in use of this technology - especially among parents - say about our culture? What do you think our society will be saying about this blogging phenomenon in 10 years? 20 years?

3 comments:

Mrs. Chicken said...

I just think you can't know someone, really, really know them, unless there is a face-to-face interaction.

My "voice" is pretty honest. I don't pull a lot of punches. But in real life, I am very shy with new people.

Being anonymous gives me freedom; I can be who I really want to be. I don't have to worry that you'll judge me (not that I think you would, Jordan) based on my appearance or economic status or any other "real life" factor.

That sounds kooky, I'm sure. But I've had a very hard time with that over the years. High school and college were very hard for me.

Gah, you must think I look like a troll! It isn't that. It is so hard to articulate - I guess it is so much easier to hurt someone in person.

Jordan said...

Not kooky at all. I think it's a valid point. It's easy to feel like people who read each other's thoughts and feelings "know" each other but I definitely feel you can't until you are face to face. I think it's very important to both understand what we can get from such interaction and be aware of what we cannot.

Shan said...

Ugh--I actually hate to think about this topic too much, because it makes me a little nervous! I think if I were actively working (as a psychologist) with a large client base I would feel more uncomfortable not being anonymous on my blog. Obviously, I have past clients, and someone could possibly find me, but since my on-hold career feels so far away from my current life, I haven't worried about it too much yet. And it's not that I write anything so scandalous on my blog; but I certainly have a different "persona" as a mental health professional than I do as a mom. It's still me, just a different part of me.

I agree with Jordan that because I have many "real-life" friends and a large social network, the partial-anonymity of blogging life does not bother me at all. I very much enjoy the way this "social media," as I've heard it called, lessens my daily at-home isolation anyway, and how it links me to other moms (especially) and their thinking and writing.

I could go on, but my little one is calling me. I'll have to read Mrs. Chicken's post about this later on!