Thursday, February 08, 2007


So, yes, I have this little weblog thing. I admit it. Surely you’ve heard of them? Not really? Well, it’s just a website where I post pictures of my chickens, cats, solar panels and the like. I can do a little writing on whatever topics I want; it’s completely free self publishing, you know?

What? Oh, does anyone ever look at it?

I think so, probably. I have this little Statcounter thing on it, so I can see that some people do actually look at it. Sometimes people even comment; that’s kind of exciting.

What?! Don’t look at me that way! It’s not that weird! I don’t even check the stats THAT often, ahem. But really, there are whole little worlds out there, other people posting pictures of THEIR chickens or cats, sharing stories and tips about life. It can lead to connections. Seriously.

Oh, yes, I know it’s hard to find time to do such things...Yes, I agree that time is short. No, I’m not THAT bored at work. There are other people who do this, too, I swear! I’m not that odd. Would you like the address? No? Oh, okay. Never mind...

Sometimes I do wonder about this blogging thing. I get a reaction much like that in most of my “real world” interactions where I mention (admit to) the blog. Many people don't even know about it. I do feel like there’s a real “world” out there (inside the computer, though, hmmm) that is worthwhile, but I wonder sometimes if it is a productive enough use of time in this busy life. I haven't mastered the art of connecting via blogs, really. This post by Schmutzie got me thinking (less dismissive than she)... But then this post by Kerstin inspired. It’s a world out there, I tell you, but is it REAL?


loribird said...

Yes, yes, it's real. The "blog world" is real, whether it has a physical address or not, and we (the readers) are real. While I think the speculations about the healthiness (or rather, un-healthiness) of becoming involved in "blog life" are well researched and possibly well founded, I have my own opinion.
I've noticed that a lot of bloggers (the ones I read anyway) tend to be bookwormish, crafty, and probably pretty quiet in their "real" lives. I tend to be that way myself. I find it difficult to meet people who are as obsessed (let's just put it out there, shall we?) with knitting and spinning as I am. Likewise, when I mention my dream of living more sustainably on a large plot of rural land, most of my "real-life" acquaintences look at me like I'm nutso.
Through blogs, I can read the thoughts of likeminded people - much like reading a book from the library. The difference though, is that I can also interact with these people if I choose, and they with me. I can see photos of their lives and families and homes; I can engage in conversation, ask questions, and generally be more outgoing that I might be in person without the blog-introduction, because I feel a connection to the authors.
Is it unhealthy to read a book? To become wrapped up in the life of a historical or fictional character? I think not. And I hardly think reading the real-time journals of people living in my own age is harmful in any way. As a species we tend to be so disassociated from each other, I believe any positive connection with other people can be nothing but a good thing. (Sorry for the extra-long comment; guess I feel pretty strongly, and you got me thinking!)

pablo said...

I have really felt a strong sense of community from the blogs I read and comment on. It's part of the real world. Blogging is a way of making a connection to part of the real world. As for the time required, I don't consider it expensive. But I enjoy writing, and blogging keeps me in practice.

gtr said...

Indeed, loribird! I agree, that it can be a place to connect with like-minded people, if one reaches out. I'm not all that good at that (true introvert status coming through?).

I think perhaps it can be very useful to people who are staying home with kids, etc; not out in the world quite as much. I feel guilty for getting distracted by this fun blog world while I'm supposed to be doing "work work", sometimes...

And yes, pablo, it IS supposed to be a place to practice writing; good to remember that!

I just sometimes feel I can spend too much time on this world in the computer, and neglect some friends/family right here in front of me. Just reading other blogs and not commenting much makes me feel like these people are my "imaginary" friends; ie I wonder how they are doing, looking forward to the next post, but they don't even know I exist if I don't comment more. Just ruminating....It's good to have more 2 way conversations!!

On that note, is there a way to ensure more people use their emails while commenting? It feels odd sometimes to only be able to respond in a public way. Maybe I'm still shy about talking to others in public, but not one-on-one?

Tracy said...

I'll admit it - I'm one of those introverts who doesn't come out of the shadows very often. I have you on my RSS reader, but I can't remember if I've every commented on your blog. Obviously, if I have, it certainly wasn't very often.

I'm like loribird - I don't often mention my obsession with vegetable gardening or talk about my secret dream of moving up to the Boundary Waters or down to the Red Wing area to live in a cabin (I'm from the Twin Cities). I've found enough people online to know that I'm not the only one who enjoys the things I do.

I also think you can develop relationships with people online. They are not the same as "real life" relationships, but they're not necessarily worse - just different.

Anyway, I'm coming out of hiding to let you know that I do read your blog - I like to know what's going on with a Duluthian who's trying to live sustainably.

e4 said...

I sometimes wonder if I've learned more in a year of reading and writing blogs as I did in four years of high school. And it's led me to places I'd never have known otherwise. I've even swapped books, kids clothing, seeds and plant cuttings with people I met via blogs.

I don't comment that much myself, but I do find the more I comment, the more comments I get back...

gtr said...

More thoughts:

Yes, loribird, I've thought lately about the books. My book group is appalled that I don't have more recent suggestions or reports of books I've read. I sheepishly say I've been reading blogs! It somehow seems less scholarly, but you're right: much more real. I have compared blogs to magazine articles: I enjoy reading them, even if they are somewhat fleeting or less permanent that books. But blogs are much more immediate, and you CAN connect up with the people if you reach out.

And yes, e4, I know I should comment on other's blogs more, but I'm already skating on the edge of too much time on the computer (or too many sneaky moments at work) and it's hard to fit it all in. But comments are the connecting piece, indeed.

And Tracy: welcome! Glad to know you are out there. I guess I am very lucky in that many of my friends/aquaintences up here don't think we're that wierd for living this way; they mostly think I'm wierd for having or reading blogs!

clairesgarden said...

I used to comment a lot, on lots of blogs. recently I tend just to lurk, on a few favourite ones, your one of them! but I dont always comment.
I hope your earlobes mend soon!!

aleximac said...

I agree - we are all definitely here.. just pinched myself to make sure, and yep it hurt. But really (ha!), is there truly an objective reality? we can gaze at our navels til the cows come home pondering that one, but I would say yes, there appears to be a reality we hold in common, nicely spiced with our subjective impressions. I think blogs provide a true means of connection with other human beings. And we get to bypass all the space/time continuum issues.

I think blogs are an excellent outlet for expression, even if we're missing physical presence.. some of us are better on 'paper' than talking face to face. For instance, I have a bad tendency to interrupt or get distracted by other things happening in the vicinity (ADD, anyone?) Blogs let me focus in and pay attention to the writer's complete thought.

I think they're a wonderful development.. kind of along the lines of the zine (free of publisher, editor, censor, etc.) Viva democracy!

PS - Hi Gina! See, I'm commenting!

gtr said...

Hey, Aleximac! Someone from "terrestrial" life! Welcome and thanks for your comments. I agree that sometimes it's easier to be focused (or witty, or whatever) on paper/computer. I apparently used to write very entertaining emails from my Nebraska exile, and then disappointed some with my real life wit when I moved back here- ha!

And welcome again to you, too, Clairsgarden (or better to use just Clair?) So nice to have an international audience; thanks for being a regular. Speaking of regulars, do you know what happened to Wildsidemusing? She never had an email, and I fear I might have missed a farewell message since I'm bad about RSS still; don't always check everyone regularly. ???