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What the First Blogger Wants You To Know (addendum) – Response #1

February 9, 2010

In doing this assignment, and questioning my on-line presence, I can’t help but wonder, how much does a life on-screen take away from a life in reality?


How much does the time spent blogging about that last big adventure or conversation or development cut into the generation of the next one?

With the explosion of blogs out there and many more appearing each day, I think it is time to take a lesson from our elders, to learn from one of the real Fist Bloggers:

“And what I discovered is, it’s very hard to maintain relationships and write in public. I decided in the end that I would rather have relationships” (42).

“What if intimacy happens in quiet moments?” he said. “I think the Web makes me not alone and I feed it my intimacies, and the Web is my constant connection to something larger than myself … but what if something you do, something you practice like religion as a dialogue with the divine, drives people away from you?”

Justin Hall was one of the most committed advocates for the bonding powers of interactive, Web-based writings. But  his expression of doubt over the Internet’s ability to foster intimacy marks a huge change in attitude from the one expressed in work over the past decade.

Even blog guru Rebecca Blood admits, “One of the things that the Web is good at is connecting people who are isolated. I do think that being online can help inoculate against extreme loneliness, but not as good as being with people…When you throw yourself into something, it can be difficult to maintain relationships.”

Justin Hall’s sagacious sentiments, relayed as his long time website went dark for the first time, remind us that to have a real fulfilled life off-line, sometimes you’ve got to give up the blog.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Liz permalink
    February 12, 2010 7:14 pm

    Just a thought from a total stranger that happened to be stumbling by, the best personal blogs in my opinion are about self-reflection.

    You hear of too much of that, say from people who have been in therapy for a long time, but not often do people spend so much time reflecting that they forget to go out and live their lives.

    I think the internet appeals to the parts of us that want to be movie stars and rock gods, and maybe the trick is to clearly identify what the goal of blogging is before deciding to turn it on or off.

    By the way, “elders” is fascinating word choice. Did you happen to catch the article about a week ago about how teens can’t stand to read blogs and are mostly interacting with each other via Twitter now?

    • February 16, 2010 4:36 pm

      Liz, thanks for your comment 🙂
      That is fascinating about the teens and Twitter but not surprising – it’s like attention spans are getting shorter (and shorter). I had to go to the mall this past weekend to return some things I had ordered on line, and I had not been in big mall in a long time – and this was a big mall, Tyson’s Corner in Maryland. The amount of sensory overload going on was incredible – multiple TVs, music, signs all going at once. I think kids growing up today who are immersed in that all the time must have a very different sensibility to cope with all of that media saturation. Perhaps distillation and simplification into things like Twitter is a relief for them!

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