BloggerConII: The Emotional Life of Blogs with John Perry Barlow
This session was unplanned and was a happy addition to the schedule. Bryan Strawser kept a running log of the discussion on his blog: (Part I
, Part II
, Part III
, Part IV
This session covered a lot of really interesting issues about blogging. First, even if you make a conscious attempt to be unbiased and formal, eventually your personality comes through. Especially when your archives are available. Sometimes people feel that they know you because they read your blog, but all they know are some facts about you. There have been a few cases where a blogger has made up an identity (Xander?) and dupped people. Also, think, sometimes before you post or make a comment that could be hurtful because these comments are read by the blog owners.
We discussed the differences between forums (old bbs), listservs, and blogs. The more experienced in the room felt that the vitriolic flame wars that have become common in forums are much less likely on blogs because you are speaking, for the most part, directly to the writer. Also, there's more freedom on blogs to discuss different topics, so this might encourage the quieter/introverted/meek to come forward. As Dan Gould suggested, is the blogosphere a more equitable allocation of interest to ideas?
Many attendees have been surprised about the impact their blogs have had on people. One attendee has started writing poetry on her blog. JPB has had many people tell him that his blog has helped them grieve over a lost friend or loved one. I mentioned that these are perhaps valuable for teens who feel they are outcasts. They can now write an anonymous diary in a friendly media. Maybe it would be less likely for a little brother/sister to read and tell mom if it's kept with a password or is anonymous?
Also, we talked about preservation of blogs. You can get your blog archives printed and bound by at least one vendor, but is that important? Is the experience of keeping a diary or writing your thoughts and through them becoming connected more important? Some blogs cover ephemeral topics, but others are art work.