on Technology

The Impersonalization of Blogs

Have you ever wondered why my blog was not more personal? I came across an article on Digg today about making an impression with your resume. The first point in the article answers that question: "Do I know you? Whether I do or not, I'm going to immediately Google you to see if I should. Oh, you a have a weblog. Excellent."

I believe this is the reason many blogs are not personal. Instead, many of them are a simple narrative of the individuals interests and/or opinions, or a chronological account of places they've visited. And I don't blame them! I mean really, how many of us would want our boss to know everything about our personal lives? Heck, what about our parents, co-workers, or even wives and girlfriends? Everyone keeps something from someone -- things they'd rather just keep to themselves. Even if its just a simple thought, or a series of thoughts, or an opinion that you know would be misunderstood by those around you. So what's the big deal? Just keep it all to yourself, right?

The big deal is that humans need to communicate. They need to vent. They need to talk to others about whats on their minds. Who knows, maybe our brains are wired to share such information -- to help pass on knowledge. When we have something thats bugging us, we want to tell others; we want to hear others' opinions. This is why nearly every blog has a commenting function -- the ability to leave a comment on a specific post.

It was only a few generations ago when a person could move out of state, start a new life, and not worry about bringing their past with them. Sure the past might catch up -- someone might wander through town who happens to know who you are -- but in reality people's lives were very much isolated from those living thousands, or even hundreds, of miles away. The advent of the technology has suddenly brought human lives much closer. Do you want to contact John Doe living 5,000 miles away? No problem, lets just pick up the phone and dial his number. Oh, you need to send a letter to Jane Smith 12,000 miles away? Here's her email address -- she will receive the letter within a few minutes. These were unheard of only a few hundred years ago!

Personal lives are no longer personal. For your life to be personal you have to work at it, you have to constantly think about what information you're making available to others. Oh, you're worried about having your identity stolen? Fine, but that means no credit cards, bank accounts, cell phone, car, house, drivers license, birth certificate -- I could go on!

How can someone be personal on a blog when the information is bound to be made public? That would make the personal information public information -- so whats the point? If you want to create a blog, go ahead. Just don't expect to express yourself, especially your personal self, without letting everyone know about it. My blog is intentionally impersonal. I prefer to keep my personal life just that, personal. There have been plenty of times when I wanted to write what was on my mind -- but then I realized I wouldn't want at least half the people I know to read what I would write.

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  1. I’ve noticed recently that half the people I consider a “friend”, I’ll probably never meet. I’ve met these “friends” online on forums. When talking with a client last night that recently switched to Akmai.net, I was asked how I know this guy. And the looks I got when I said I met you gaming online. The way we make friends have changed. But yet I wouldn’t trade these friendships for anything.

    Use to be the way we made friends were playing with the kids down the road, co-workers, etc… now it even includes the member of forums that share a common interest, but yet one still needs to be aware of the fake posters. Now Temujin, DigitalWizard, Stiiv, OhGod, Rev, Vas, Tribe, Snood, Fled and BlackWidow are some of my closest friends that I have yet to meet face to face, but yet if one would call asking for help, if I could help, I most definately would.

    There’s more to DJT than just the “life of djt……….” stories. And hopefully those that I do consider friends do know this. But yet, if a life of story puts a smile on one of them having a bad day, I smile too and I did my job as a friend. My phone or email is always open if you ever need something… and if I can help, I will.

  2. Awesome addition to the post, DJT! I was going to write something along those same lines, but the post was already getting too long and it was a bit off topic. 🙂

    The majority of my friends are also online and even the friends I know in person I feel I’ve “met” them online — most of what I know about them they’ve told me using AIM. And just as you, I would also help out any of my “online” friends, if I could, the same way I would a friend in person.

    It seems the only element of friendship which has changed is the ability to see and communicate with that person in the flesh. I think anyone who spends a considerable amount of time online will tell you that speaking to the person in the flesh is definitely not a requirement of friendship.