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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Blogs across the sea

Who reads comments on Samizdata postings long gone? The writer of the original posting does because Perry sends them to us, so I read this one, from Chloe (of this blog), yesterday, about a posting whose only previous comment had been five days earlier. I had said that blogging is nicer, by its nature, than email chat-rooms. But Chloe said:

I see a difference between chat rooms, e-mail discussion lists, message boards, and blogs. I think it has to do with how easy it is to use the thing, and that reflects the mentality.

However, I believe if you haven’t read a blog you hate, you haven’t read many blogs.

Certainly there are rat-blogs out there. PLENTY of them. So many I hear of a new one every week.

But I guess it just depends on if you agree with it, or disagree with it. Maybe the hateful rat-blog I can’t stand would be the comraderie-laden paradise you love.

It’s all about perspective.

I sit corrected. However, here is further proof of just how subtly nice bloggers can be, when they’re trying to be. The other day, my recently acquired friend Alice Bachini was having, if you’ll pardon the expression, a blue period:

I don’t get lots of readers

Is this bad? If not, why not? Any thoughts? Maybe I should take the site meter off though in case new readers look at it and find out how relatively alone they are and get empty-restaurant syndrome (ie wander off for someone more popular and therefore probably/”probably” better).

Don’t suppose I’ll get lots of comments on that either, it is rather dull as subjects go. But I can do duller.

Mutual friend and Samizdatan David Carr tried to cheer her up with some comments, but Alice wasn’t having it.

But then, and I’m sure not at all coincidentally, we read on 2Blowhards, the following:

Something I’ve come to appreciate over the past few months is blogging as an improvisatory performance art. What generally seems to create the most buzz in the blogozone is political ideas. Steven den Beste and Glenn Reynolds, for instance: brainy guys doing impressively heavyweight things — and I hardly ever look at them. No music or poetry (or something like that). Culturebug that I am, I’m drawn instead to style and personality, and gravitate to the likes of (among others) Colby Cosh, here, who has a heavy-metal guitar-solo way with a posting, and Kelly Jane Torrance, here, a model of class, grace and generosity.

I’m happy to report some tiptop recent blog discoveries, both of which project a ton of likable personality, and both of which have style to kill. They’re distinctive without trying too hard; they just seem to “have it.” (Of course, that “it” may take a lot of effort to achieve.)

Alice Bachini, whose blog, A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside, is readable here, is a Brit with an eccentrically winning manner — lots of playful irony and mock-naivete, delivered with a verbal gift that’s enough to make an American feel cloddish and want to give up. This is blogging as charming chatter — until you realize how much substance, daring, and fresh thinking is also whirling by.

Exactly so: “mock-naivete” and substance – couldn’t have put it better myself. (But as for that “enough to make an American feel cloddish” stuff, Michael, you ain’t foolin’ no-one.)

An Alice quote follows, in 2 Blowhards Bold, followed by an equally canny and kind push for this guy.

My point is, there is more than just “communication” going on here. Real friendships are being forged, between people who have never yet met each other in meatspace, and quite conceivably never will.

Small dramas like this are being played out every minute all over the Internet, and they were being done with nice e-mails long before nice blogging came along, as Chloe might also have said. More and more, we are living in a world where “perspective” (as Chloe did say) is the place we get our friends from, rather than just place itself.

5 comments to Blogs across the sea

  • Ith

    My point is, there is more than just “communication” going on here. Real friendships are being forged, between people who have never yet met each other in meatspace, and quite conceivably never will.

    Beautifully said! Thank you 🙂

  • While I think that’s true, that there ARE real friendships being formed. I think also sometimes there are perceived “real” relationships being formed.
    I’ve seen blogs go the way of LiveJournal… where it’s all about who’s linking who, and “I’m taking you off my links list” and “Why did they take me off their links list?” and so on and so forth. With some people, you’d imagine it’s the end of the world if someone decides they don’t want to look at their blog anymore. Or, they can’t imagine why someone decides not to read their blog anymore.

    I really can’t say I’ve made any actual true close friends via blogging. There’s one or 2 that I’ve gotten to know better, and perhaps I’d call them pals. And then there’s some people I was friends with before, that just happen to have blogs now.

    But as for real friendships… It’s a tricky thing when you only know a person from blogs & blog comments.

    For example, it’s completely possible that I might enjoy someone’s photoblog a lot. But maybe I don’t know something about them…. yet, and that revelation could actually turn me off of their photography.

    My point is that there’s a lot of people who invest a lot into their internet social life… and naturally they’re disappointed when they’ve invested too much, and somehow the payoff doesn’t measure up to their expectations, or doesn’t suit them well enough.

    The one person I met online, that I do call friend, that I’ve never met in person (yet) DOES have an on-line journal. But I was the one who encouraged her to start one. haha. We met almost 4 years ago in an e-mail discussion list. I can’t even remember what the topic of the e-mail discussion list was, but I remember we started corresponding privately during an off-topic brouhaha in the list about something major in the news at the time. But then, after that, we started chatting regularly via instant messenger.

    That’s 1 in 4 years. And I have a lot of friends generally.
    So to me it seems rare.

  • Brian has done a great service in elaborating some of his views on the blogging phenomenon. I’ve known him from before the time he even did email – I was an expat American pest advocating online communities – and have a very strong appreciation for what Brian’s views mean to the building of libertarian communities.

    I couldn’t let Brian do his Education blog without a bit of libertarian community building of my own: Survival Arts.