I spent some time on other BBS’s this week (my big no-no), and as usual I burnt myself out getting into other people’s discussions. Some people like to do the BBS scene online, but for me, even if it opens the door to 1 in 100 of the internet bullies, I tend to shy away from it as a complete waste of time.
“Complete waste of time? Hey, what about blogging!”, you might be thinking. Well, OK, good point. But blogging is about getting your ideas across, or expressing yourself, in a casual way without a lot of serious editing. Some people call Twitter and Facebook “micro blogging”, but I look at blogging more like heavy-duty Twitter. I am still not sure how much social networking goes on in the Greater Blog World. I have a feeling it’s actually very rare, so I am not sure where Facebook fits in as blogging. I suppose you could say that some people use Facebook as a blog.
I suppose I am either showing my age or battle-scarred from being an early blogger, but it just seems to me that blogging is not social networking. Among the early adopters (and I was surprised to learn that 2003 put me in the category of an “early adopter”), if you wrote about something that somebody else, (and here is the key), that anybody else could make into a controversial thing, the task started to be more about defending your right to say than it was to go on(line) and say it!
People bemoan the supposed decline of civility these days—both in general and particularly on the net. But I’m not sure blogging has anything to do with that. All the internet did was open up the possibility that you could share ideas with a group of self-selecting people at once. Or over the span of many months or years.
I say self-selecting, because most blogs, I think, are found upon Google searches, but also can be by everyday word-of-mouth where the people have to at least look you up. In the days of dial up, this was described as “have to go on to the internet and visit your site!” as if it were some project. (I guess it was, if you had AOL dial-up.)
You notice that, with the ease of being online in 2010, people have cut it short to “go online”.
So in the span of seven years (I think I started in May 2003), we went from a world where if you wanted to criticize what you saw written in a local newspaper, you had to send in a letter-to-the-editor, OR BLOG–which, believe it or not, could be made a point of controversy(!)– to one where it’s natural for people to think of putting their views out on the net. And the idea that you would actually put pen to paper and write a letter-to-the-editor seems like a strange waste of time.
In the mass of opinion out there, the new challenge is to find the place where the reasonable opinion is sitting. I think that’s going to be the big challenge in the future, in fact. And finding the legitimate opinion from the one that is based on an ulterior motive. Maybe part of the incivility of these days is that people are slowly becoming more focused on trying to figure out “what angle” someone has when they say something, because they are used to doing this subconsciously on the internet. Back in the day, when there was less ability to share, you had to do this through knowing a reputation for credibility.
The bloggers who make it, seem to be the ones who are, yes, out there all the time, but who have enough of a stream that they build credibility in whatever department they focus on. I am not sure their sites are the highly ranked ones, but they are the ones who are counted on to be read at different points along the way–even if it’s months or years later.