Only in dreams
I just woke up from a dream in which I was eating in a restaurant with three friends. The food was fairly standard, but when it came time to order dessert, the waitress brought us a slip of paper. The dessert menu was write-in: at the rate of roughly $6 per plate/spoon, we could request whatever we liked and the kitchen staff would do their best to accommodate it. This meant we probably wouldn’t get exactly what we wanted, but could expect a tasty and well-executed something that resembled it. Alas, since I was full from the entree, I couldn’t test the dessert chefs’ abilities. I ordered one piece of baklava accompanied by gelato.
I would like to send you a holiday card. Yes, you. Send me your mailing address and I’ll send you one.
Today’s NYT Magazine has an interesting four-page article on blogs and the thin line they tread between privacy and publicity. It describes several blogs/bloggers and what their experiences have been–both positive and extremely negative–with the contents of their blogs being read by a wide audience. Some of this directly involves the blogger himself, but since the focus of this article is sex, what the author mentions more frequently is harm to others by being mentioned in someone’s blog. One of the article’s main points concerns the still-developing etiquette around blogging. I often say we’re in the midst of a new era, web-wise, and since no one knows how to govern it (indeed, whether it can even be governed at all), it’s best to be careful. I don’t think I need to worry so much about exposure since my audience is apparently tiny–I hardly ever get comments from friends, much less strangers–but even I have found myself hesitating over making remarks about someone else in my journal, just in case that person finds it and doesn’t like the way s/he is being described. Usually it comes down to “it’s my blog, but it’s their feelings that’ll be hurt” and I include the comment, but in a slightly softened form. Generally speaking, I don’t give out my journal’s url to people who have some hold over me or who might not like being mentioned frequently (current professors, employers), but I do try to be circumspect. I realize that despite my efforts people will find out about my journal. Regular readers will know I hardly ever flame anyone, anyway (even in real life), and I hate gossip. I also don’t put my full name anywhere on the site, to make it harder to find if anyone tries to Google me. (I’m fairly hard to Google anyway, since there happens to be a somewhat-famous person out there with my name.)
Keeping an online journal has been an interesting learning experience, though, and here’s a case study: as I mentioned, I don’t give out the url to that many people. Not long after I started my site, my mom found the url. I’m not sure how, I think my AIM profile, but anyway, I hadn’t anticipated that. I don’t think I’d been complaining about her, but after she commented on my journal, I realized that I was no longer at liberty to speak freely about my parents. Oddly enough, due to the kind of relationship we have, that hasn’t been as much of a limitation as you might think. When I stopped eating most meats, I posted the development on my journal before I informed my parents. One thing I’ve learned about dealing with my mother is that if you want to bring up anything controversial, you can’t drop the ball and have the discussion at the same time. (Sorry, Mommy, but it’s true, even if you don’t believe it!) I would even say my journal has helped shape the path our relationship has taken over time, not just with her but with other people. It’s a really interesting phenomenon, blogging is, and so I enjoyed reading the Magazine article’s take on it and how it is changing our culture. It’s good to see that people are thinking about this and taking it seriously. I do hope a somewhat standardized etiquette will emerge, the way it has with email, but part of me also doesn’t want to see blogging becoming as commonplace as that. Maybe it’s already too late, but I enjoy being a blogger when most of my friends aren’t, and it’ll be a sad day if I ever find myself no longer in the minority.
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]