Tuesday, February 14, 2006

blogging and relationships

NPRs story of the day for today was about blogging and marriage.  You can listen to it at their website.  The commentator talks about how she and her husband have developed an etiquette of blogging – reader obligations, who has the rights to blog about a topic or event, etc.  She talks about the affirmation of comments and hits on her site counter.  And I know what she is talking about.  Not that I have a marriage that is either benefiting or hurting because of blogging.  But it lead me to think about what blogging does to my friendships (which I have discussed several times before).  

And I think it mostly is a benefit.  It allows me to write thoughts succinctly and to have long-term and even long-distance discussions of issues that matter.  Or issues that don’t.  And it opens up the discussion to people who wouldn’t be part of an interpersonal discussion because they are far away or too busy or I don’t really know them.  And I think that’s kind of cool too, although it does take away from the intimacy of the conversation.

I think, though, of silliness like the author emailing her husband to see where he is, or checking his blog to find out what’s going on.  And it reminds me a little bit of days in the WA office when our conversation would lead to independent blog posts, which were written, announced, and commented on (digitally and verbally) all in each other’s presence.  That was a little silly.  But, then, if we hadn’t had the blogging habit, we wouldn’t have the blog post as an artifact of the conversation, which would probably be long forgotten by now.  And if dad and I didn’t sometimes post as a result of our commute conversations, we wouldn’t be able to include other people in those conversations either.

Is digital communication inherently less beneficial to relationships?  I can understand that a marriage relationship has a physical element that the relationships I’m discussing doesn’t have, so maybe it needs to be discussed differently.  And I also think that there is something inherently good about in-person interaction, mediated only by language and nonverbals.  Like the NPR commentator, I am slow to pass judgment one way or another, but I am fascinated by it regardless.


kristen said...

I am going to check out the NPR story. I have been thinking about blogging impacting interpersonal relationships as well (probably because we talk about it in our office!). I read a few blogs who are brutally honest about their past relationships. They really treat their blog like a journal. They record thoughts they have about ex's, lessons learned, etc. I really enjoy reading those types of posts and appreciate the honesty but I wonder about the people's current partners. I don't know if I would have the stomach to read those thoughts coming from Drew. Blogging brings up an entire new relm of honesty in relationships.

Ron Rienstra said...


While I'm very grateful for the relationships that are initiated or sustained through digital medium, I am convinced that blog-ring relationships are at best a supplement to gen-u-wine face-to-face interaction. I comment on your blog 'cause I know you. Don't comment much on the blogs of those I don't know.

o1mnikent said...

Interesting thoughts. I tend to think of my blog as supplemental to my relationships, simply because anyone can access it. That's not true of my offline relationships - I can determine the audience, so to speak.

I tend to post about things that will be interesting to any reader, but even more interesting to those who know me personally. In that sense, I hope my posts complement offline relationships.

Last year, when I thought of a cool thing, I'd burst through the door of the WA office, begin my sentence with "Dude!" or "Oh man!" and then wax eloquent. But, while there are still doors through which I might burst, I no longer burst into the WA office but rather onto my blog.

Now I'm just rambling. Hope Barthes turned out okay.

MattyA said...

I didn't listen to the story yet, but I figure if I don't comment now I probably never will. I, of course, have a different perspective because by coming to Budapest I cut myself off from all face to face contact with people who have known me longer than six months. I have my new friends here, but those relationships lack the depth that comes with shared experiences over time. It's not that I can't share things with people here, but I think they don't know me well enough yet to understand the unspoken things I communicate. So, I'm with Ron. These things are not about creating new relationships, but sustaining those I have and keeping myself sane in the process. Of course, I'm still going through my blog-o-dentity crisis as I try to figure out what my blog is all about. Sometimes I think I think about things too much.