In general, blogging about blogs leaves Crabby yawning. Unless it’s about new technology and techniques or she can find some good, new older bloggers for her list, she is little interested.
Nevertheless, in the past month or so, Crabby kept her eye on a widespread discussion about the lack of women in the upper echelons of the blogosphere. Another, associated, complaint seems to be that alphabloggers do not link frequently enough to either women bloggers or less well-known bloggers thereby depriving both groups of exposure and new readership.
Oh, pshaw. It sounds to Crabby like some little green monsters are on the loose causing otherwise rational beings to whine. Those top-traffic bloggers have been at it for years, gradually building an audience and for the most part, they are good at what they do - which can’t be said for some other bloggers. Besides, have you seen the length of the blogrolls on their sites? Literally hundreds. What good would it do anyone’s blog link to be stuffed somewhere in a list that long?
Anyone who thinks they’re going to get the readership of Daily Kos, Instapundit, kottke or Doc Searls without putting in about half a decade delivering compelling, well-written, cogent ideas from a unique point of view on a daily basis needs a new, perhaps less demanding, hobby. A good blog is work and the whiners would do well to tend to their own blog knitting.
More interesting to Crabby are two - related - aspects of blogging that are rarely touched upon in all the blogosphere navel gazing.
1. Our Essential Natures
Even though few of us meet face-to-face, bloggers can’t hide who and what they really are. Over time of publishing regularly, spouting rants, offering opinions, arguing (politely or otherwise), discussing this and telling stories about that, one’s essential nature cannot help but be revealed.
In fact, Crabby would argue that in reading someone's blog regularly, it is easier to suss out a blogger’s principles, ethics and general demeanor than those of new friends or colleagues with whom personal contact is less frequent.
There are four bloggers Crabby reads whose arrogance would be unbearable but for the quality of their writing or information. They may, if they are capable of recognizing the sounds of their own voices, take pains to cover their haughty pretensions, but it leaks through week after week. Crabby is grateful none of them is working in the next cubicle.
More often, however, it is an agreeable process to gradually come to know bloggers through their interests, attitudes, likes and dislikes, senses of humor, photos selected, general outlook, how they carry themselves in this public venue and their styles in expressing it all. And some become friends.
2. Cyber Friends
Who would have thought, prior to computers and the internet, that we would come to regard people we are unlikely to ever meet in person with affection and trust?
Some of it is, Crabby believes, connected to the speed of reaction time compared to snailmail of the past when weeks could go by before an answer was received. The internet telescopes time and fast emails – even instant messages – can be exchanged before the subject at hand, mood and intention have faded and threads of conversation lost.
Although people meet online in other ways, for bloggers in particular, a good sense of what someone is like is gained from their daily writings. Sometimes a post rings a chord of recognition prompting a private email. On several occasions, others Crabby had come to like from their posts and comments have reached out to her and friendships were born.
Crabby has not yet been able to articulate for herself the difference between these and in-person friendships, but she does not feel the personal attachment less strongly for not having met her online friends. Certainly, with bloggers, the inability to hide essential natures contributes to openness which may be a reason, when these friendships blossom, people reveal themselves more readily.
Certainly, this will be fodder for some intense study by social scientists sometime soon, if they haven’t begun already. Meanwhile, think of it: we begin as strangers out here in the blogosphere, but it is impossible to remain so for long. It's a much better idea, Crabby thinks, to dwell on this than the number of one's blog readers.