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Tuesday, 12 September 2006

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Blogger...

I'm sure someone else has used this title, but I think it bears repeating. It is a lonely pursuit, I think - or it is fuelled by a sense of loneliness; a need to connect. The best blogs seem to make a virtue of this - mentioning no names*. But there are a lot of us in relationships who, to varying degrees, divide our lives up between what we have here and what we (laughably, or otherwise) call our "real" lives. You don't have to be single to be lonely, (or vice versa) and it seems to me that there's a sort of iceberg thing going on with the blogging life. The visible peak (our day to days - work, family, friends etc.) is like the rouged cherry atop the submerged Mr. Kipling cake of our *private* stuff. To those who commit to them (and I think it *is* a committment rather like a signing up to a job or a marriage - something that's great fun at first but soon can become a tiresome, sapping routine) blogs are our hinterland, our back history. It's a bit like surveying one of those epic John Ford Western style panoramic landscapes from the safety of a four-wheel drive (marvellous to behold, but you wouldn't necessarily want to be stuck there in the dark, miles from anywhere with no route home). And it can feel a bit like that sometimes, when you come up for air after several hours communing with poeple you don't really know, only to find that the four-wheel drive you were relying on to get you home is low on gas. And has a puncture. And the air conditioning doesn't work. Because you were too busy taking in the view to worry about your passage home.

There's something both emancipating and enslaving about these weird new "virtual" relationships that our blogs open up for us. You could argue that the same is true of most "normal" relationships, but I do think that there is an element of nuance that banter in - for example - a pub will have that can go missing in the rather more sterile, cerebral, words-floating-in-the-ether realm of the comments box. How many of us, for instance, have come away from comments boxes feeling slighted or annoyed or just generally peeved, only to find out that there have just been crossed wires(or that you were posting pissed?)

Just an unprovoked ramble here, there's no agenda or deeper point, but I'd just be interested to hear how other people feel about the way that their blog life intersects with their "real" one.

I just sometimes feel as if I have two, that's all. Lives, that is.

*Spinny, obviously.

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  1. I don't think Spinny has any problem with connecting. It's connecting for long enough to get her end away that eludes her.

  2. Um. Yes. Whatever.

    I like your Mr Kipling analogy Bob.

    So what you're saying is that Real Life is just decoration, while our blogging personas are the *real* us?

  3. good point really Bob! I actually find myself becoming obsessed with 'who has left a comment'...what do they mean by that?? It has become a daily routine has it not? I faithfully check the mailbox daily! how sad is that? Oh, and by the way NO!! I'm not telling you, but I will give you initials (M D) "fecking easy"

  4. Bobster...sometimes we seek this place as an outlet. Sometimes we seek it as a place to rejoice. Sometimes we come here when we are sad, sometimes happy and dancing.

    You can read so much into the words of others. I hope that the friends that I have made here, a few in particular, I will keep forever.

    Some of them I feel I have known for years. I get sad about the fact that I don't have time to comment on everybody's words and as my link list gets longer...I feel guilty...I wonder if anyone else feels that way?

    I love the connections. I love the different voices. I love the way you *learn* about different people. I think it is an important space.

    We can always move in and out of different voices..but I hope that mine is the same on *both* sides of my life. I think it is.

    It is such a complex question...

  5. lol, the title that is.
    I wondered when some-one would be cheesey enough for that one.

    a sort of deep post too, but not...

    just the two lives?
    1 for work, 1 for blog, 1 for home.
    and yet they're all one.

    and yes becoming a comment junkie, it happens, and some feel slighted because so and so didn't comment, yet you can see they visited by using a tracker, and so some vanish, after hitting delete.

    and the feeling you must comment ( i have that prob), I oft leave a smiley to say i came, i saw, i bloggered off again.

    anyway blogs/internet to me is loads more fun that the facking tv.

    why get dictated to as to what entertainment is on offer, when you can browse for an infinite amount of net shite.

    feel a poem-thing coming on...might come back later and waffle some more...might not...

    identity and interaction...
    think do knowledge...

    ignore this bit above...

    couldn't find a pen :)

    cya, oh and thanks for an idea Mr Swipe.

  6. i really must proof read before posting!

  7. {Min} - no worries. Glad to be opf use.

    Spin: no, more that I don't think *any* relationship can mine the depths we have - but maybe we are more direct in the virtual sphere. Fewer distractions? ie. knockers and legs and willies and that...

    Mollster: you are always Mollster.

    JDA: M.D. I'm clueless: Miles Davis??

    Timster: I think judging by her blog reallignment, Spinny has done just that....or am I being *really* slow here?

  8. Well, one positive thing about blogging I can say is that it makes you more thick skinned.

    Every time you are "frozen out" in a comments box, or your visiting figures are lower, or you get no comments, or you get an abusive commenter, or someone unsubscribes to your blog, or you get the piss taken out of you, you become more de-sensitised.

    Blogging is like *real life* magnified to the power of ten. If you come to blogging hoping to escape real life problems, then you've got the wrong attitude. Rather like those people who move away from home to start a "new life" your old problems will only resurface in your new home. Heh heh.

    More often than not, blogging has become a dispiriting experience of late, but I've not quite yet got the guts to just give it up (until I lose any kind of an audience. So, on current form, in about a month then ...)

    I have the feeling I've completely missed the point of your post. Sorry.

  9. OK then she's, she's......she's......German!!

  10. "I have the feeling I've completely missed the point of your post. Sorry."

    Well Betty, the point was just to say how I've been feeling about things of late.

    I kind of thought that was the point of blogging - if there was one at all....

    I'm just trying to say that it's easy to get wrapped up in it all, ia all.


    Monty Don - he's German, isn't he?

  11. I think blogging makes a lot of sense for people who have something to sell or some specific agenda. For me it's just a pastime, a place to unload some thoughts, sometimes fun, sometimes a drag. I think it's a bad idea to take it too seriously.

    Why this comment? Because Robert's post deserves a response.

  12. Errkk ... I didn't mean that your post was pointless, or incomprehensible. I was suggesting (albeit not very clearly) that my comment had gone off at a tangent which didn't have anything to do with what was said in the post ... therefore illustrating your point about crossed wires during commenting!

    Anyway, best to ignore me: it's hormonal. Will go off to have a dozen Feminax now.

  13.'re saying that we're all schitzos now, are we Bob? (Me? Misunderstood your post? Never! Well, we can only really speak for ourselves).

    Now that internet access has been stopped at work, I only feel frustrated at not having the time to read or comment to all those that I'm linked to.
    Minion is right...that this is more fun than the telly.

  14. I must admit I do feel safer knowing our train drivers aren't surfing the net.

    I'm not so sure about banter in pubs, Bob. It's one way traffic whenever I'm in pubs - I'm a very good listener.

    I suppose being half of a legendary blogging husband and wife team (cheers, Billy) the loneliness factor doesn't really come into it. But the reaching out for human interaction outside of our strange marital sect does. And all the better that we can do it without having to miss those important telly programmes. I've had enough socialising for a lifetime and I get more of a laugh blogging than being in a pub full of fucking and cunting locals.

    I still like a drink though. Oh, yes.

  15. Gosh all so thought provoking, I have many different sides to me including work, home, main blog and other blog and I'd hate to think of myself as 1 thing. Blogging is something to while away the time and uses more grey matter than staring at the box. If people visit and leave comments that's great but if they don't that's fine too...I just use my blog to unload, really is my 'virtual' diary. Here I can be whoever I want to be and maybe I'm more real here than I'm 'allowed' to be in real life and quite frankly I often prefer here to real life - escapism is great for the soul.

    Err and ...yeh

  16. Well, I'm glad those comments cleared everything up.....


    did you get your song Bob? the passions one?

  17. A few more thoughts because I like this introspective stuff (in moderation of course) and Robert gives good blog.

    Seems to me writing is a lonely business however you do it. Full of misunderstandings. I suppose it must be nice to go to a book launch and sign books for lots of eager readers. But I think most writers find it quite painful. Must be a real piss off if nobody shows up too.

    As for blogging there's something weird about wanting to be loved and admired by people you don't really want to meet anyway. Dick.

  18. I like to think my blogging 'persona' is the same as me in reality. In fact, it's probably an exaggerated version - but what is interesting is that this exaggeration affects me in real life, which then affects my blogging person.

    And so the cycle continues.

  19. Interesting points - all of them. I'm sort of with Billster on this - I try to be myself as much as possible without actually printing my address and phone number et al. In saying that, when I started blogging I didn't have a bloody clue and actually the only reason why my blog is called what it is down to thick error on my part. A Hazy Day Today was meant to be the title of the first post - not the bloody blog! But I kept it - mainly because I didn't know how to change it. I kept going in earnest and suddenly one day the language of code became clear and I changed a few things. I think it takes a while to get it all going in terms of who/what/how you want to be and that can change from time to time too. When my friend was dying my blog became my only outlet, then it did an about turn and became a moan about work, then I stopped for about 6 months and now it's just silly drivel which doesn't really matter either. Talking of drivel - I've certainly drivelled on here - sorry Bob - in fact I'm not sure I can remember my original point (if there even was one) but basically blogging is what you want it to be. I suppose I might be a bit cheekier than normal if I am commenting 'under the influence' of demon rose or god forbid the odd 'buie breezer but what DOES amaze me about the little circles of bloggers that tend to congregate around certain sites like this one for example is the rapport even though I haven't got a clue what any of you look like. But does it matter? Sometimes I do think it would be nice to try and meet up but worry that people might think I'm weird for thinking that - apart from Bob of course who joins me in furtive meetings in the British Heart Foundation shop in Twickenham every third Saturday of the month! All welcome. Dress code: heavy rubber wellingtons. Ha ha ;-)

  20. Look OUT!

    Billy's gonna explode!

  21. come on bob! 'M' fecking 'D'

  22. British Heart Foundation shop - Twickenham. Third Saturday of the month.

    *furtively makes notes for future reference*

  23. Look guys - thanks for the comments - I haven't time to respond at length now, but I don't want to put any one's nose out of jopint - and thanks dh for your nice comment that I meant to reply to sooner.

    Does anyone object to me postinmg some of the comments up in a follow on post? (I'm just shamelessly trying to equal Molly's ridiculous 128 comments from the other day - but I thouyght if you all let me know whether you object, it would keep the people count ticking over... at least I'm honest!)

    Speak soon,


    Spiiny: it's right next door to Starbucks and Iceland - you can't miss it. Bring a mackintosh too, I would....

  24. It's been a while since I've been up Twickers. I may have to head up there (in disguise, natch)

  25. I think we'd see that quiff coming from a mile off Billster!!

    You're more than welcome - Jools has said she may attend the next one.....

  26. Mr. Swipe,
    what a thought provoking post. It's funny how with blogging you construct a personality for bloggers to fill in the gaps. I always imagine you as a rebellious English teacher which is probably a completely inaccurate version of you. I get attacks of blog guilts when I haven't posted or can't post because of bloody beta (sorry GSE if you're reading this).
    I feel you can be more honest with blogging than in real life because ultimately it doesn't matter what your virtual pals think of you but I find it refreshing that so many people are just really nice and supportive and interesting. Restores your faith in human nature a bit.

  27. "I always imagine you as a rebellious English teacher "

    realdoc - will you marry me?

    btw I'm a dustman.

  28. "...what a thought provoking post"

    Another Swipe Show first!!!

  29. A virtual persona is a serious proposal for our evolutionary future. The end of biology as we rush towards the singularity in a transparent world of cyberborgs. Science fiction. Not at all. Even the New Scientist has discussed this as a possibilty. I prefer to see bloggers as an anarchic pool of dissenters like the ranters.

  30. "I prefer to see bloggers as an anarchic pool of dissenters like the ranters."

    That's a lovely thought Leighton. We certainly get our fair share of ranters...