JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

Emotional Life of Weblogs: BloggerCon III session description

October 7th, 2004 · 6 Comments

Dave Winer invited me to be a discussion leader at BloggerCon III. Below is the description of the session on the Emotional Life of Weblogs which I will be guiding on November 6 at Stanford.

I am shut in a bone box and trying to fasten myself onto white paper.
– from the novel Free Fall written by Nobel Laureate William Golding.

We no longer use typewriters to create paper pages, but as we fit our fingers on the keyboard, letting the thoughts transfer into typed text, we are still trying to fasten ourselves onto something. How do blogs allow us to break free of our bone boxes and connect with each other? How are we fastening ourselves to our posts and to other people? What kinds of relationships are we building through blogging? Which sections of ourselves do we let others see? How do we choose what goes into our blogs?

In this BloggerCon session on the Emotional Life of Weblogs, I hope we can share with each other our experiences in relationships through blogs. What lines have you drawn for yourself concerning the personal content you put on your pages? How do you censor yourself? What communities have you discovered or created?

How does blogging impact relationships both inside and outside the blogging community? Does reading a person’s posts provide a false sense of intimacy so that we assume we know someone? Are we “friends”? Or are we “strangers”? Who knows us best?

Do you blog about your family? Your lover? Your best friend? Your boss? Your neighbors? Why or why not? Have you shared something on your blog that encouraged someone else? Have you regretted writing a post because of the way it affected people you know? How are we connecting on- and off-line?

Some bloggers reveal intimate details of their days. What does it mean when we can know aspects of someone’s private life yet we have never met in person and might not recognize each other if we did? What happens when we share things with each other on our blogs that are “taboo” to talk about in society or difficult to do face-to-face? How are we integrating ourselves? Is the person who appears on your blog different from the person who appears at BloggerCon?

At BloggerCon, I hope we can travel together through this terrain and share our experiences of connection. I also hope we can try to connect with other sessions. For example, I believe that Information Overload impacts relationships too, both in blogs and outside blogs. And the Core Values of the Web become the basis of building relationships through blogs.

Bring your bone box: let’s discuss and discover what happens when we try to fasten pieces of ourselves onto a blog page.

Also posted to the BloggerCon site

Hope to see you there: it will be fun!

Tags: bloggercon

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 orcmid // Oct 7, 2004 at 8:46 am

    Wow, there’s something wonderfully evocative in that description. I come up with having too much to say about it and so I will be tongue-tied instead. What’s simple to say? [I lied, I used many more words after all.]

    OK, when I think like a scientist or reflect on scientists, and maybe all scholarship, it is amazing to me that people managed to know of each others work and discuss and correspond. To one degree or another, they knew each other. Sometimes there is separation in time as well as space, but there are these connections that move me to speak of the fabric of the perpetual human spirit. I was always struck by the fact that the physicists that altered our view of the world so much one century ago knew each other and would converge from time to time at places where they could also meet each other. There are many other threads by which people cross each other’s paths.

    It looks to me that the blogosphere is creating a popular-culture form of that. (I don’t like that term, and would like a better one. Basically the edges — all of us, finding opportunities for inventing fluid communities where we create new kinds of relationships across time and space with ease.)

    It matters to me that I got to meet Liz Lawley in person on Tuesday night, and that I met you and Ted and the girls through that occasion. I now get to see all of the connections you have, including Lisa Dusseault. I could have, no I have, bounced into Lisa at meetings for years and not known anything about her attention on cookies or knitting. When we blog, there is an opportunity to provide a multi-contextual presentation of ourselves and expose the rich variety of perspectives that we offer. That’s extraordinary. And the medium, especially with syndication, allows us to digest other people’s contributions selectively and also be surprised by some chance posting that makes for deeper connections and emotional experience. I find myself increasingly allowing myself to feel about the personae I encounter in blogs, and to take the time to notice that. Look to see how much that happens when wandering the blogosphere for you. It even shows up when I find an affinity with someone that I would have previously dispensed with as a rascal in previous snap-judgment reactions.

    The people who I notice the most clearly are those who speak themselves emotionally (sounds so dry to say it like that). That’s what has me always want to honor the contribution of Liz, Scoble, Dave Weinberger, Dorothea and others. In fact, I was disappointed Tuesday night that V-P candidate Edwards did not step off the flywheel in some way that showed us something of his heart.

    One of the features of the blogosphere is the availability of a [multi-contextually?] “safe” space for people to show their vulnerability and their heart, and to be authentic about who they are. It makes for a kind of intimacy that is lacking in other places where our defenses are up so strongly and so automatically and our attention may be more task-focussed.

    I’ll give another example of an alteration in how I keep my connections with people in existence. If someone has a blog that I’m subscribed to, that is now where I also file other conversations with that person. Rather than in a “Friends and Family” or “Colleagues” e-mail folder, I use the folders created by my feed reader as an organization that attaches individual identity more strongly for me. It’s more personal and individuated now. It’s warmer for me. A lot of this did not show up, by the way, until I had RSS pointed out to me and I started to subscribe to feeds. So my blogging has changed dramatically in the 5-6 months since I began with that, and sometimes I am self-conscious about it (and always out to look good).

    OK, OK, I will simply stop. Hmm, and *we* don’t need any rigid semantic web to do this. Golly. Thanks for the comment pad!

  • 2 Ted Leung on the air // Oct 8, 2004 at 12:08 am

    The Emotional LIfe of Weblogs

    Once again, I will not be going to BloggerCon. But this time I’m very happy about it, not because I can’t go, but because Julie is going to be one of the discussion leaders. Her session is titled the “The Emotional Life of WeblogThe Emotional Life

  • 3 Julie // Oct 8, 2004 at 12:58 am

    Wow, thanks, Dennis, for your comment! Lots of great insight…I hope you will be at BloggerCon! 🙂

  • 4 Ted Leung on the air // Oct 8, 2004 at 2:46 am

    The Emotional Life of Weblogs

    Once again, I will not be going to BloggerCon. But this time I’m very happy about it, not because I can’t go, but because Julie is going to be one of the discussion leaders. Her session is titled the “The Emotional Life of WeblogThe Emotional Life

  • 5 orcmid // Oct 11, 2004 at 9:27 am

    Hi Julie.  You’re welcome.  I keep mentioning your description to people.  The “bone box” didn’t land for me until I reread it and saw that it was about the bone box inside my skin bag.  Meanwhile I’ve been thinking a lot more about how we memorialize ourselves and the drive to do that.  I started on a piece about that on my blog, still in unposted draft form, and had an insight about my wanting to be famous.  Heady stuff!  Hard to even mention out loud.  Seems that it is tied to an incident in kindergarten.  Amazing.  I promise I’ll post it in the week.

    I won’t be at BloggerCon.  Sorry. Basically have my feet nailed to the floor with an on-line class and a dissertation project to plan that will keep my nose to the grindstone until March (or later if I can’t get the plan to squeeze into the schedule I have in mind).

    PS: I have more pictures from the Bellevue Meetup.  They were on a fresh roll of film and it will be a while before I finish the roll and processed.

  • 6 Julie // Oct 12, 2004 at 12:56 am

    Thanks, Dennis. Sorry to miss you at BloggerCon! Thanks for your great thoughts and enthusiasm! It is interesting to look at how we project ourselves, whether consciously or unconsciously. I look forward to reading your post! 🙂 Hope all goes well for you in your class and dissertation…