Monday, October 20, 2008

A treatise on the relative values of blogging vs. conversation

I feel like blogging about blogging. Talk about art imitating life imitating art....!
Blogging and keeping up with your favorite blogs is kind of like facebooking. It appears to be connecting, relating, keeping up with old friends.
But is it?
Miles wide, and an inch deep (or whatever metric equivalent you want to use.)
Pouring out the top couple layers of your soul, but not necessarily the really deep stuff.
Or, if you are prone to go deep, is it really a connection with other people? Is it the same as sitting down over a cup or glass of your favorite beverage, staring deep into each others' eyes, spilling your guts?
Or is it like visiting a psychiatrist—baring your soul to someone, but not really growing a relationship. More just tossing ideas into the air, and hoping someone will catch them.
Maybe that's part of my beef. Talking face to face with someone kind of forces them to respond in some way, even if it's an: “I don't really care about that.” or a “Sorry, not willing to go there right now.”
The whole blog/facebook/whatever doesn't really force a response. If you're lucky, someone reading it will feel strongly enough to comment, but at best that's a couple lines, and the conversation is probably over.
I guess true friendship is deeper than that. There's a level of accountability that calls for a gut level response, not just a couple lines to show that you are reading the guy's blog.
I think it's the conversation thing that is missing. The rapid-fire, not worrying about choosing the best word, let the chips fall where they may aspects of a conversation. The possibility of sticking your foot in your mouth, saying something you shouldn't, but will be forgiven for. The ability for true passion to be expressed. Anger, disagreement, or, on the other hand, the excited expressions of absolute agreement.
It's hard to show true passion in just words on a page or computer screen. It encourages the use of a thesaurus in order to truly express the thought, since your face and body language is absent, but it tends to be fairly impersonal.
Another part of the issue is that blogs etc. are for the masses, not just for one person sitting across the table from you. You can't tailor a blog entry for a specific person. It's good to have a 'sample' in your mind of your 'target demographic', but just listen to how impersonal that sounds compared to chatting over a cup of coffee in your favorite shop.

All of that being said, sometimes I like to blog! Something hits me, and it becomes a good excuse for putting the thoughts down on paper (or keyboard). Without the chance of an audience, I probably wouldn't get around to putting these thoughts down. They would be lost for all time, the symphony that was never written, the Mona Lisa that was never captured on canvas. OK, I realize that is a bit presumptuous, but I have to dream!

I guess I'm coming full circle. Seeing the value of impersonal entries on some form of social website, but really needing the face-to-face of an encounter over coffee.

Give me a call, we'll 'do' coffee! (You're buying!)


Ed said...

I would buy you a coffee any day Al. Gabe Lyons of Catalyst spoke about this very topic during one of his Labs at the Catalyst conference 2 weeks ago in Atlanta. He said that people will be tearing down facebook because it is not what we expect it be. Social loners. Therefore, i would rather talk to you face to face about this issue. Which coffee place would you like to discuss?

Peter said...

Hey, next time I'm up north, I'll look you up!


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