Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I am so sorry about what happened...
I have been thinking a lot about internet, blogs, that invisible medium that has been invented....to serve...ultimately... to whom...for what.
I was wondering why people has created the so called fifth estate, why they have seized to communicate in the real life (if not yet, they are about to do so) say over a cup of coffee or a cup of tea? Why children instead of playing outside in the fresh air prefer to sit in the dim internet cafes and chat or play virtual games? Why do their parents prefer to say what they want or have to say before the whole world instead of doing so before his/her wife/ husband? Why do they need to share their concerns with so many people they do not see, touch, and feel (is it only for the sake of intellectual debate)? Why they have created a medium where no one (really) knows anyone, why personal contact has seized to be so important? It will take months  (truly) to accept some one on a blog, but it will take only a minute even less, to feel the person sitting before you. Nowadays, people seem so close to one another, yet so far...  
The internet privacy where does it start or where does it end? Once my Professor, who is a respectable member of the ET community, has told in one of our class discussions that in order to build an internet credibility one should at a point of time reveals some personal information, which would show the rest of the members that he or she is willing to be part of the community and can be trusted, not someone who has just subscribed to say hello. Well what would happen if one decide not to share that piece of information, to keep it for himself/herself, because one does not want the whole world to learn about it, but at the same time to be granted a full membership? Does this not at a given moment make the whole purpose of the exercise meaningless?
I see that you are a community, very intelligent and liberal one. It is so nice that you can share your concerns, thoughts with a bunch of people who are going to engage in a discussion (true) that only the internet space allow. Yet, for the research I have engaged myself in,I would like to ask you if it was not for the ET ( or any other blog) where and to whom would you say that want you need to?
Global village...so true... One thinks that he/she is protected sitting on a chair in front of the computer writing sympathetic messages. Until one day someone does not ring on his or her door with the words "Hi, do you mind if I come in. I saw you on the internet and came to say hello."
Meet your future.
by Harlem on Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 07:42:16 PM EST
I can't speak fot others, but my intro to blogging and "blog communities" was via a political campaign (Dean for America).  And for me, the comfort I was able to achieve with people on a blog helped me get up the courage to attend meetings and get out and work with the people I'd met on-line in the real world.  As a result, some of them have become quite good friends in "real life."  Many many of them have become real life acquaintances.  

So in my experience, blogging has been a way to open the door to new friendships, working relationships, etc.  Also, I think a lot of us also have friends and family outside the blog (to answer your question) but with a blog, it seems there is always someone willing to talk to you about whatever subject you are obsessed with at the moment.  Moreover, my real friends and family are mostly not in Paris or Cairo or Sofia, so it is extrememly cool to be able to communicate with people on the other side of the world.  What an opportunity!

As for sharing personal information, I think that should never be mandatory, but bear in mind that everyone wants to know that the person they are talking to is wo they claim to be, and also, it is easier to share your opinions, etc. with people you trust.  Divulging personal information is a sign of trust.  

The sociology of blogs is extremely fascinating.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 09:36:03 PM EST
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Yikes.  Remind me to proof-read my comments.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sat Apr 8th, 2006 at 09:37:43 PM EST
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"...it seems there is always someone willing to talk to you about whatever subject you are obsessed with at the moment."

You are so right that blogs gives the opportunity at any time to engage in an interesting conversation and eventually meet those you think are worth doing so. But what I was and I am still looking for, is why do you need outsiders to share your piece of information, to share something, as you put it, you are" obsessed at the moment". Is it not obsession something deep and personal, which you decide to expose before the whole world because you think no one of your friends is going to share and appreciate your interest in the way you expect them to do?
Is it not so much easier to pick up the phone and just call them? Or is it too costly?

Ultimately I have to agree that "the sociology of blogs is extremely fascinating" for good or for worse.  

by Harlem on Sun Apr 9th, 2006 at 08:11:39 AM EST
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Well, like I said, through blogs I've met people I now pick up the phone and talk to.

Bear in mind that when the whole blog phenomenon began, America was in this strange post 9-11 state where people who disagreed with the our government were villified and the media really suppressed our viewpoints.  So blogs provided a place where people could discuss issues anonymously and find people who felt the same way.  And get together in big enough numbers to start a movement.  I don't think places like kos, Blog for America, even Booman and ET were set up for people to find friends or share personal info.  They were always about politics.

I don't know what it's like where you are, but in America, discussing politics, even with friends and family, can be very difficult.  Sometimes you just don't want to put that kind of stress on a valued relationship.  Plus, since we can't rely on the media to tell us what's really going on, we have to find out ourselves.  And blogs are a great way to disseminate that kind of information.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sun Apr 9th, 2006 at 11:49:02 AM EST
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