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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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