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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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