If Blogging Was A Neighborhood, You’d Kill Your Neighbors

In blogging, typical good neighbor rules do not apply.

In the real world, imagine this scenario: One of your friends who lives from outside your normal neighborhood comes to you house. While they’re having dinner with you and your family and friends, they look out the window and see who lives next door. They don’t say much about it, but they just sorta take a look and, well, that’s it. At the end of the evening you say goodbye to your good friend and go to sleep.

The next day, you go over to say hey to your neighbor and your best friend is sitting in their kitchen having breakfast with them. And so is your neighbor who lives on the other side of your house. And they’re laughing and hysterical and you’re standing there at the door wondering when your neighbor and your best friend became friends. Then two people come out of the bathroom — a female and male friend of yours who never knew each other before and they announce that they’re getting engaged all thanks to your neighbor who introduced them, but who only just met them for the first time through your friend who had dinner with you the previous night who is now your neighbor’s best friend. Oh, and your mother is there too — she’s visiting from out of town and just happened to swing by your neighbor’s house also, with your aunt, and your old girlfriend from college.

They’re all in your neighbor’s house.

It’s confusing. Chaotic. And would never happen in the real world.

But blogging and the Internet is such a viral, speedy little process that someone you meet can quickly meet someone you know, and before long the incestuous relationships begin to branch out across the blogosphere. It’s amusing, it’s amazing and it’s like a digital version of Six Degrees of Separation.

The digital form of social interaction of the blogosphere also allows other unacceptable practices in the real world to easily creep into one’s day to day digital lifestyle.

For example — in the real world, if you were to knock on a stranger’s door and say hello… And if you were to keep coming back every morning saying hello. And if periodically you were to leave little notes on their doorstep with pithy comments, you’d be considered a stalker. But rejoice! On the internet, this is par for the course! Leave as many notes as you want, no one’s callin’ the police!

For example — in the real world, if while you were in a friend’s house, you went through their address book and wrote down someone’s address…then excused yourself and went to that address and secretly (and quietly) went through their address book and wrote down some addresses…. And quickly visited those addresses and went through their addresses and wrote some more down — well, you’d probably get arrested for doing so. But here?! You do that until the cows come home, buddy boy — it’s totally 100% acceptable!

For example — in the real world, if every time you were having a conversation in the privacy of your own home and you mentioned someone else or talked about someone else behind their back you picked up the phone and called them to say, “hey, by the way, we’re talking shit about you over here at my house and this is what we’re saying…” you’d probably get your face smashed in. But here, in the blogosphere — trackback to people’s sites as often as you like! It’s welcomed and wanted!

It’s a strange thing, how the lack of physical interaction makes the most off-limit situations in the real world, totally and completely acceptable in the digital world. It’s weird, off-putting and really, totally kick-ass cool.

Just don’t get me started on how blogging and eating cereal are one in the same.

Because I’ve done that before and I ain’t gonna do it again!

In other news, tomorrow brings us yet another edition of “Words For Your Enjoyment” — the play at home game where you supply the column idea, you send it via the comment form, you get a mention, a link, and notoriety probably within your not-so-wildest dreams… It’s better than any deal in the current free market economy, except for (of course) the current all-you-can-eat shrimp deal at the Sizzler.

23 comments on “If Blogging Was A Neighborhood, You’d Kill Your Neighbors

  1. Hilary - July 28, 2005 at 8:21 am -

    Hmm, and I thought you liked those little notes on your door every morning. My bad.

    Great post (as usual), Pauly.

  2. kristine - July 28, 2005 at 8:26 am -

    soooo true! hehe. you’re funny. has anyone ever told you that before? how would all the cyberflirting get incorporated here?

  3. Pauly D - July 28, 2005 at 8:45 am -

    Well, in the real world Kristine — flirting with numerous women (you’re adorable, btw) in the comment section of a blog is acceptable, does not fall under current statutes and bylaws of local law enforcement “harrassment laws” (that it would in the real world), and once it happens can be quietly deleted without anyone ever knowing.

    Not so in the litigious real world.

  4. kristine - July 28, 2005 at 8:52 am -

    me, ADORABLE?! oh STOP it, you silly man! you’re embarrassing me, PAULY!

    (please delete this as necessary.)

  5. nic - July 28, 2005 at 9:12 am -

    Isn’t it true what they say? … you can never have too many friends. BUT I am switching to Sugar Smacks! At least they care.

  6. Neil - July 28, 2005 at 10:10 am -

    This post had me laughing! It is so true, Pauly! I mean, in the real world, I would never take off all my clothes and paint myself red, white, and blue and put on a “Davy Crockett” cap everytime I came over to your house, like I do whenever I read your latest post.

  7. Pauly D - July 28, 2005 at 10:16 am -

    Too Much Information, Neil.

  8. kristine - July 28, 2005 at 10:21 am -

    oh HEY NEIL!! i’ll see you at your place for the party tonight!

  9. meme - July 28, 2005 at 10:34 am -

    I’m sorry…it’ll never happen again, I promise.

    Besides your ‘neighbors’ are so not as funny, witty, clever, handsome, and downright freakalicious as you.

    Whatcha throwin on the BBQ tonight? I’ll bring the wine coolers.

  10. nic - July 28, 2005 at 12:25 pm -

    I definitely won’t sleep tonight. God Bless America and the King of the Wild Frontier!

  11. Daniel - July 28, 2005 at 1:04 pm -

    Hmm, the Internet makes all communication creepy in a way. It’s that “Talk to me, total stranger!” thing that we all do. We’ve all become the digital version of the overzealous person in the grocery store who wants to strike up a conversation in the condiment aisle.

  12. Dave - July 28, 2005 at 1:25 pm -

    What if you are actually stalking someone and you find out they have a blog and you visit it every hour and leave posts, some relevant to the topic and others just crazy talk that scare the bejeezus out of the blogger? What then?

  13. Pauly D - July 28, 2005 at 1:28 pm -

    Well, if you’re doing it from your car, while parked across the street from their house with a parabolic microphone and dark glasses — that’s BAD. Stop immediately.

    But if you’re only digitially stalking them, well… Apparently this is totally OK to do.

  14. Will - July 28, 2005 at 1:51 pm -

    Man, I wish I had that door knocker.

    Oh, and great post.

  15. David - July 28, 2005 at 1:56 pm -

    Those analogies are great! Yeah, most comments I get on my blog are only one or two words long. It’d be rather awkward to have a stranger leave a little two word note on my doorstep. Thank heavens for the internet!

  16. Brooke - July 28, 2005 at 4:13 pm -

    Are you saying it’s not ok to look in other people’s windows? How come nobody ever told me this before? I am learning so much in the blog world.

  17. Kris - July 28, 2005 at 5:19 pm -

    Loved this blog…especially the comment about “stalkers” that is so true! See you again soon neighbour. *wink*

    K.

  18. Helena - July 28, 2005 at 6:12 pm -

    Across the street? I’m not across the street. Don’t be ridiculous.

    *screeeeeeeeeeeeeeech*

  19. Now now, if you didn’t want to be found (stalked is so negative)you wouldn’t have information within your site that when hacked would lead to your address now, would you? would you? 😉

  20. Linda - July 28, 2005 at 8:03 pm -

    Would you be mine.
    Could you be mine.
    Won’t you be my neighbor.

  21. Becky - July 28, 2005 at 11:34 pm -

    I couldn’t have said it better. I also think blogging allows for some shy folks like myself (or at least initially) to just break through those inhibitions and find new people to contact. It’s less risky than the real world.

  22. Jack - July 29, 2005 at 10:25 pm -

    Come on, I always show up in my neighbor’s yard in a pair of boxers and dirty socks.

  23. Lea - July 30, 2005 at 12:02 pm -

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