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.