While at SHARP I heard that someone had decided to keep quiet around me after hearing me say at lunch that I was posting blog entries on the conference. Now, I’m not one to make negative comments here about someone I’ve met. Does that make this a toothless blog? But really, if you do a search on my name at Google (provided you include the middle initial) I’m the first search result. I’d be pretty foolish (or mean-spirited) to gossip about people, knowing that they’d be able to find out what I said so easily.
I’m no more likely to write such things here than I am to write them on SHARP-L, the listserv associated with SHARP. Why would someone think that I would?
Hmm. Now I’m wondering what people were saying about me and my blog!
I guess bloggers have cooties.
Seriously: it’s fear of the unknown. Listserv is comfortable and familiar, while the “blogosphere” is an insular cabal of obsessives feeding back on each other and generating their own unaccountable reality.
Or something like that.
It reminds me of something I overheard a jillion years ago, when I was mostly writing fiction: “Be careful what you say to her; you’ll end up in one of her stories.”
I’d agree there’s a fear of the unknown at work, but I think there’s also a durable fear of being (mis)represented by someone else, in a piece of writing that others can read but that you can’t control.
Not only is this fear “durable,” it’s understandable. After writing this entry, I thought, “Now this person, who didn’t want to end up in my blog, has ended up in my blog, albeit unnamed, because of that very desire for anonymity.” The fuller context of the conversation in which my blog came up, however, is that I was reluctant to talk about it because I’ve still not reached the point where I’d be comfortable with a wide readership who are familiar with me in other situations. My readers are either already friends or they are, relatively speaking, strangers. No in-between people who are, strictly speaking, “colleagues.” Maybe my reluctance was interpreted as evidence that I was doing something illicit.
I wonder if there was a similar “breaking in” period for listservs. This is not to elide, however, the significant differences between the technologies and social practices of the two forms of communication.
And I do *not* have cooties.