My fixation with the blogosphere as an entity, a heartbeat, a community, continues to expand. In my first very eventful month of blogging, I have found it in many ways as real as any group or club. A personalized barb from a blog bully hurts just as much as a snipe from some beeyotch you have to work with.
Is there an art to crafting a comment that doesn’t provoke an already disturbed person? No, but I can be more attentive to the signals sent by the coyly insane and make sure to not comment at all. There is no other choice when we don’t have the luxury of experiencing in person that special aura that radiates from a nutbar. That gut reaction, surge of adrenaline, or bad feeling that makes us recoil in distrust and back slowly out of the room. That ever-useful judgment call.
But text rules our world. I recently read that e-mail is the new way to fire people. We have come full circle. People were writing letters and journals for a couple thousand years before there were telephones. Letters of love, intrigue, betrayal, war, rebirth—letters detailing the history of the world. It is often all we have left to educate us on an era’s culture.
New frontiers in human communication are actively being conquered—we may even have the ability to simply think thoughts and send them in our lifetime. But for now, text is the way we mix. The brilliant, witty, wise, warm, or wildly hilarious—as well as the crashing bores, religious fanatics, and mentally ill—are all here on WordPress. And because it’s so easily accessible to everyone, we have to slog through an enormous amount of bullshit to find the precious jewels.
I did some dashboard housecleaning this weekend. Out with the subscriptions to iffy bloggers with issues. That doesn’t mean a blogger shouldn’t be opinionated or angry about a subject they have strong feelings about, quite the contrary. I mean issues that affect every interaction with another member of the species in a joyless, creepy way.
However, a positive aspect has occurred to me. When a blogger posts a response that is embarrassing or hostile to the commenter, they are publicly creating an inhospitable atmosphere where few visitors would want to stick around. Do you want to visit a bright spot where ideas are freely exchanged or some third-world wasteland run by a little dictator? And seeing this aggression in very new blogs must ensure their future isolation right from the start. Which is fine if that’s what you want.
I am embarrassed for my blunders but I would have neither learned nor made new friends had I not committed them. I am duly wary. But get me my rubber gloves, ’cause I’m going back in.