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16 April 2005 at 18:35

about online diaries

Today I stumbled across a long web discussion (If a blog is a person's DIARY, do you really CARE?) where the opinions seemed to cluster around 3 main reactions to blog diaries.
Type 1 readers enjoy admiring writing that's clever or literate, "otherwise what's the point of reading?"

Type 2 readers love the reality element, seeing how other people live, and reading between the lines.

Type 3 readers are uncomfortable reading someone's diary - they feel embarrassed or see only narcissism.
Which group are you in? If you're not sure, read the following brief diary entry, then decide.
"Drove to the bay with Cass and the dog, met up with Panda and Stu and their dog, and joined the throng of weekend joggers and dogwalkers for a circuit of the bay.

Now that the business with the Pope is over, Stu is available for regular conversation again, and we enjoy a man-to-man about relationships we should never have got into, and the years we wasted before we got out again.

Our talk was prompted partly by some 1960s anti-promiscuity advice that one of my teenage friends received from his father: "never sleep with a girl you wouldn't be proud to call your wife." Dated and quaint, at the time it seemed like just one more prohibition to be broken. But looking back now I see it contained simple wisdom, and he was actually saying: be careful what you end up holding when the music stops. (Reference - Pass the Parcel rules)

As we pass a club, I spy a bin filled with empty bottles from last-night's business, and I take away half a dozen classy beer bottles in my pack.

In the afternoon I spend some quality time with Cass, get on the PC, stumble across a long web discussion .... "
Okay, now let's see how you feel about what you have just read:
Type 1 - you enjoyed the fine writing. OK, maybe there wasn't any, so if all you experienced was boredom, you may be Type 1. Otherwise, that leaves:

Type 2 - the reality element, seeing how other people live, and reading between the lines. Did you get any idea of how I spent today? What kind of personality I have? Age, gender, nationality? Narcissism factor? What's with the empty bottles? If you have no idea, or don't care, you're probably not a Type 2 reader. That leaves:

Type 3 - uncomfortable reading someone's diary, feeling embarrassed or seeing only narcissism. Did you feel uncomfortable? Is the writer a self-indulgent self-publicist?

Most of the time I'm a
Type 2 reader. Most personal blogs interest me, some just for a few seconds, but others are worth reading the whole site. To me it's a kind of transient social experience, a healthy voyeurism. Just as in real life, I feel drawn to people who can share a bit of themselves and make the world a slightly richer place. And if they write especially well, for me that's a bonus but not the main game. YMMV. (jargon definition)

There is no shortage of blog diaries of the "got up, had a coffee .... watched TV, went to bed" type. But I like to think that even these can in theory tell you something about the writer.

If you think blogs are a waste of time, you've done well to read this far. You could even leave a comment.

Blogger Alec McClochendichter said...

I wouldn't be too thrilled if I were the ex on your site - not that she's ever likely to read it.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there are many other reasons for reading blogs, see for example "Why read blogs?" at  


Blogger robmcj said...

anonymous, I agree, for example if you have ever wondered if your life is just as crazy (or sane) as someone else's, cruise a few blogs and you'll soon be reassured.  


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