A couple of days ago, one of my favorite shows came back after a relatively long time on break. The show is House MD, and while I could go on for awhile about why the show is so awesome, that's beyond the scope of this essay. Suffice it to say that one reason I enjoy the show is because they tend to bring up intriguing topics to think about & discuss. This past ep brings up the idea of blogging and the effect it has on people. Both those who blog AND those who read blogs.
The patient in the last ep is a woman who is an avid blogger, who spends a good portion of time posting every detail of her life to her blog for public consumption. Including a fight she had with her husband, and all the issues with her treatments as events in the ep play themselves out. It was brought to a focal point, when she had to choose between two options for heart surgery and left it up to the opinions of her readers which option she would take. A decision that could determine whether or not she would be able to have children in the future.
Is it right to live your life so openly? Posting personal information not only about yourself, but also about those people who matter in your life? A friend of mine believes that losing yourself in a crowd of people can be therapeutic, and I agree. There is a balancing nature in hearing the varied opinions of the people around you in regards to the events you're dealing with in your life. But at what point does it stop being therapy and becomes a place to hide from making decisions on your own?
That's a huge danger of living life publicly. At a certain point, the pressure of your "followers" can overwhelm you into making decisions you wouldn't make under normal circumstances. Think about the example of the lady in the House ep. She was willing to make a decision that could prevent her from EVER having children based SOLELY on the input of her readers. And not what SHE thought was best for her. It's the difference between asking for advice & opinions from others and having your own thoughts overridden by the whims of the masses. Seriously, should you live your life according to the whims of your blog readers? People you don't know, and have never met??
And then there's the consideration of other people you mention in your blog posts. By putting them in your blog, you're taking away a part of their privacy. In today's modern world, there's an expectation of a small amount of public exposure. For example, my friend who has his own blog. I can safely reference anything in that blog, because it's already in a public forum. But at what point should the line be drawn. Would an argument between myself & my friend belong on my blog? It's part of my life, right? For me, I would leave it out, or if I did put it in, make the other person's identity as general as possible to protect their privacy. After all, no one likes unwanted public exposure. The ep mentioned that privacy is a modern concept since people lived in communities so small that it was impossible to keep secrets, but I disagree. If that were true, people would not have lived in in separate, discrete houses. The desire for privacy has been around for a long time. In fact, I would venture to say that it's a primal need. History is chock full of people going off on their own to discover themselves, or for adventures, or just for the solitude.
But when does blogging become too ridiculous? The woman in the ep says that she likes blogging because it's an avenue into how someone thinks and what they are thinking at any given time which, in her mind, makes for a stonger bond between her & her followers, or her and whatever blogger she's into at the moment. She actually stated the fact that she hated that her husband didn't have a blog, hated not knowing what he was thinking. To which I thought, why not just ASK him? Why not just SPEAK to him? To further illustrate the point, another scene in the ep has the blogger lady typing in a post, while a friend and reader catches up on the latest postings WHILE BEING IN THE SAME ROOM! They're in the same room together, and they're communicating via text on the screens of their respective laptops!! One has to ask, is the pseudo-public venue of blogging really a connection? Or is it just another virtual world we lay onto the reality around us to make it more palatable?