Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Giving Up an Addiction

The California Buckeyes are blooming! I love them!

Mark over at Butler and Bagman wrote yesterday about how blogging can feel addictive. His sentiments resonated with me.

I'd like to add this observation:

I’ve observed that blogging creates a sense of connection and community with people we've never met, and, let's admit it, folks, probably never will meet. I've met some wonderful, wonderful, people online, and I will continue to look in on their blogs and feel warm and fuzzy about them. However....

Not one of your blogging friends is likely to visit you in the hospital, come to your birthday party, go hiking with you, or have you over for dinner Saturday night.

Because blogging does not satisfy our actual need for social contact, it gets addictive. Much as M&Ms get addictive because they seem to provide nourishment without actually providing much beyond but empty calories. Much as alcohol gets addictive by seeming to provide relief from our troubles while actually increasing them.

I heard a supposedly true story of a blogger in NYC. He had more than 800 followers in New York and was a blogger of note online.

He spent so much time with his computer that his real friends gave up on him. Who can blame them? How much fun is a guy who’s so glued to his screen that he doesn’t have time for dinner with friends, to take a walk, etc.?

Our blogging hero got lonely and decided to invite all 800+ of his online friends to a real party. He sent out an online e-vite, rented a hall, got a caterer, whole thing.

On the night of the party, only one person showed up.

Blogging gave him a whole bunch of virtual friends, but only one actual friend.


As for this blogger, I'm not going to give up blogging entirely. From time to time, when I have something worth sharing, I may find my way to the keyboard.

I will, however, discontinue my efforts to post regularly.

I intend to live my life in actual, not virtual, reality.


Butler and Bagman said...

We'll be barbecuing ribs on Saturday night. Sorry you can't make it. But I am glad you won't be giving up blogging entirely...I think there is definitely a place, even in the real world, for the cyber one. Moderation, I guess. As an alcoholic, I just have to be careful with addictive things...doesn't mean I have to give up pleasure entirely. I know there are no real friends here that I can touch. But there is real spirit here, I think. I know that your unreal blogs on gratitude have often helped me have a better real day. Thanks. I'll look for you when and if you have something to say.

Delwyn said...

Hi Dan

I understand what you are feeling and I have often made the remark to my friend that if I went under the proverbial bus not one of the bloggers out there would know.
I also become suspicious of all the sentiment thrown around so freely in the blogworld and shy away from that effusiveness and well meant but shallow insincerity.

Like Mark I have benefitted from your postings, enjoyed your company and learned many things from you. I hope that we will hear from you at times.
Unlike you I have much free time and taking photos and writing about my walks seems to satisfy a creative need I have, last year it was collage and card making... It is time consuming and I try to not get caught up in the gratuitous side of the bloogshere and try to keep some kind of balance in my life.
But I feel making posts is far preferable to watching TV on cold nights...

I do wonder though how long it will be before I tire of the blog - it appears to be a cyclic passion, but will continue til then...

So Dan, many Happy Days ahead,
and you are one of a few bloggers that I would like to meet and get to know in the real world. I am sure we would enjoy walking together...

Happy Days

Sarah Lulu said...

Yes Dan ...I feel you are a friend from afar ..and maybe we might not meet or maybe we will.
Out of the blue (I did blog this.) I met an online Canadian friend of 10 years ...I've now met perhaps hmmmm 20 or more Aussie online friends so never say never!

I like to live 3D as well *smile* ...and I do.

This doesn't take the place of face to face contact but it certainly does enrich my life.

Sarah Lulu xx

Alden said...

Dan, much of your cautionary words are worth consideration but I think that with most things in life it is a matter of attitude and intention. If the intention of blogging is to create a cyberspace network of friends to the exclusion of ordinary everyday contact with friends, then of course this is clearly unhealthy and out of balance. Contact with other Bloggers should be an addition to the tapestry of ones life, not the tapestry itself.

For myself I provide the balance by going sailing, kayaking, cycling, reading, playing music and having regular contact with family and friends in a variety of social contexts.

My intention in creating a Blogspot was a technical computer challenge to see if I could actually get one up and going and then maybe create one for my place of work.
What I have found is that despite the friends one makes it is the creative writing process itself that keeps me going. I don’t have the time to spend going to a lot of other Blogspots to try and drum up readers, so the number of people commenting on my blog is actually minimal. But this doesn’t in anyway detract from the pleasure of sorting out my ideas in a creative way and having the BlogSpot as a journal of sorts.

My attitude is that a BlogSpot is not primarily a place for the gathering of friendships (despite the fact that this blessed process does indeed take place) rather it is a place for the sharing of ideas and the debating of those ideas. Debate varies from BlogSpot to BlogSpot – on some the debate is incandescent, and real worthwhile interaction takes place. On other Blogspots there is a sharing of information of a highly interesting nature. I think this what Blogspots are really good at doing. Looked at on these terms and with a focus on the ideas, debate and information sharing, the valuable online friendships that develop can be seen within the parameters of the online context.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Alden!