On "the faux intimacy of the Web experience"


alexbalk:

So I finally got around to reading that Andrew Sullivan “I, Blogger” deal in the Atlantic. The thing is long. Like, not even Internet-long, the fucker’s just long. Anyway, here’s the bit that I keyed in on:

The blogosphere may, in fact, be the least veiled of any forum in which a writer dares to express himself. Even the most careful and self-aware blogger will reveal more about himself than he wants to in a few unguarded sentences and publish them before he has the sense to hit Delete. The wise panic that can paralyze a writer—the fear that he will be exposed, undone, humiliated—is not available to a blogger. You can’t have blogger’s block. You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts. You can try to hide yourself from real scrutiny, and the exposure it demands, but it’s hard. And that’s what makes blogging as a form stand out: it is rich in personality. The faux intimacy of the Web experience, the closeness of the e-mail and the instant message, seeps through. You feel as if you know bloggers as they go through their lives, experience the same things you are experiencing, and share the moment.
This is kind of important, because it brings up something that should be very obvious, but, in many cases, is not. The “Balk” you get on the Internet? Not at all the Balk you’d meet in the real world. I mean, certainly, there are more similarities than there are differences, but your Internet Alex Balk is a wildly exaggerated version of the rather shy, somewhat sad fellow who wanders aimlessly through the city wishing he could do better by the people he loves. There’s a bit of truth to almost everything Internet Alex Balk writes, but sometimes it really is just about seeing how the words look together. Please don’t assume that because I put it down in a blog, it’s a 100% accurate depiction of my feelings, actions, relationships, or beliefs.

I’ll cut this off before he digresses into how blowjobs are “the closest that those of us who make our way through this world of sorrow and disillusionment are ever going to come to the spiritual ecstasy of splooging in the face of God.” But I find myself trying (and usually failing) to explain this to people I want to date all the time (the stuff about blogging, not the stuff about blowjobs), so I thought it made sense to reblog it for easy future reference.