Monday, May 28, 2007

The poison of the virtual pen

Today's column reflects on how I've examined myself in relation to online community.

13 comments:

SusansPlace said...

Wow Julie, I've come to the same conclusion. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on "the poison of the virtual pen." In my desire to be authentic, I've said too much sometimes. One of the underlying issues in our marriage counseling, is the lack of face-to-face communication and it's fallout. My husband and I had taken to communicating via email, about anything serious, in order to process before discussing. Problem is, we said things and didn't say things, in written form that were different than what would have happened if we could haev talked it out. I still love the written word but I am seeing some of it's poision, especially in this age of the internet.

Susan

MaryD said...

Hi Julie,
I just want to note my firm belief that the online community that you have recently left, was very saddened to see you go and would be very happy if you ever decided to re-join any of the conversations. (And that goes for Susan too, since I see her comment before mine here!) I like downy comforters very much, and I like that scratchy wool blanket too. Both are needed.

julieunplugged said...

See, that's the problem. :) I don't want to be seen as the scratchy wool blanket. :) I got sick of that.

But thank you very much for wanting me back.

Julie

MaryD said...

I didn't SAY you were the scratchy wool blanket... I was accepting your description!...but what I really mean is, I feel enriched by your presence in the conversation even when we think differently!!

Kansas Bob said...

Blogdom can be a very weird place. I love the interchange and the debating of disparate views but am saddened when the converation degenerates and people call each other names.

Maybe polite face-to-face conversation is a good thing - I'm not sure? Maybe it is good that we keep everything superficially polite? I wonder though if we ever get to heart-to-heart exchanges when we are politely face-to-face?

Not sure that the virtual pen has to be filled with poisoned ink ... maybe we just need to fill it with honest and caring ink ... words that can be spoken in, and with a heart of, love ... maybe if we do then we will begin to having similar conversations when we are face-to-face ... even if they don't "seem" as polite.

Maybe blogdom is a testing place for our ideas ... a place where we can test the veracity and plausibility of new thinkings - before we take them "live" and face-to-face.

julieunplugged said...

Oh Bravo Bob!

Maybe blogdom is a testing place for our ideas ... a place where we can test the veracity and plausibility of new thinkings - before we take them "live" and face-to-face.

I love this. Really true and right and just.

Ampersand said...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this topic as well. I definitely think online communication is harder than IRL and subject to all the perils that you describe in your column. I'm left wondering what to do, for myself, about participation in online communities.

And I too like the sentiment that Bob experesses in his comment.

Dancingirl365 said...

I understand what you're saying but want you to know I miss you (and everyone else who's not there anymore). Analogies break down. At times I think we're all scratchy blankets. I don't have the answer. Just want you to know you are loved.

I read Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison on vacation and thought about you. I'm sure I understood it differently than you did, but I had fun trying to figure out how you'd read a certain passage. So you see, you're in my head, still scratching away!

Carrie was reading a book, Mediated, that may speak some to this. I have it out from the library, but so far haven't read it.

julieunplugged said...

Thank you Becky. I want you to know that my comments in teh article were both directed at our old community but also at places I am posting now (and am processing all of them together).

I'm sure that time and distance will bring some peace and clarity. I do read at LP most days so I feel caught up with you that way. Thanks for saying you miss me.

Mediated does sound like a good book. I read Carrie's review.

Review it on your blog if you do read it. Peace.

Dave said...

I feel a bit spoiled or lucky or something because my experiences with on-line community have all been very positive and I find that it's actually much easier for me to communicate on the ideas I choose to pursue on-line than in real life, both with people who are compatible with my perspective or are not. Perhaps because my virtual communities have for the most part been more abstract, not much cross-over between on-line and f2f interaction (with a few happy notable exceptions!) And I don't think I've put myself out there emotionally to the same extent that you allude to, Julie, thus less potential for emotional wounds if things don't go well.

And when things don't go well, it seems more often than not the instigators on my list (PoMoXian) wind up unsubbing before I have to forcefully show them the door.

I say none of this to diminish or invalidate what you're saying here, Julie or any other commenters. I respect your experience. Like I say, I feel fortunate. This is just what Julie's column got me to thinkin'.

BTW I love the look of your new blog. I wouldn't mind doing something more customized with my own sometime...

julieunplugged said...

Yes, Dave, part of why your online experiences have been so positive is that you yourself are truly the definition of the word irenic. Really.

Secondly, you began your community with clear leadership of what it was and what it ought to be and have gracefully enforced it.

I do feel, though, that as a participant on pomoxian, sometimes I'm just as frustrated there as I've been other places (through no fault of yours, btw). Somehow people feel freer to be unkind or to throw out labels and libels... which can get in the way of real discussing.

I would love to work through an entire idea before someone shoots it down, shows suspicion or discounts it using a condescneding tone, you know?

But yes, you have been one of my favorite moderators of any place I've been and I've learned a lot from you.

When you come in June, I can show you what I did to customize if you aren't sure how to. It's fun. :)

Julie

Rebecca C said...

I don't think I could ever be a regular in an online community that included f2f contact (except as the exception) or an aim of friendship. I love the chance that the internet, at its best, offers me to learn and to communicate about facts,ideas and other people's perspectives. I have not used it to any great extent to form or maintain friendships although a bit of that has happened to me over the years. And I'm happy with it that way.

Communication in person is draining for me and when I have to conduct a conversation in real time, pay attention to the social cues I'm getting and make sure I'm within the bounds of propriety, well, let us just say it would have to be a great discussion indeed to make it worth my while. Since few I 'really' know share my deepest interests it is a moot point most of the time anyway.

So IRL I knit with the 'Moms' at hs things, talk shop with co-workers and family matters with family and friends never face the strain and pitfalls of idea/concept communication.

On line, I have the luxury of thinking, rethinking,researching, writing, rewriting and looking before I leap. Consequently I am freed to communicate and understand in a way that has never worked for me f2f.

But it is a unique community, even online, that makes the communication really work well. They either cannot tolerate discussion that strains the community bonds or they attract too much hit-and-run negative posting for my tastes. Not because the negativity upsets me--I'm pretty cast iron about that stuff--but because it wastes time and diverts the discussion.

I am in one on-line forum that is private/pay only and find that the discussion there can reach some levels that other places just never seem to. But only sometimes and sometimes it just isn't happening there for long stretches. And it is a community that has strong a priori assumptions that not everyone shares so the variety of viewpoint is not unlimited. I read a lot of blogs for other issues and views but haven't found another community to my liking.

So, ideal solution? Haven't seen it yet. You have my sympathy and understanding.

Rebecca

SusansPlace said...

BTW, Like your new tag line...

"Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine"

Very summery and peaceful. Sounds like what you need right now. :-) Me too, for that matter.

Ssuan