Monday, January 12, 2004

stalling for time while thinking about gilbert and sullivan

So I know I promised to post the coelacanth piece, but the weekend was just too busy and, even by my standards, the thing is too damn long. SO, no massive ugly ancient fish for you just yet. Trying to build up some, y'know, anticipation here.

Something I find really curious is what we might call the blog biorhythm. Here on Blogger, of course, when you sign in, the home page gives you a list of the ten most recently published posts. It just occurred to me that different times of days seem to yield different sorts of entries. For example, I tend to post between 2 and 5 in the morning, and the other people who are up then often seem to be college students, or occasionally people within my own age cohort.

Meanwhile right now (just around 3:30 in the afternoon, Pacific Standard Time), there are several entries in Portuguese. I can't tell if they originate from Portuguese or Brazilian bloggers, but I'm guessing that this is a good time of day for blogging in one or the other of those places.

The other group that seems heavily represented right now are teenagers. It took me a minute to make the connection--I'm a mite disoriented today, for generally pleasant reasons--and then I got it. They're getting home from school right around now. Or if they're between here and the east coast, they've been home for an hour or so.

Reading a couple of the entries really sent me back in time like a shot. The girl who alternates between breathless description of trips to the mall and her certainty that nobody understands her or ever will. The blog devoted entirely to overwrought poetry. The preponderance of "lmao"s and "lol"s, the talk of boys, parents, and whether our friends really like us or not.

I'm sort of glad this technology didn't exist when I was fourteen. Because I still have that diary, with its flowery cover and ineffectual lock, and I shudder to think about it being so public. Perhaps I'll feel that way about this forum, ten years from now. Maybe we all will. Dinner Satuday night with Snufkina and a friend of hers, Bandit, who is polyamorous and married. Bandit, a vivacious and opinionated woman, mentioned that she felt a little weird. She has access to the blog of the woman who had just gone out on a first date with Bandit's husband the night before, and this woman reads Bandit's blog in turn. The poly people of my acquaintance are (generally) very, very careful about open communication with everyone with whom they have intimate contact, yet even within that community, a member can feel a little weird when she finds the story of her partner's night with another woman in a public forum. So what happens to those of us who aren't working so hard along that particular axis?

When I first started doing this, it was partially a response to reading PRobot's blog. And it looked like fun. But I think blogging--especially amalgamated with the rise of online dating/meeting forums such as Friendster and Tribe--stands to have a profound influence on the way we communicate with each other. The death of mystery? A step on the road towards instantaneous psychic linkage between multiple minds as posited by science fiction writers? A valuable tool for creating openness and trust between people? Or a guarantee that the mental health workers will never be out of a job?

Will we come up with new ways to lie? Or will we embrace new paradigms that require us to move beyond lying?