I’ve read that many take up blogging as a way to connect with a wider audience. I’m not referring to the so-called ‘pro-bloggers’ whose aim is to generate an income but for those casual minds who feel they might have something to say and a hope that someone will listen.
Blogging enables one to connect with like-minds when one desires. I can post when I feel the need and retreat without feeling I’ve walked out on a discussion or ignored someone. In the real world, this can be deemed offensive or hurt the feelings of those you are socially engaged with.
Discussion forums can perform in a similar fashion to the web log in that they are always on and accessible to virtually anyone, anywhere and at any time. As with any social gathering they have the potential to form virtual communities and without the often limiting discrimination or constraints of disability, race, creed, colour or sexual preference, these virtual communities facilitate interaction in the form of discussion or commentary when it suits it’s members. You are not required to be constantly present in order to be a part of the discussion.
Forums, blogs and their users are neither affected nor restricted by time or location. They are open to anyone at anytime from anywhere on the planet (with the possible exception of Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam who have recently been ‘blacklisted’ as ‘enemies of the Internet’ by human rights group Reporters Without Borders).
For me, the demand-free, ‘no strings attached’, relational aspect of a virtual community with it’s often deeply personal and incisive yet anonymous nature appeals to me. The anonymity affords me the ability to shut off and ignore the world when I desire and given my constant battle with depression, this suits me just fine. I wouldn’t say that I am particularly backwards in coming forwards but in the real world, it does take some time for me to feel comfortable enough in my surroundings in order to engage in a meaningful manner.
It is not my conscious intention to connect and participate in a virtual community but I see blogging as more a method of self-help by means of venting on the occasions I feel that I have something to say. However, just because I might post some random musing or personal observation, it might not necessarily follow that it assumes any importance to anyone but myself.
If, in the process of pouring my thoughts into Cyberspace someone visits and perhaps even comments, then I’m happy. Who knows? I may even say something that interests someone other myself!