Monday, October 31, 2005

The global small town

"Oh, it's you, I have read your blog!"
Most of the time that is a nice thing to hear for instance at a conference where I know noone. It makes people approach, as they feel they know me and would like to share something which they learned through this blog.

But what about when it's said with a lifted eyebrow? When it's muttered in an aside in an agry voice? When it isn't said to you, but in a conversation which you happen to overhear as you pass a door? That's when you realise that a blog isn't always a tool of communication and discourse, but as much a way to feed the gossip mongers out there.

Now, living in a small town I have learned to live with this phenomena. My life, with all it's flaws, is transparent anyway. In Volda somebody are certain to know and mention to somebody else your economic history, your medical problems, your friendly and not so friendly relationships, they will interpret your actions (did they argue last night? Did they look like they were friends?) and they will interpret the state of your house, garden, appearance, car, children, spouse, family - it is all subject to discussion and interpretation at some point by somebody.

My response to this has been to have very little to hide. If people want to look at my life and be entertained by its quirks, please. This is perhaps why blogging suits me so well. But at the same time it means that the small town expands dramatically. Marshall McLuhan's Global Village may be more relevant than I thought, and reality TV, weblogs and social software, all the things that give us access to the lives of individuals are the sources of information for the global gossipmongers.

This way there is nowhere you can hide. Diving into a large city to have the freedom of being anonymous, changing jobs and getting in touch with new people: your life is always open to those who want to check on you and know it all. If I wasn't so used to being pre-judged anyway, I would probably care a lot more about that little aspect of blogging.

Links by way of Jill.

No comments: