The more I post and the more I read blogs, the more I feel that this is a very poor medium over which to discuss important issues.
I think this has to do with anonymity. When arguing with someone in person, you have to actually deal with them. There is that 90% of communication that is nonverbal, and its going on, your limbic systems exchanging thousands of pieces of information in a conversation of only a few words. Much of this is unconscious, but I think it is incredibly important.
For example, when I met Jim Berkeley in person, we were both quite different from how we come across on our blogs – because we had to actually face each other. He was nothing like what I expected having read some of his blog posts, and perhaps he thinks the same of me. A conversation divorced from a context can be a dangerous thing.
I also think this has to do with the ambiguity of the written word. In a novel, and even in nonfiction, it often has to be made clear who is speaking and in what way – critically, sarcastically, angrily, ironically, etc. This almost never happens on blogs, and I have more than once put my foot firmly in my mouth when I took something seriously that was meant in jest. This means that we lose even more information in the exchange, information that would make the exchange clearer and more meaningful.
Really, blogs are kind of…bastardized speech, if I may be so blunt. And while I’ve had a lot of interesting and even rewarding interactions through this and other blogs, I’ve also had a lot of headaches and even heartaches that I think would have been unnecessary if I was “talking” to all of you in person.
I think that blogs are well-suited to provocation, and maybe dissemination of information, and not very well suited to a lot of other things, and this doesn’t bode well for our conversations, does it?