Journaler Friendsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Reflection in the Dragon's Eye : One Thread
I know a lot of us read on-line journals, both of people we know, and of people we've never met. Recently being involved in an e-mail discussion about journalers and the people they write about got me wondering, how do you feel about the people whose journals you read? How do you feel about the people who read your journal?
-- KT Hicks (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 21, 1999
Honestly, I only read the journals of people I know-- specifically, Liz, Matt (when he writes), KT (ditto), Braz (not that he EVER writes), and Lyon (occasionally). To me, it's sort of an extension of e-mail...I get to find out how they're doing, what they're up to, and am given occasional insights on their opinions of the world at large. (The opinions are, often as not, the fun and juicy bits...they're the entries that will most often cause me to write, or to bite my tongue and NOT write.) It lets me feel a little closer, even though I'm living much farther away now.
I don't write a journal of my own for a number of reasons...that I don't have a web page (yeah, Liz, I know, talk to the hand) is, of course, top of the list, but (being a practiced procrastinator and generally lazy individual) I also don't feel up to writing something every day (tho' I suppose I could go Matt's route in that...). But ultimately, I'm a very private person. If I wrote a web journal, very little of it would be for *me* because I'd always be conscious of that huge audience out there. And for what I would be comfortable sharing...::shrug:: I don't feel like my life is interesting enough to warrant the time and energy-- on my part or on others'. Eh. Maybe one day I'll figure out a format that I and my paranoia and my irregular schedule will be comfortable with. But 'til then, I'm more than content to be an occasionally vocal reader. ^_^
-- Karen O. (email@example.com), September 21, 1999.
Um... Okay, I'm going to try to be concise about this, but it's a complicated topic, so if I ramble in response, you have only yourself to blame, KT.
I think there's a huge difference between reading the journal of someone you know and someone you don't. If you know someone in "real" life, you're more likely to pick up on those background issues that aren't mentioned but which are obviously affecting things.
Actually, I think reading the journals of people I do know very well has changed the way I view the other journals. I'll be reading something that Matt or KT wrote, and think, "Wow, and I thought something completely different was going on," or even, "Hmm, I'd have thought they would have reacted differently." So now when I read journals of people I don't know, it's easier to keep in mind that this is only one person's interpretation of events. Still, if I can't manage any empathy for someone I'm reading - if I can't imagine myself in their shoes, seeing what they saw and feeling what they felt - then I usually stop reading.
As for MY readers... Actually, I try not to think about my audience when I'm writing. It distracts me. When I'm done with a day's entry, I re-read it, trying to pretend that I knew nothing about me when I started reading (as if I was a brand-new reader) to make sure I haven't been too obscure or overly whiney. But as quiet as my readers are, it's hard to feel anything about them AS readers.
-- Liz Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 21, 1999.
I view the journal entries of people I know sort of as insights to how they're doing or thinking about things that are going on at the moment. Usually I know them well enough that I can sort of paint in the background that formulated the ideas or what have you, but sometimes it seems to come out of left field. Whatever, it's interesting.
As for people I don't know, I read the journals for different reasons. Sometimes I'll find someone who has just an excellent "voice", or way of putting things, and I'll read just (basically) to hear them talk. Some journals I read because they've got a different view on things than I do, and getting that contrasting perspective is neat.
I was reading a journal that I had to drop because reading it was like watching a train wreck in ultra-slow-mo, and I just couldn't take it anymore. Ever since that, I try not to read journals where my sole interest is the events in the person's life, because I don't want to have to do that again. :-P
And, for those who haven't seen it, click here for what was old made new again. :-)
-- Matt (email@example.com), September 22, 1999.