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Lurkers September 9, 2009

Posted by Fiona in Breaking the fourth wall, Sheer bloody-mindedness.

One of the things that always gets me about writing a blog is the paradox that maybe you write some things so that you don’t have to say them out loud to people you know, and yet the people you know are the ones who find what you write most interesting, because they have some form of context. Another thing that jumps up and bites me occasionally is that blogging has so much potential for lurkers – however it’s marketed, it’s not a medium that lends itself to give and take. It’s a medium that lends itself to me putting quite a lot of things into words that maybe I wouldn’t be happy with too many people knowing in real life because writing it is a lot easier than saying it, and you reading it, and then you clicking on some other link in some other place and going away and knowing about it. Which is why I’m always surprised, when I think about it, at the number of people who read this blog. As far as I’m concerned, the only readers I’m aware of, really, are the regular commenters. The rest of you, however much I anticipate, accept and encourage it by writing all this down in the first place, are effectively just voyeuring.*

Obviously that’s not a bad thing.  Obviously I write this for the purpose of its being read, but the thing about it is when I expect it to be read – I wonder if you do the same – I picture its being read by People On The Internet.  All these Americans and Australians and South Africans and Japanese people who Surf The Net and come across my blog and read it.  There’s still a certain degree of anonymity.  When I use initials to refer to people, that’s to prevent anonymous stalkers from The Internet finding me and my friends.  Clearly the real effect is to keep people who do know me guessing about who I mean.  Because people who do know me are the ones who do, in fact, read this, not imaginary South Africans.

The upshot of this all is that a) I’m living in a dream world where I can post whatever the hell I like on the internet and it’ll have no repercussions in the real world, except when it does, b) this is partly my fault and partly as a result of all of you lot lurking – how on earth do I know who reads this? not a clue, because you never tell me, and c) occasionally I get a massive crisis of conscience and consider deleting the whole damned thing because actually, I’m not comfortable with people I know reading the things on my blog upon which I am pretty open.  All of which might well be a roundabout way of my saying ‘Please comment more!’, or else, ‘Go away and never read my blog again, it isn’t meant for you,’ but probably isn’t either of those, or it might be me mulling over all kinds of things and kicking myself for them.

Anyway what I was going to say this time round is that today I feel ugly and graceless and disgusting and I just want to hide and not talk to anyone or see anyone even though I know I have to, and I don’t want anyone to try and make me feel better about it, and I just wanted to tell someone but I didn’t want  you to know.  And seeing as I managed that in just under 70 words as an afterthought to a bit of roundabout self-flagellation, I’m going to just go now and hide somewhere and swear inwardly when anyone tries to talk to me.

*Hope that’s a word.  It should be.  Dictionary.com not particularly forthcoming.



1. standingonthebrink - September 9, 2009

You are none of those things and I hope you remember that soon. And meanwhile I had a case of the surprising lurker recently but actually it turned out to be a good thing which provoked Discussion of Issues. Honesty is a good policy and no-one will think any the less of you for anything you put up here. xxx

2. TheWarieFiend - September 10, 2009

Hello everyone, my name is T and I’m a lurker. I lurk obscenely and extensively and without even a blog of my own. On the other hand J is absolutely right – nothing on here has ever changed my view of you as a person, nor offended me, which is a lurkers peril if you personally know your… victim(?), and has happned to me more than once. Maybe one day I’ll blog and you can sneak around my words with revengeful pleasure. We’ll see.

3. Richard - September 11, 2009

I post one comment out the blue one night and the next day this 😛 I’ll see you on tuesday – I’ve even booked a 5 oclock seminar on tallescopes, but whether I go or not is another matter.

Anyway, I hope you feel better for the pre-durham meetup next week and I’ll see you then!

4. Callan - September 12, 2009

I fail at lurking. I talk too much.

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