Flame away!

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking lately. And yes, it’s probably going to get me in trouble with some in the weblog community, and it may even get me reamed in person at Gnomedex, but that’s never really stopped me before. *L* As a student of psychology, (And after 3-4 years of therapy, I do know a bit about it!) I can’t help but notice the various disorders that make themselves apparent online. I’m not going to name names, that’s not my style, but I think most of us will be able to come up with some obvious examples of them.

Also please know that I am not painting webloggers with a wide brush, there are some really excellent, well-written, intelligent blogs out there, people doing some wonderful work. But there are some that, to be blunt, have become so creepy I don’t read them at all anymore. If you look hard enough, you can see obsessive personalities, group-think, mob mentality, social cliques, and even anti-social behavior all out there in full display online every day. In short, all the things that the internet was supposed to give us the ability to overcome, right? Giving everyone the “power to publish” was going to make more information and opinions available, help us all to understand each other better, help us not to be “elitist”, and help us overcome such bad social behavior. It hasn’t, for one simple reason, we don’t want it to. We clamor on and on about growing out of a clique mentality, about being open to new ideas and accepting of different people, but in the end, we all end up being with people who agree with us and are just like us. Even online, where the opportunities to share ideas with different types of people are endless, many of us still just share ideas with those we are most like and revel in the feeling that if these people all agree with us, well then we must be in the right.

I’d like to issue a challenge to all of my readers. Find one blog that you hardly ever agree with, and dedicate yourself to reading it everyday for a month. (That may be this blog for some of you!) For example, I’m going to try my darndest to read Shelley Powers blog everyday. Her liberal, West Coast biases run right up against my East Coast, working-class, conservative background, but she defends her ideas quite well, and is a very entertaining writer. Do I think reading her blog is going to turn me into a liberal? No, but reading it requires me to think about my ideas and why I believe in them, which is always a good thing. Will I be arguing with her in cross-blog writings? Probably not. I don’t want this blog to become a political discussion. This is, after all, a blog about technology, and will always be one. You don’t have to choose a political blog either, there are lots of blogs out there that are well done, but are written by people who you would normally have little time for, because they do not share your obsessions. Read them, see the bigger world out there! Let’s see if we can use the technology for some good, and turn around what has become an alarming trend, at least to me. Be sure to let me know if you take up this challenge, I’d love to do some followup.

Then again, maybe I’m the one with the problem? Hmm, maybe being on Paxil again wouldn’t be a bad idea.*L*

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