Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Dialog Required

Here's a thought about the internet... or maybe just blogs in general... they are not an interactive media, despite the possibility of the technology allowing for two way communication. It is the rare person who desires actual responses to anything they say online.

Evey now and then, when I read something on a blog that I find particuarly interesting,  I will send an email directly to the author. I will only do this when I have something interesting to add, or a good question to ask. I will take my time and write a solid email, taking pains to make it neither too long, nor too short... to not be too obvious or too obscure, and so on. I will applaud their work, frame my comments, and then add my own, or ask a question. I can't imagine that the author would mind engaging someone that had a strong connection to what they wrote.

Much to my disappointment, I find that these authors take very little interest in developing a dialog with me. I'm pretty sure that the writer wants their blog to be "hit".. and they want responses to blog entries to show up online... but that is not the same as a dialog. In this respect, they are exhibitionistic. It's as if they stand naked in a window, wanting to be seen... but if you knock on their door, they throw on their clothes and turn out the lights.

I further suppose that this same author (who I am generalizing here)... if they seek some perspective other than their own... will search for it using search engines. In this way, they become voyeuristic... they want to view others from the safe distance of the technology. The want to peak in the windows of others... but if they were invited in by the person they spy on... they run away.

Exhibitionism and voyeurism are a particular kind of bifurcated experience... an indirect contact... which isn't really contact at all. On the one hand, it is the EXPOSURE of exhibitionism... on the other hand it is the OBSERVATION of the voyeurism. But exposing and observing, when done in isolation, do not add up to human contact or communication.

On the internet, everything is mediated from behind the screen of technology. Voyeurism and exhibitionism. If this was someone's approach to sex, we'd say they might have intimacy issues... but online.. it's business as usual.