Thursday, July 24, 2003


33 days later . . .

I feel a bit silly at having to write two posts about my long absence from the blogosphere almost back-to-back. This has been an exhausting summer, for many reasons. I’ve been to D.C. twice since the end of May: once for my grandfather’s funeral, and once for a vacation (!) that I really needed, but which was also exceedingly emotionally draining in a way.

Even though I haven’t been writing here, necessarily, I have been writing more offline: journal entries, letters to my grandmother (who’s 90 and just returned home from a lengthy hospital stay), and so on. This is a kind of writing I don’t often indulge in. I enjoy blogging more than almost any other type of writing (except critical papers which, even with all the griping about how much I hate them at the end of the semester, I do really enjoy). I’m not sure why. Many bloggers have tackled the topics of privacy, disclosure and online versus offline identities. I think I am a more candid and open person online than I tend to be in real life, but in the last thirty-three days I have felt the need to write about things I don’t feel comfortable expressing on my blog. I think part of why I disappeared may have been because, if I sat down at the keyboard, there’s a chance I would have shared something that I might later have regretted sharing online. I still maintain that anything put in a blog post is fully public information. If it would upset me if a friend, family member, professor, colleague, or advisor read what I wrote, then it’s something better expressed in a more private forum than the ‘net.

Of course, I also think that I have the right to say whatever I want online, with very few exceptions grounded in the legal system: libel, violation of nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements, and so on – I can still say or write words that would constitute these things, but the consequences for these actions are a bit more clearly delineated by our legal system. I’m writing this thinking of a friend who was recently fired for blogging. Pretty unbelievable. The consequences of blogging from work or about work are certainly, in most cases anyway, are not clear-cut. This makes me realize that, even though the Internet is a common feature of our daily lives, in many situations we as a society have not formulated acceptable and accepted norms for online behavior and discussion. I think my friend’s blog is well-written and witty, and I don’t see a problem with content, nor do other bloggers. So what prompted the termination? What is it that bothered management so much but didn’t even show up as a blip on blogosphere radar? How is it that blogs and bloggers disrupt the line between private and public? Thoughts to ponder.

- posted by laurie @ 7/24/2003 07:32:00 PM
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