Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm Following, not Stalking!

Ms. Caroline Bender is a very, very casual acquaintance of mine who has an interesting blog [] that I have read off and on for a year or more. She has a knack with language and I enjoy her view of life. In November 2008 she published a blog a day for the entire month - I was very impressed with that accomplishment. When I started thinking about writing and publishing my own blog some months ago, I went back to hers and it gave me courage and ideas of how to start. You might even say that she is my unknowing mentor in this cyber world. So, a couple of days ago I signed up to "follow" her blog. It seemed easier than having to type in the URL every time.

Being new to this blog-thing, I did not realize that she would get notification that she has a new follower, and I certainly did not expect her to notice me (or the the other newbies that she has gotten this week). Not only did she notice, but she also wrote about me - well, us. And now I feel like a stalker.

The very anonimity of the web that makes it comfortable for me to pour my thoughts onto the electronic page, made it possible for me to click to her thoughts without her knowing I was there. I could see what she was thinking, or perhaps where she went last weekend, or what she did today. I could live vicariously in her posts - except now she knows. And now it's more like I am lurking in some dark cyber doorway across the alley from her factory, waiting for her to come out at the end of the shift, and follow her home. Or, actually waiting for her to write something.

And, isn't that one of the reasons we like the web so much, and simultaneously one of the problems? Ms. Bender and I can say anything we want - interesting or not. We can post any photo we want or push any idea we have, and as long as we remain anonymous there is no apparent danger, or harm. But behind every Ms. Bender and every webb there is a real person, who might not want her name or face "out there" for the world to judge. I heard this morning of a teen girl who committed suicide recently when a "sort of" boyfriend circulated a nude photo of her to all his friends at school and she became the butt [couldn't resist that - I apologize] of ridicule. She had sent him the photo, but it did not occur to her that he would circulate it. She lacked the anonimity that Ms. Bender and I enjoy, and which I do not wish to take away from Ms. Bender by following her.

That's a long way to say, "Ms. Bender, I admire your work and enjoy reading your posts. Knowing a bit about you gave me courage to try my hand at stringing words together to form a whole that might be interesting, if only to me. I am only following you, not stalking."

And, Ms. Bender, I'll say "hi" to Marn when I see her next Wednesday for breakfast!

1 comment:

  1. With love from the Drawing In room. Thanks for your kind thoughts and compliments. I do not feel stalked at all, and am pleased to have followers. I follow many others myself. I know what you mean about feeling like you "know"someone just by reading their ongoing commentary and putting together the pieces of their life. I hope you have followers of your own, and are brave enough to comment on the blogs of others, even if you do not know them. We're all in this together.

    So thanks for the acknowledgement. Keep writing! You just made it into my blogrool, friend. ~~CB