Sunday, December 21, 2008

The friendship of blogging

I wrote yesterday about the different ways one has to read different blogs, how one has to evaluate a blog post by Andrew Sullivan (from whom I copped this title) differently from mine because he has other outlets for his writing. I also said that I didn't think blogging was as significant as some people think, not yet.

But I got to thinking about that, and I hearkened back to a Sullivan post from early in the month where he quoted a reader on the death of the blogger Tanta of Calculated Risk:
[I]t was so much more than just knowing of someone passing; it was indeed like losing a friend, and the feeling surprised me. I didn't even know what she looked like, and yet I felt a bound with her through her interactive writing.
We're taught as youngsters that looks don't matter, that beauty is only skin deep, then we receive thousands upon thousands of messages telling us just the opposite.

Perhaps this is the biggest benefit of communication through the Internet, that we can apprehend someone's ideas without preconceptions of visual appearance. We can at least get closer to the ideal of understanding people through the quality of their thought.

Of course, not every trend is heading this way. The Chicago Tribune has taken to printing pictures next to the letters in the Voice of the People area, perhaps in an attempt to personalize the writers. Only proves to me that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

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