For the second time in two days, I’ve seen posts about blogging and friends lists, and this has me thinking about both. Yesterday, I noticed that Yahoo! 360’s page provided a link to an interview with the guy who “does news” here on yahoo, and he talked about communication, getting to know other bloggers, and writing for others (not ourselves) on blogs; then today, I saw that one of the 360 Group comments was about adding a friend who had too much “adult material” on their page–I didn’t read this one because I know just what I would do (add them so fast my keyboard would be smoking! hehe. Okay, maybe not.), but it did get me thinking about our rights and responsibilities as bloggers.
Personally, I blog because it’s fun, I enjoy my blog buddies, and I like the social connection as well as the chance to practice my writing skills. But like many people, I don’t have multiple hours every day to devote to blogging, though sometimes I have been known to take that time.
I’ve also noticed that I’m a bit of a friend Grinch; I’m picky about who I have on my friends list, in part because anyone linking anyone off my page will make a connection between me and that person, so I don’t want to link to Charles Manson or the Olsen Twins (extremes, here, not grouping them). Another thing about friends lists that seems open to debate is what or how much we “owe” someone on our list. Personally, I take that pretty seriously–more so than I probably should, and I try to make it around to everyone’s page each time I log on. Of course this isn’t always possible, so I’ll drop a comment or leave some folks for the next time.
Reading that 360 Group comment heading, I got the sense that the blogger was concerned about turning down a friend for their friends list, even if that person was clearly not their cup of tea. So maybe I’m not just a friend Grinch, but a bit of a friend Nazi, too, because I have no problem declining invites on whatever grounds (no page to speak of, insipid entries, foreigners looking for green cards–and telling me that in the invite, no less!, that kind of thing), but also just because of the time constraints, relating back to my wishing to visit the pages of my friends with some regularity and having the time to read and respond to their blogs–these things take time to write, and whatever we write is a part of ourselves, so I try to respect that investment made by each person.
Now I’ve noticed that people handle the many many friends (I keep mine at about 20, so “many many” is over that to my mind) in different ways: sometimes, they just add people and never visit their pages at all, it’s like a high school popularity contest, seeing who can have the most friends, and in that regard smacks too much of myspace for my own way; sometimes, they add so many people that they can’t possibly read and keep up with everyone so they do daily wave, smile, hug, or sing bys on the small comments section (which is not to discourage this, it may be better than nothing, right? And I’ve been known to do this myself if I’ve not much else to say); sometimes, it just makes sense because of the blog content–those “inspirational” blogs or those “humor” blogs come to mind. If someone is blogging daily inspiration or jokes, then having an enormous readership is inevitable and, I think, takes the pressure off the blogger to go to each person’s page because of the anonymity of pasting “found” stuff each day; and sometimes, the blogger somehow manages to make everyone on a vast friends list feel noticed and important (this is very rare and wonderful, so I won’t name names). Maybe it’s just a personal thing, really, how many and what sort of blog friends we have . . . and are.
But I think that those friends plus our own personalitites and interests direct the types of blogs we write and how we write them. Chatty and informal works for some, structured and lecture-y works for others, and some mix works for still others. I’ve got people on my home page as “favorites” (but not as friends) whose pages I visit with some regularity (sometimes comment, sometimes not) because they write deep, insightful pieces about politics, religion, the world, or whatever flits into their heads. For me, blogging is about good friends, good writing, and good time management, and I often wonder what it is for others . . . ?