the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.


Voyeurs, Us All

THE INTERESTING THING about blogs is how we are permitted to peer into other people’s lives. More interestingly, they are willing exhibitionists. I remember a time when reading someone else’s dairy would have been the ultimate intrusion, invasion even, of their privacy.

How many blogs do you read a day? How many would qualify one as a blog junkie? I reckon I
peek into the lives of 10 or so total strangers on a daily basis. Not enough to be considered a junkie, I think. But I digress.

These strangers permit us to peep through their blog-windows through which we see all kinds of things. Mostly, it’s a glimpse of a small part of their lives. Some share their political views. Others talk about work, faith, relationships or non-relationship.

For some people, a blog is used to expose thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears that the person can’t (or won’t) share with others in person.

"I can feel connected to others who are like minded.
When I can read what others think and deal with,
it validates some of my own struggles and thoughts."

And often, they bare all. Whether in graphic detail or shrouded in ambiguity that usually end up (paradoxically) revealing rather than concealing. When they do, it looks a bit like they are doing a nudie run from the shower to the bedroom

"I would die if my friends/family know I own this blog."

And I feel like a peeping tom.

This morning, I read one person tell of the heart break of being the number 2 wife, another shared the more intimate details of last night’s date, a third shared of a faith crisis, a fourth shared his anguish of losing a loved one, and another posted a digital photo of a rash, perhaps in hope of an online diagnosis. All that quite apart from the usual angstier-than-thou gang.

Today is only a so-so day. Some days it gets more graphic and 'entertaining'.

I wonder what makes people share such intimate details about their lives. What might be the impact of sharing such personal details in such a public way.

"I'm not sure I needed to know that."
... was one blogger’s response to an out-of-the-blue (Freudian?) slip on a funeral for a cherry.

At the same time, I wonder what makes people (including most of us) want to read about the personal crises, questioning faith and rashes of complete strangers?

"I find it compelling, as i jump from blog to blog...
of people i know... the ones of people i wish i knew ...
people i hope to never meet but i find very interesting to read about.
[…] So from blog to blog, you skim along. Looking at the occassional webcam,
catching a moment that someone never intended to show.
But they did put a lot of effort into showing it, didn't they?"

Everyday we're bombarded by people baring their all. And we barely raise an eyebrow. We are a voyeuristic society. We clamor for the inside world, to see the real lives of others, yet at the same time are becoming more and more numb to it all.

If it’s easier to be vulnerable to a computer than to a fellow human, would people eventually forget how to interact with each other altogether? What happens a few years from now when everyone has a blog, and use it as the only place in which they candidly express themselves?



Blogger Jennifer said...

It's already happening. It began happening when IRC became popular 10 yrs ago. During our infamous Mamak Gatherings, meeting these usually closeted individuals (me included) was an eye-opening (and scary) experience because you realise how different people are online and offline.

I even wrote an article for many yrs ago about how much of a social retard I've become since I became addicted to IRC.

Not funny, I tell ya.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Lucia Lai said...

many people like to use blogs as sort of personal diary! they share what happens in their lives day by day. for me, i'm not into that.

some people apart from sharing personal experiences, like to as they themselves call it 'bitch' in their blog i.e. talk about other people, complain about this and that, tell why they like this or that, why they don't like this or that,k tell thier observations on people, things, stuffs, etc. for me, sometimes i do lean to this category.

i prefer to grumble/complain about political and social issues! but once in a long while, i like to blog on personal stuffs.

5:17 PM  
Blogger mamat said...

Good insight.

The real reason blogs are catching up is that we have problem revealing our true-self elsewhere, no readily available medium and for fear of retribution, in any kind.

It works the same for me, I need to let off steam, but where could I write it to; but at the same time, too afraid of being put behind bars but un-tolerant administration of the country to write it using my own name.

Keep on voyeuring, :)

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the direct mode too the contacts that one have may not readily share any similar outlook and interest.

It's can be a hopeless process to physically sieve through all that normally limited number of people we know. They tend to be too busy too with other mundane concerns too.

The Net changed that arduous means into something much more least intellectually and sentiment wise. Less readily choked by sheer banalities.


9:51 PM  
Blogger Elaine said...

i think people blog cause they're lonely. i think we have a need to want to talk to someone and the illusion that someone on the other side (browsing somewhere on PPS) might become our listeners, that's why we blog... because we need to talk and we think that someone out there might be listening. i think it's always easier to let a stranger know about the affair you're having than to talk it out with... say, your cousin, that's why we blog. My dad WOULD kill me if he found out that i went to Fukuoka in Japan for a concert, but it's okay if everyone else who requents PPS knows about it. after all, the money didn't come from them.

i think people read other blogs because they're bored. i think people read other blogs just because there is a natural need in us for "entertainment"... and i do feel that reading the lives of someone else is a form of entertainment. plus, it's interactive too... if you leave comments (such as this one).

Some say blogs are the new form of journalism... and i do think it is. we're all our own opinion editors on our blog.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Damocles said...

I had never thought of blogging and reading blogs as voyuerism / exibitionism. Interesting concept, perhaps thats the hook!

7:51 AM  
Blogger percolator said...

e-communication allows us to communicate w/out emotion. The reader can't look into your eyes, hear the tension in your voice, or read your expression.

Just type away, no interruptions or contradiction and send. Every one is insulated.

See how adults behave like little kids with big trucks when it comes to blogging. Just you look at so many of those angry, mean-spirited blog entries and comments.

And it's no longer only teens who are pressured to post with angst(those that apologise for having nothing 'exciting' to say)

It's surprisingly easy to insult, disparage, demean, belittle, intimidate. Whatever rage is stewing inside you, just plonk yourself at the keyboard and open a vein.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Verily, percolator, wrt to those puerile outbursts, the soc. culture malaysia newsgroup fits that bill nicely. Some regulars there too never mature or progress to more suitable blogs. The haunt the scene with their ego tripping, looking for a fight.

Incidentally looking into onother's eyes everytime itself may not always be a fitting habit unless there is justifiable reasons to. It works both ways and if pursued merely by one party, can actually be an invasive proclivity. This should occur naturally and should not be taken as ones right(in expectation).

I know of people who probably thinks that they have that queer right to read your mind everytime, being unaware that we perceived that they're overdoing it.


12:11 AM  

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