Blog voyeurism

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, School.
Monday, December 5th, 2005 at 9:55 am

My Qualitative Research class takes place in a computer lab, and our instructor requested on the first day that we not check our email or surf the web during class because it’s distracting. I quickly got her point. Every class, the girl sitting next to me is constantly flipping between her email, her blog, all of her friends’ blogs, and an instant messenger thingy. At first I thought she was being disrespectful to ignore the instructor’s request. But I’ve since decided that it’s not that at all. Now I believe that Internet Girl has tied her life to the web in so many ways that she is simply incapable of sitting in front of a computer screen without being logged in to her various forms of expression and communication with the world outside that classroom. I must admit that I myself have had days when I’ve had deadlines looming, the work is nowhere near done, and yet I still somehow can’t get myself to close my email. I just have to see any new messages the instant they arrive in my Inbox.

But Internet Girl takes it to a new level. The way she navigates quickly between writing an email, sending an instant message, and reading blog entries, and still manages to fully participate in the class discussion, well I can’t help but stand in a little bit of awe. But my instructor was right, it is very distracting and so I also can’t help but look at what she’s doing! I sit a little off to the side of the room, so in order for me to look at the instructor, Internet Girl’s computer screen is directly in my line of vision. So I catch little pieces – friends’ difficulties with career decisions, relationship issues, funny stories about trying to give her cat medicine, bits about last weekend’s night out that got a little too rowdy… Part of me feels a little voyeuristic about this, or like I’m violating her privacy, but she’s really not giving me any choice! She’s putting her life right in front of my face!

So then I had caught all of these little pieces of stories, but not any story in its entirety, either because I catch myself and make myself look away, or because she flips from one to another at warp speed. So of course I went home from class and found her blog and read it. She has like a whole blog world, it’s incredible! There is a list a mile long of links to all of her friends’ blogs and each of her entries has like 20 comments from these friends! So this must be what they all do too, sitting in class or at work writing entries every day, checking up on everyone elses, commenting. It’s interesting, because in a way they’ve created a pretty big responsibility for themselves, but at the same time I can’t help but think that they must know each other so much better than most friends since they share so many of their experiences with each other.

So I’ve started to feel a little weird siting next to her in class. Like I know all of this stuff about her life and yet we’d never said more than a few words to each other. And then. Last week, we struck up a conversation and talked for quite a while. It was all I could do to not just blurt out "I’ve read your blog!" But I restrained myself, and the conversation continued. Bruno came up, as he tends to do in my conversations, and she wanted to see a picture. Without thinking I went to our blog to show her the pictures of his birthday party. She made a comment about uploading pictures to Blogger, and I remembered that her blog is also on Blogger. I don’t think she caught the title of our blog, but what if she did? What if she has been reading all about my life now? What if she’s reading this entry about her right now?!?

Similar Posts:

6 Responses to “Blog voyeurism”

  1. Brent Says:

    This post is useless without links. ;)

  2. Karen Says:

    You know I debated linking to her site, but I decided that it’s one thing to be a voyeur myself, but quite another to promote it among others. But I’ve changed my mind. If she has a million people linked to her site then she probably is totally comfortable with anyone and everyone reading it. I have seen the error of my ways. I will edit.

  3. Rick Says:

    Man, now I’m starting to get nervous that I even started a blog… but no I don’t suspect I will get quite that caught up in it. I have too many house projects to spend time reading other people’s blogs! Just family for me.

  4. Peter Says:

    dudette, for real, I’m sure glad you did link it — did you see the post about the banana penquin? OMG, I’m dancing one on Madeline’s head RIGHT NOW! (but I don’t know what kind of noises to make)

  5. nator Says:

    Wow. Thanks to Peter’s comment I actually read some of Internet Girl’s blog, and… wow.

    Although, I’m not sure anything could top “OMG, I’m dancing one on Madeline’s head RIGHT NOW!”

    This day, which started so normally, has descended utterly into the surreal.

  6. SouthernCanadian Says:

    Hi! So there’s this site that tells you what other sites link to your URL…

    It’s actually a little of your theory and a little of the fact that I have lost my ability to focus on just one thing at a time. If I hadn’t been logged in to four things at once, I’d have been doodling or reading something else in my binder or…something. Although I apologize for distracting you!

    And don’t worry about feeling like a voyeur! I fully realize that everything I post is being put out there for the world to see, and I censor and edit accordingly.