Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can You Feel Intimacy From Blogging?

I've been quiet on this blog lately, thinking about why I blog -- what's good about blogging and what's not so good.

My life has been going through the usual ups and downs. One "good" about blogging about my life is that it's very therapeutic to write my thoughts down. I often journal privately and just the act of writing down my thoughts and feelings helps me think more clearly. My mood comes through. If I notice that my words are negative and that I'm in pity-party-mode, I play "therapist" with myself. If I'm in a happy mood, I write about why I'm happy -- the awesome things I'm experiencing and about the people I'm spending time with. Reading about these things when I'm in one of those down moods reminds me of how much I have to be grateful for and helps me snap out of the pity party.

Now, private journals are one thing, but blogging and making these feelings public can be... well, both good and bad. Exposing our vulnerabilities and making a connection with someone who understands what we're feeling is wonderful. You feel this intimacy with someone who you've never met.

There are bloggers and writers who have such a talent for enveloping me with their words of wisdom. So while writing and reading my own journals is nice, sharing with a fellow-blogger who is able to so clearly articulate exactly the feelings I'm trying to describe -- well, when that happens, I feel like I've met a kindred spirit out here in cyberspace who really understands me and it warms my heart.

I read a post this morning, Have You Found the Two Great Treasures of Blogging?, in which the author, Stu, talked about the importance of building "community" when we blog. I agree that this "community" and the virtual friendships I've made is probably the biggest benefit I've gotten from blogging.

What about romantic relationships? Can they develop from a virtual friendship? I know that I'm a sucker for the written word. One time I met a guy from online dating and we used to write these wonderful emails back and forth where we shared so much of our lives. He called it "eIntimacy" and I thought it was a very cool word. It's a new form of intimacy that really wasn't available to us before we had the Internet.

However, one of the things that makes "intimacy" intimate is that it's one-on-one and personal. When you are sharing with the world, it takes away from the intimate nature of the conversation. You are no longer sharing your feelings with someone special, you're sharing them with everyone, which actually seems to be the opposite of intimacy.

What do you think? Have you met virtual friends from blogging? Do you feel like blogging can enhance or detract from having an intimate connection with someone? Should our deepest feelings be saved for truly intimate relationships rather than airing them on a public blog?


Popo said...

Hey girl! You know I've thought about blogging but the first thought in my head is always: "Why would anyone have an interest in my thoughts?!" (The same goes for facebook, twitter, etc.) To put it bluntly, my life is not exciting but only to myself. Therefore, the only good reason I think I would write a blog is for myself as you talked about. Then it might as well be a private journal. Then the catch is: is it worth writing down my thoughts for only myself when they're already rolling around in the voids of my head. Sounds like an eternal dilemma that we can only accept and just pick one! Years from now when thoughts fade from our brain, you and your children will read it and get an insight into the details of your life in which you will find invaluable as a learning tool as well as good blackmail material. Your bravery is admirable, Y-Dog.

Yvette said...

Hey Popo!
I meant to send you an email on Sunday. A belated Happy Father's Day!

You are a perfect example of someone who absolutely should blog. Why? Because you are incredibly insightful and have a wonderful writing style!

I know it's easy to think that no one will care, and it's true that with this vast cyberspace full of millions of blogs, it very well may be that hardly anyone will find/read your blog (unless you work hard at promoting it or become famous.)

But even if one person stumbles upon it and feels like they can relate, won't it be worth it? You may just meet your "soulmate" (or at least a new friend!)

As for thinking your life isn't exciting... EVERY life is exciting. EVERY person has a story in them. I know that I relate much more to someone who is "real" with real emotions than fictional characters, even if fictional characters have more "exciting" lives.

I hope you decide to blog some day, Popo. I know for sure you'll have at least one person who will be interested and most likely you will get a whole following!

Jennifer said...

I think it is great that you contemplate things like this. I like to think that you can feel intimacy from blogging, but it is not a direct thing. I think that intimacy can grow out of your blogging but the act of sharing your thoughts and feelings in a post open to the world, doesn't necessarily create that intimacy -- it is more of an invitation to grow into intimacy. Not sure if that makes any sense, but it is a theory I am developing. I just don't think that we can ever fully be ourselves when we are in front of such a public space. It is in moments of more private dialogue that we truly open ourselves up to intimate moments with others (here, I find myself thinking of the e-mails you mentioned in your post).

Thanks for a really thought-provoking post!

Yvette said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jennifer.

I remember once hearing that intimacy was "shared vulnerabilities." In other words, it's not enough if only one person is being vulnerable. In order for there to be intimacy, two people have to trust each other to be vulnerable to one another.

I agree that when one person is vulnerable online it may invite someone else to contact them, perhaps telling their own story and then an intimate relationship may develop between two people.