That last post didn't go as I expected. But it does lead into more of my thoughts about blogging. As a Sociologist who studies media and communication, blogging has become an increasing interest for me (you know something I'll research "when I have time"). As a blogger, part of a lively and interactive knitblogging community (who also participates in some feminist blogs, but more on the sidelines), I also spent some time thinking about what blogging means and what it feels like to be part of a subculture.
The knitting subculture is vast and diverse but also has some unique/special elements that I really like. It is a virtual community that links to real geographical spaces and real people. Some people you "know" in cyberspace only, others in both worlds and some you know in "real life" but may not read their blogs. It's also a generous, encouraging, vocal community. We read the blogs, comment on the posts, participate in message boards and Yahoo groups and also in local stitch'n'bitches and knitting circles. We knit for charities together, send bloggers secret pal gifts, knit each other socks, swap yarns and patterns, run contests, participate in challenging feats and mix the real and the virtual.
Some of us also share in life's more personal triumphs and tragedies and mix knitting life and social life. Hell, we even drink together. There's something unique about it in my limited trollings of the virtual world, and I'm quite happy to be part of it. Maybe there are legions of other crafters and artists who do this too, frankly I haven't really checked. But I don't see the same connections in the feminist blogs--people don't plan protests and consciousness raising groups together or make those "live" connections through the virtual ones so openly as in the knitting online community. And I know what counts as live and virtual is sometimes blurry, but I don't think we've hit the world envisioned by William Gibson yet where there is nt distinction. I think human connections in the real world matter, even if their beginnings are forged through the internet.
And honestly, I don't think I would blog if people didn't come by and say hello sometimes. I do my best to reciprocate on the blogs I read which is partly how I maintain the readership I have here. Blogs can also be about networking and putting in the time to communicate with others, just like other relationships. Commenting is a way of saying "hey, how are you?" and often makes me click over to the commentor's space to see what's up or drop a friend an email to say hi (because I know not everyone has a blog).
That's why I find commentless blogs sort of startling. Sure people can blog without comments--why not? But if they're just for you and some friends, why make them public or have a comment function at all? What are people's motivations to blog? Do they want interaction or just a space to write and think? Do they want the comments to all be supportive or a space to exchange ideas and discuss and debate or can it just be a free-for-all (I'm good on the discuss/debate part)? I don't have the answers, but I sure think a lot about the questions.