Sunday, January 21, 2007


Dialogue vs. Diary

I've been thinking for some time about why it is I'm not so inclined to post here more regularly, and I think some of it comes down to what kind of writer I am. It's probably the same reason I've always had trouble keeping a diary, although I write letters regularly.

It seems to me that the difference for a blogger is in whether you're seeking a diary or a dialogue. A diary - online or otherwise - gives you a place to record that is primarily for yourself. If other people read it, that's inconsequential. Perhaps one still writes with the idea of being read, but that's not the primary purpose. The need to write fuels the posts, dictates the subject matter, and keeps the writer posting whether there are comments or not.

The writer who seeks dialogue wants a response, wants some acknowledgement that the words have touched someone else. It explains why so many are seeking "publication" in blogs. I think I'm the kind of person who likes a response, but also, who likes to continue the discussion. Unfortunately, this particular blog engine isn't set up to do that very well, and therein lies my main problem. People can leave comments, but in order for them to hear my reply, they must deliberately check back to this journal and check the comments.

Other systems, such as, have a structure that sends replies to every comment by email. That means not only are conversations possible, it's possible to have layers of conversation with multiple participants. You can follow the thread of a discussion, receive notices if a particular blog is updated, etc. It seems to be doing far more in terms of allowing the kind of interaction I'm probably looking for.

So why am I here? Because all the other kids are? Because the majority of writers I know are participating in this blog space, and movement between blog spaces is still a difficult thing to negotiate. I'm trying to decide whether this works for me, though. I suspect it doesn't, but I'm not sure moving to somewhere like LJ is the answer either because the people that I'm currently talking to about writing are all here. LJ allows dialogue, but it also requires a certain amount of commuity building if you want people to respond.

That's where my head is right now. Thinking a lot about writing - the process, the particulars. Less of the actual writing going on, but I think that's okay for now.

I haven't used LJ. The threads of conversation sound great. Blogger suits my needs quite nicely right now. Rather than dialogue or diary, I see my blog as a house. People are welcome to pop by for a visit. Check out the new paint. Sit down for coffee. Shoot the breeze. Be silly with me. I guess I like the idea of having visitors. People who make a point of stopping by.
Well because I have my own site, if there was interest, I could setup a message board/forum which would allow all sorts of discussion. A hub. But, I am not going to do that unless there is actually interest. Hmm... I will go setup a poll on my site.
I really like the house metaphor. It's true, and that works for me in a way too, although the way this is set up is kind of that people drop by, leave a calling card, and only later do I realize they've been there. If I want to discuss what went on while they were at the house, I've got to go to their house ... which I suppose works too.
With the blog set to send comments to my inbox, I immediately know if people have come calling, and if I'm at the computer I can respond right away.
Oops, I mean with my blog set to send comments to my inbox...
Yes, I knew what you meant. And it's true ... I suppose, even though I'm at the computer a lot, I like being able to continue the dialogue whenever. See, if you got this comment without having to come back and check, the possibility of continuation is ensured.
True enough. However, I suspect most people who comment on a Blogger blog will come back to see if anyone has responded to their comment.

I've left comments on a LJ blog, but since I'm not registered, I had to return to see if there was a reply. Ya, that's easily remedied, I know I know. :)
True. I've learned to check back.

And that anonymous thing is easily resolved on LJ. Many people I know actually have LJ accounts just for the purposes of commenting on other people's journals. Just saying.
Ah. I really should get an account.
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