Today’s self-indulgent blog entry is about online community and my relationship to it. The more I think about it, the more I perceive myself as being like a puppy. Puppies are social creatures. They want love and affections from their masters. They have lots of energy to jump around and play, and they will play with you much longer than you are interested in playing back. Unlike older dogs they are often impulsive and imperfectly trained. They have accidents. Sometimes when puppies are play fighting with you they nip too hard, and you get hurt. They don’t mean to hurt you; they are just unaware of their limits.
There’s no need to explain how this simile relates to my online behaviour, so I’ll do it anyways. It is abundantly clear that I am not very good at blogging myself, and that I have run out of things to say. But I enjoy playing with other bloggers in their comment sections. I crave attention and affection, but sometimes I nip too hard and feelings get hurt. Occasionally, a few bloggers throw a stick for me to fetch a few times, but I tire them out quickly. Other bloggers are busy doing two-foot things to engage much, and still others don’t like puppies (in particular this puppy) that much. I try to recognise when bloggers don’t want to play, but it is difficult for my puppy brain to understand that you don’t want to spend every waking minute keeping me entertained. I may exist in the world of two-foots but that doesn’t mean I comprehend it.
One disappointing aspect of blogs is that they tend to be one-to-many interactions. The blogger in question makes a post, some commenters respond to that blogger, and sometimes the blogger writes back. Sometimes I wish blogs were more like dog parks, where commenters could sniff each others’ butts and run around together independent of the blogger. Old bulletin board systems had that property, but it is mostly gone now. The blogosphere is okay, and I am grateful to read the blogs of so many thoughtful, erudite, and intelligent people, but I miss group interaction, and I treasure it when I see it happening in your comment sections. This is not to say that dog parks are perfect. Sometimes they get noisy and chaotic. Sometimes there are mean dogs that will growl and make me feel unwelcome. But they can be a nice alternative to one-on-one walks.