My goal in being a blogger is multi-fold. I vent a bit, about the strange and inexplicable things that happen when you move to a foreign country. I try very hard to be amusing if at all possible. I started doing this for the same reasons that many people do, I wanted to document my experiences and thought that it might be fun to turn into a book (even if only a self-published volume like that of the awesome Female Science Professor, which got reviewed favorably in Nature of all places!)
I’ve been pleasantly surprised lately at the whole concept of the “blogging community”–people who read each others’ blogs regularly, and mostly I find myself reading and commenting on those of other expats–primarily but not exclusively Brits in the states and Americans over here. To me, this has formed a little network of cyber-friends, I don’t know these people in real life (i.e. in person) but over time a sort of pseudo-friendship develops that adds something bright and shiny to my average day, especially when I’m having a rough time and looking for someone to “talk” to (or perhaps, more appropriately given the media, to “talk” AT).
I came to blogging through a blog-like web forum for my technical community. When I first arrived here in the UK I would sometimes type notes about my experiences on my computer, but it was not until about 6 months after I moved here that I started writing in this sort of forum for anyone to see. For a short time I even maintained two separate blogs with completely unrelated names and posting pseudonyms; the second version has disappeared now that I got what I wanted to discuss off my chest, so to speak, as it was on a very specific topic.
The thing that motivates this post, and that has been puzzling me, is the tendency for people to post very negative comments on blogs. I don’t really understand the point–why waste the energy going to the trouble of making snarky comments about someone who you don’t even know? I’m all for the spirit of debate, for the discussions to be passionate and enthusiastic, but what does a person get out of extremely negative commentary? If the idea of this type of forum is related to a diary more than anything else, what is the purpose of saying “your opinion is all wet” when it’s just that, an opinion, an impression, a feeling? Investigative journalism may be the realm of many blogs, but it is not in my experience the purpose behind expat blogs or other personal stories that people have opened up their hearts to share with the world at large. It seems to me like it’s a waste of energy sending out so much negativity into cyberspace.