Over the past few days I’ve been watching a comments thread blow up into this massive derail where eventually people just starting really freaking out and saying really awful things to each other. I’ve refrained from commenting myself, despite the strong urge to pipe in (for no good reason, I might add), but I’ve been watching it all unfold like a really slow trainwreck. And even though I didn’t end up personally hurt or offended by jumping into the fray, nonetheless it’s gotten me thinking again about whether this whole blogging thing is really worthwhile.
I mean, at its worst, blogging can be really alienating. Internet anonymity can truly bring out the worst in people, from vicious slurs to crazy site attacks to threats that spill over into real life. And I sometimes wonder if all this venom going back and forth can do anything but get in the way of productive discourse. Are we really all just sitting around at our keyboards, wasting life away while we pwn each other from afar?
But then I think about how I started reading blogs. If it weren’t for Feministe and Feministing I might not identify as a feminist. Because I’m not a big news consumer, I never would’ve found out about a lot of things going on in the world. If I hadn’t started reading Dooce I might not have wanted to blog myself, and I never would’ve been linked by one of the bloggers I admire and respect the most.
There isn’t really a Grand Point to this post. I wish there were a little more kindess in the world, and a little more civility online. I hope we’re actually engaging in coalition-building. I know that every time someone comments here, I get a little thrill. I love knowing that someone somewhere far away is thinking about the same things that I am, even for just a moment.
(Yes, this is the “I love you guys” part of the post, and I haven’t even been drinking. This entry has officially jumped the shark.)