Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cyber-Etiquette (or I'm Not Stalking You, I'm Just Old)

I don't think of myself as old. Really, my hair is this color naturally. I can hoof four miles of mall at ten minutes a mile, pushing a stroller and forty pounds of kid, and I know my way around a computer pretty well. I've been programming computers before schools had them and I learned to do it from a workbook. I remember when computer screens were black with neon orange type and asteroids seemed like really advanced graphics. I owned one of the first laptops... one of those behemoths that required a suitcase with wheels to haul around. I mean, I'm not a computer engineer or anything, but I do double as the help desk for many friends and family who find themselves unable to discern why their computers are wigging out (okay, does that phrase date me??).

But though I get the technical side of things, the whole social thing, aside from email, is a mystery to me. I joined myspace just to be able to contact a long-lost friend who had a site, then suddenly started getting daily messages from old guys (by old I mean with grandchildren my age) so, adequately creeped out, I got rid of that.

Now I have blogger. And I discovered a world of other bloggers out there. People who are agents, and writers, and parents, and friends, and a lot of strangers that seem really neat. And a lot of these strangers are younger than me. Which makes me, the naturally blond, can kick your butt Wii skiing, completely able to set the time on my own DVD player thank you very much, the old person. Yikes!

I've found a few bloggers I really like. They are smart, sassy, funny. I want to tell them this. I want to write in their comments, I love this! You are amazing! Your life sounds fascinating and fun and I wish I were one of your friends because you sound just like someone I'd hang around with, except, you know, I'm all old and stuff and I'd embarrass you. But this post was hilarious and I totally relate. I check your blog every day because you totally rock!

And then I don't, because doesn't this sound a bit stalkerish?

What are the etiquette rules for blogging? Besides being civil and polite, is it okay to say, "I happened upon your blog and I really like it"? Is it okay to comment on what appears to be personal revelations or activities? Although I realize these things are put out into cyberspace with the awareness they are open to public access, do people want the public access? Do they want strangers peering into their lives?

It's a little like reality TV, except you actually can communicate with these people. It's reality computer. And I'm just afraid I'm the middle-aged woman everyone wants to vote off first.


  1. I'm not voting you off!

    I haven't figured it out either. Don't know the rules, don't know the etiquette. It's been 2 1/2 years and I still don't know how i feel about all this info I spew out into the world. I don't even know how many people read it, being not so good with technology.

    I do think I've attracted a pretty decent bunch of readers and I like that. I enjoy the interaction.

    I want to put your blog in my sidebar one of these days when I decide to go in and fix it up! It it's okay with you!

  2. You do have a good group of readers. I've noticed that you have attracted a lot of really supportive people who have a lot in common with you. That's awesome! I, for one, am very glad we "met." I enjoy finding out what is going on in your life and hearing from you. It feels like I've made a friend.

    I do like the interaction, too. I think it is a lot like reality TV... I see these people everyday just being themselves and I feel like I know them.

    I'd be honored to be in your sidebar. I'll put you in mine as soon as I can figure out why Blogger won't let me add anything anymore. :) Was is I who said I was good with the computer thing??