Thursday, November 03, 2005

Blogging vs. email discussion lists

I suppose you might say it's the introversion factor. I like to process things internally and then hear conversation rather than to process everything externally via conversation. So maybe that's why I prefer blogging to discussion lists.

Or maybe an analogy can be made with telemarketing: after you get so many of them, you just get tired and stop answering the phone altogether. If a discussion list gets too full of stuff you just don't want to wade through, even with the delete key, you stop looking at it altogether.

Blogging seems so much more polite than discussion lists. You blog. People can read or not. You aren't clogging up anyone's inbox. You're just putting it out there. Read it or not. You don't even have to make a decision about deleting. You go there or you don't.

And because a blog actually has to sort of appeal to readers in a way that writers on discussion lists don't (at least just to appear in your inbox and take a portion of your attention), the blogger might be prompted to actually write something worth reading. Or just write and not care, but that not caring doesn't really impinge on anyone's time or attention. (See above.)

Just thinking after having deleted a whole slew of email messages from a certain discussion list and thinking about how much I'd rather read one entry from my fellow bloggers than all that stuff and stuff and stuff.

It's sort of odd, though, because I tend to think conversation is a good thing. Blogging, on the face of it, looks more like monologue. But it isn't. Even this message is embedded with past conversations, past topics on other blogs I frequent, and looks forward to future conversation, even if not in response to this particular entry.


Keri said...


Whenever I mention to someone my project for my qualitative class, they ask me how blogging is different than anything else. I was reading an article, it was pubishlished in ACM, but I can't think of the author's name. The article said that listservs, or discussion lists, were more interactive than blogs. That kind of surprised me at first, but it makes sense.

I never spent much time reading those listservs, and it annoys me when I think the email is for me and really it's just answering a silly question and was sent to everyone.

Donna said...

I don't know that listservs are necessarily more interactive. Some blogs are extremely busy: see Michael Bérubé's for instance.

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