October 25, 2005

Stealth blogging

When I'm reading blogs at home, sitting at my desk with a cup of hot tea, a slab of dark chocolate, and a stack of ungraded essays at my elbow, I tend to read in a systematic way, using a site reader to look at blogs that have been updated, clicking through if I want to leave comments. I'm checking in with my regular readers, my friends. But on MWF, when I am on campus, sitting at my desk between classes, I don't use a site reader or even my own blogroll. I don't like to put my own blog up on the screen because it could be seen by students who come into the office.

Instead, I choose a blog and begin with that blogroll, just clicking and surfing to any blog that looks promising. I don't leave comments because I know I can get interrupted at any moment: I read a few posts and surf to the next blog. Although I do like the community building aspects of blogging, I have to say that surfing blogs this way, especially if I choose ones that I don't regularly read, has its own fascinating appeal. It's like working in a restaurant and overhearing interesting bits of conversation. When I'm travelling by train, I love the glimpses I get of towns and cities as we roll past, sometimes stopping long enough at a station for me to stare out at the people outside who are just going about their normal life. Surfing blogs feels the same way, bringing me bits and pieces of people's lives from all over the country.

18 comments:

Teri said...

It's exactly that feeling, the sense of little pieces of other peoples life, that got me interested in blogging in the first place.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I got started in blogging by reading one blog and then going through the blog roll there. Sort of random, but I stumbled into what feels to me to be almost a community of bloggers who read and comment on each other. So I stuck around.

Occassionally I have gone through someone's archives becasue what they have written makes me want to know more about them.

But I don't know about site readers...how does one get such a thing (sorry for being dumb about these things.)

BTW, hot tea and dark chocolate sounds pretty good right now, but I'll pass on the essays to grade. Unless you'd like to trade off for some sermon-writing? :)

jo(e) said...

Rev Dr Mom: Well, my kids say I give sermons all the time, so I ought to be able to whip a few of those together in no time at all.

Try www.bloglines.com for one of the most commonly used site readers.

Friday Mom said...

I love the connection to riding along in a train. It's a lot like that for me too.

mc said...

Funny the strategies we use to control our blog reading at work! My rule used to be that I could only look at four blogs at the office; the rest were for home. And I don't have them bookmarked -- I typed in the URL the first time, and now IE remembers it for me. But then I started wandering through the blogrolls on those four... It's not completely out of control yet -- still no blogs bookmarked at work! -- but my desire to check in on all those little worlds is growing.

lostinthemiddle said...

Jo(e), so well put. And, Teri, that's what keeps me reading, too: the little bits of people's lives.

I've been thinking a lot about the phrase that I see pretty often on blogs that goes something like "I haven't made any posts of substance recently because . . . ." And, I think, but what is substance?!

There *is* such substance and sustence in the everyday of (other) people's lives. And such pleasure to be found in descriptions, language, word pictures, vision and insight.

Yours in particular, Jo(e).

jo(e) said...

Thanks, lostinthemiddle.

Laura said...

I like to surf blogs too. I will sometimes start with my own blogroll and pick a blog that I haven't read in a while, then follow one of their links and so on. I often bump into blogs that I end up reading more regularly. There are so many interesting things to read!

susan said...

I have a couple of strategies I use: sometimes I surf blogroll to blogroll (pick a blog to read, pick a blog off its blogroll, then a blog off that blog's blogroll etc.). Sometimes I click through my own blogroll. Or through a few I have bookmarked in different folders (professor blogs, mama blogs, occasional blogs for things I like to check every now and then). Other weeks I'll really focus reading on one or two. (but on Wednesday I'm always at Phantom Scribbler's several times to check on the whining in progress). I like the ways all these strategies let me peek at different things. Surfing allows glimpses of lives in so many places, so many motivations for writing, so many forms. The more focused reading gets at themes I may be pondering myself. I love the variety.

halloweenlover said...

I do the same thing, but depending on the day. Some days I scroll through my blogroll methodically, some days I randomly surf, going from blog to blog on other's blogrolls.

I feel that it is almost like peeking into people's lives. Seeing lots of secrets and intimate thoughts. I love it!

jess said...

Back when I was allowed to use the internet at work, I used a method similar to yours - start with a blog, and click from blogroll to blogroll. I always got ticked off at bloggers who didn't have generously sized blogrolls. It felt like a dead end - I had to turn around and go back.

Now that I just check at home, I use bloglines, and rarely use blogrolls. Maybe I should mix it up a little.

By the way, I like the train analogy, too. I also like how you never know what you'll find when you click.

Colleen said...

I've done the same thing. In fact, I think that might have been how I found your blog.

peripateticpolarbear said...

I surf blogroll to blogroll and it is,in fact, how I found jo(e). Worked for me!

Running2Ks said...

That's a refreshing and fun way of doing it.

Piece of Work said...

I love to surf blogs that way too--except the one thing that bothers me: I may stumble onto a blog that I really connect with but then get pulled away before i remember to blogroll it. And I can never remember how to get back to it.

Piece of Work said...

I love to surf blogs that way too--except the one thing that bothers me: I may stumble onto a blog that I really connect with but then get pulled away before i remember to blogroll it. And I can never remember how to get back to it.

DaniGirl said...

Those are the two things that make blogs so fascinating to me: the chance to peek into somebody else's medicine cabinet, and the serendipity of following links at random. It's like walking down the street at night and peeking into lit windows, without the risk of being called a peeping Tom!

I've been thinking about trying bloglines, but am such a creature of habit that I am reluctant to leave blogrolls behind. (blush)

DaniGirl said...

P.S. Besides, setting up bloglines would take away from precious blogsurfing time - that's the real reason I haven't done it yet!