The Adventures of Marianne

Monday, December 06, 2004

Voyeurism vs Exhibitionism

Being new to this blogging thing, I just finished browsing through a fair amount of them (further exemplifying my procrastinatic nature) - and I have to admit, I feel like a bit of a snoop. I know, everyone publishing these blogs are publishing them voluntarily, but I wonder if everyone is aware of the people who actually read their personal accounts of their lives. I'm sure there are lots and lots of people who are check others' weblogs on a daily basis, and start feeling as if they are part of their lives, despite never having met or communicated with that person.

Maybe this new trend of weblogging is related to people's desire for celebrity - when you have large amounts of strangers following your life or your opinions, maybe you feel like a celebrity on some level. Usually, we only get this type of insight to celebrities' lives through paparazzi photography, trashy magazines and TV, but here, we can go straight into the personal lives of people with the click of a mouse.

I find it strange, because for years I've been trying to keep a diary or journal, but I've always stopped writing after a few entries, because it feels unnatural to write to no audience. Here, however, I've posted many times just in the last week, and I really don't think that I'm going to stop doing it! Since you either have some sort of audience (be it just randomers like myself who was browsing blogs out of boredom, or people becoming inreasingly obsessed with your life), or are there is a chance that someone might actually read what you write, is there greater incentive to actually write?

I have to admit that I've never been very exhibitionistic, but since I started this blog,I have had 2 comments from complete strangers, and for some reason I feel flattered. The comments were neither praise nor criticism, but I was still strangely happy with getting them. Maybe it's because when complete strangers are actually reading what you write, you feel like your perspectives and opinions matter - why else would someone read and actually comment on what you write?

Either way, I have to admit that I'm almost disturbed with how much interest I took in reading about others' lives. I know that curiosity is what leads to most major discoveries, debate, interest and so on, but why are we so curious about other people, when we don't even know them?


  • I think what you say is true. To some people, having a blog is their version of being on Big Brother. Then again, to others, it's a kind of therapy. To others still, it's way of making friends. When I stared my blog, I intended it only for a couple of friends to read. It never even once crossed my mind that people who didn't know me - never mind people from other countries! - would or could read it. But they did, and I read theirs. And it's great. In a few cases I can say that I've made genuine friends from this. For that alone, it's all been worthwhile. I just still can't believe people still want to read what I write!

    By Blogger Ian, at 4:38 pm  

  • The advantage that blogs have over diaries, Christmas letters, &c., is that you can let other people read them, but nobody has it forced upon them. Whether it's just your nearest and dearest, or your classmates, or some random asortment of strangers in other time zones, there is liable to be someone who does want to read it, and discovering who is (or isn't) interested can be quite educational.

    There are two kinds of voyeurs: the kind who find an exhibitionist to be their dream come true, and the kind who find an exhibitionist to be a spoilsport.

    By Blogger john_m_burt, at 4:46 pm  

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