Day 119. Prying Eyes?

Here’s a dichotomy for you.  Or then again, maybe I’m just imagining it.  Or simply being neurotic.  Paranoid.  Or just plain crazy.  Let me know what you think.  I’ve been blogging for quite a few spyingyears now.  And one of the aspects I really enjoy is reading, and responding, to the comments fellow bloggers make.  Comments left on my own posts, and on other blogs I follow.

I love reading all the individual points of view.  The different perspectives.  Often times, conversations go back and forth for a while; and they’re really interesting to follow or, even, participate in (on Facebook as well).  We’re actually developing ‘friendships’, of sorts.

And I am always amazed that so many take the time to read the posts of others; and also share their opinions, offer words of encouragement and even recommend the blogs they enjoy to their followers.  It is a very interesting, interested and generous community we are part of.  And very civil.  At least here on WordPress.

So what’s my problem?

Hey, I never said there was a problem.  Just that I’m wondering if there could be two sides to this coin.  Different sides.  I’ll explain.

Yesterday morning I did what I always do.  I spent a little time catching up on some of the blogs I enjoy.  And, like I always do, I went through the comments.  And all of a sudden, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, I felt guilty.  I felt like I’d been caught in the act of reading someone’s mail.  Rifling through the papers on their desk.  Or worse, through their drawers (I SWEAR I have never, and would NEVER do such a thing!).

It made me feel like a voyeur.  Like I was being nosy.  Like I was sticking my nose into somebody else’s business.  Snooping around.  Eavesdropping. It made me kind of uncomfortable.  So I hit the ‘back’ button and high-tailed it out of there.  Out of WordPress, too.  And went offline.  I even shut down my computer, albeit not for that long.  I’m too addicted.  Can’t stay away.  That’s a whole other problem I should delve into one of these days.  But not today.

Have you ever felt that way?  It is ridiculous, I am sure.  The blogs are specifically set up for people to leave, and read, comments.  And if we (the bloggers) don’t want to publish comments that are made, we don’t have to.  So if we hit ‘approve’, we’re knowingly and willingly making them public.  Plus, commenting on other blogs is a recommended way to build our own audiences, for our own blogs.  So clearly everyone’s okay with it.  It’s also the way I get introduced to blogs I wasn’t aware of.

When I see what some folks have to say, and it’s insightful or funny or clever or what have you, I click through to their blogs.  And usually really enjoy what they have to say, and end up following them.  And so on and so on and so on and so on.

So what’s my problem?

This has never bothered me before.  I wasn’t reading anything that I would consider personal.  All the comments were about the content of the blogs.  Personal opinions and feelings, to be sure.  But they were already out there, for the world to see.  So clearly, nobody was concerned about their privacy.

There was a time I thought that being a private detective might be fun.  I think it may have been when Bruce Willis and the blonde (can’t remember her name) had a TV show about a detective agency. Anyway, it doesn’t look like I’m cut out for that line of work, does it?  It’s a shame, really, because I was always very good at figuring out ‘who done it’.

Guess this means working for the CIA’s out, too.  Maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe between WikiLeaks and Rupert Murdoch and the Petraeus scandal, I’m starting to look over my own shoulder.

Well.  It looks like I’ve managed to work through it, and it’s all good.  Unless you tell me otherwise, I’ll go back to reading comments.  I am curious, though.  Have you ever felt weird reading through all the comments people leave?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

17 thoughts on “Day 119. Prying Eyes?

    • I know. I am of two minds about it. I do enjoy seeing what others think. It’s like being at a dinner party, where the conversation is really interesting; and yet, at the same time it can feel like you’re eavesdropping on a conversation that has nothing to do with you.

      • Exactly. The comments that we see (except the “Likes” which can be just a passing glance) views expressed by the individual reader/writer. In a way, in this context, reading them could create more insight about the subject being discussed. Here we do not need to think that we are poking our nose where the other person’s nose starts. Jo

      • Yes, it does provide more insight; and it also extends the conversation, which is great. And often takes it well beyond the original parametres created by the author, in the first place. Which is why I like reading all the comments. In that context it is not rifling through someone’s drawers, I agree.

  1. After having been involved with a message board community for the past 12 years that even back in the days when we were “moderated” (we started from the official website of a popular primetime television show) was essentially a glorified chat room, I am completely numb to this concept. I am used to open sharing and seemingly personal conversations out there for all to see. I can see how it might seem awkward for some people though….

    • I’ve not been involved as long as you have, but it has been a fair number of years. I’ve never felt ‘awkward’ or weird before. It was a ‘moment’ when I felt like I was reading someone else’s mail. I have no idea what brought it on. But I thought it might make for an interesting post. Got curious about whether that’s ever happened to anyone else. Of course blogs are ‘open’ forums. If they weren’t, what would the point be? And God knows, my posts are very frank. I willingly share a lot of quite personal information, thoughts, emotions etc. That wasn’t the issue. It was about ‘listening in’. Definitely too much Rupert Murdoch 🙂 Thanks for your comment. You’ve made me think about it. And that’s always good!

  2. Very interesting. I’ve only been blogging about 7 months but never had that experience and I, too, like to read the comments on other blogs. I think it may have to do with something in the unconscious being triggered…like in your case reading other blogger comments triggering that weird feeling of having invaded their privacy. A past memory you’ve long forgotten or suppressed but the emotion came up. Did anyone ever invade your privacy? Oh, and it was Cybil Shepherd who played opposite Bruce Willis in “Moonlighting”. I was hooked on that show!

    • No, no one ever invaded my privacy. And I’ve never invaded anyone’s privacy. Although I am very aware of everyone’s right to privacy. We use a lot of data in our industry and you have to be very careful. It is a fine line. Maybe that’s why. Who knows? It was just a crazy moment. Yes, it was Cybill Shephard! Thanks. It was driving me nuts.

  3. I think we know when we are stepping over the line. Sometimes in a comment thread a deeper more personal conversation sprouts between the poster and a responder/s. And I think we are all wise enough to see that and walk away from their personal conflab; just as you did. It has happened maybe once or twice in my trolling, but like I said, we all know when to walk away. Enjoyed this thought-provoking post. 🙂

    • Thanks. I agree. From what I’ve seen the WordPress community is made up of bright, thoughtful people. Same as I’ve experienced with the Toronto Fil Festival-goers.

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