"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Monday, June 06, 2011

You Don't Know Me. Or Do You?

Last night I was talking to some friends about my most recently received "You're a terrible mother" diatribe from someone who took issue with one of my blog posts. It wasn't a regular reader, but simply someone who followed a single link, found me objectionable, and posted about it.

It's become easy for me to dismiss that kind of critique, because obviously that person doesn't know me. Reading one single blog post does not an expert make. And sure, it feels good sometimes (in a wrong kind of way) to make snap judgments about someone when they write things we disagree with, but the fact still remains: That person doesn't who I am as a person, who I am as a woman, or who I am as a mother. Maybe if she got to know me, she'd find I wasn't quite so terrible after all. Or maybe she'd think I was even worse of a human being than she'd imagined. But right now, today, she doesn't know me.

It all got me thinking.

Surely you can get to know people on the internet. Some of my dearest and nearest friends are people I've yet to see in person. I know them. I know their personalities, and I know their hearts, and I know their intentions. Simply by reading their words on a screen. To me, there is no distinction between online relationships and real-life relationships. It's ALL real-life. Those relationships though have taken conversations, back and forth sharing, and input and effort by both parties. Unless you're commenting and interacting, a blog is very different. A blog can be rather one-sided. Can you get to know someone through a blog?

While it's impossible to know someone based on one blog post, what about 50? Or 100? What if you've read every post I've ever written but never interacted with me?

Do you think you can get to know someone solely through reading their blog? Do you think you've gotten to know
me through reading my blog?

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“If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: 'He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.'” -Epictetus


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