Yet Another Election Part Two

Over at Kick & Scream, Rob Corr’s commenters kick around the idea of another non RWDB-centric Australian Blog Award.

Rob also has some interesting thoughts on bloggers and commenters meeting in “real life”. I’d be interested in hearing Troppo readers’ perspective on this. Do you think that meeting your fellow blogosphere denizens would deepen the interaction (I’ve often reacted differently to texts after meeting their authors) or is the blogosphere a fine place for interaction without taking it further?

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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James Russell
2022 years ago

I don’t see anything wrong with taking it further. Indeed, “taking it further” and meeting Tim Blair, for one, was a salutary experience for me.

Flute
2022 years ago

I’ve been to two fairly large meets, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney. After initial “crikey, who are these people” stutterings, the nights turned out to be crackers. Diverse passionate people getting together will never be a boring night.

Alex
Alex
2022 years ago

Meeting other blog addicts would be interesting, but I’m in Canberra, so I’m not likely to get to such gatherings too often.

Ken has commented on this issue in a roundabout way in his piece on why Troppo Armadillo. He pointed out that people often gain a particular impression of him based on recent posts, then get a surprise when he posts on another issue with what they think is an anomalous position. I’m comfortable with being surprised at times by the positions people take in blog posts/comments, just as I am with the capacity of people to surprise in face to face conversation. It’s part of the wonderful diversity of humanity!

Alex
Alex
2022 years ago

Flute, I suspect our American friends will misunderstand your description of blogger get togethers.
See definition 2 http://www.wordreference.com/definition/cracker

Tony.T
2022 years ago

I’ve been to lots of blog meets and am happy to report that no one I’ve met has been a tool. Except for … naaa, better not.

More importantly, no one I’ve met is better than me.

Zoe
Zoe
2022 years ago

Don’t fret, Alex, I am organising a Canberra thing. Details can be found at http://crazybrave.blogspot.com/2004/11/rites-of-sausage.html
All welcome.

Flute
2022 years ago

And don’t forget Melbourne next Thursday
http://dailyflute.blogspot.com/2004/11/melbourne-ii.html

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Zoe, I gave your Canberra meet a plug on another thread – http://troppoarmadillo.ubersportingpundit.com/archives/007804.html

I also linked to some of the coverage of the Sydney GrogBlogging meetup which seems by all reports to have been riotous fun.

I took Rob’s advice and followed the link to the blogging Meetup group here in Brissie but it seems to be inactive. Any Brisbane based bloggers or commenters feel free to contact me and maybe we could see what we could organise.

Next time I’m interstate I’m certainly going to get in touch with some bloggers and commenters whom I’m keen to meet. I love youse all, is my basic thinking on the question I posed…

Cameron Riley
2022 years ago

People from bulletin boards, IRC, newsgroups, forums etc have been meeting up for years. Some of them even get married. Others pay $50 a month for that kind of service that IRCers were getting for free. People are civic animals and will seek new ways to communicate. Plus nobody can hide behind a keyboard and crt forever.

Blogging is a more recent form of communication; and like previous forms it is not going to replace face to face or vocal communication. Like boards, IRC, newsgroups and forums, blogging serves as a great means of introduction to making new life long friends.

Cameron Riley
2022 years ago

I had a facetious link to http://www.match.com with the line, “Others pay $50 a month for that kind of service”. But it got stripped out.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Cameron, it’s nothing personal. While he works on setting up the Turing code, Scott’s turned off html tags in comments to discourage our usual friends who try to sell Troppo readers various potency enhancing drugs and gaming products…

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

Against my better judgement I reluctantly went to a meetup in Melb the other week and I seem to have survived the experience despite Nabakov making me cry about my choice of tie, boynton snaffling my pen, mallrat borrowing money off me to lose in pokies, GG Sedgwick muttering to himself whilst listening to the night trots on the small tranny held to his ears, barista constantly asking for more shoe polish and metho and lemonade, gummo threatening to report smokers to health department and Equal Opportunity Commission and other happenings too ‘orrible to mention.

I noticed reading Corr’s blog that there was a virtual kerfuffle about who has the franchise and naming rights to meets here in cybercoolcity.

[As an aside, I’m beginning to wonder if Corr doesn’t sit over there in WA and make up stories about blog contretemps in Melbourne to entertain himself. Ref: Ms Fits, panda and latest meet faction fight and branch stacking. I’m waiting for the meet issue to make Bolt or at least Crikey]

I wandered along to the blog meetup you beaut site and passively registered. Bunged Melbourne into search box and bugger me. Where I expected one small out of date blog meetup group from 3 years ago I was met with a Smorgy’s of choices.

My brain started to hurt at the social life I had been missing. See list here:
Witches Meetup, Bookcrossing Meetup, Spanish Language Meetup, LiveJournal Meetup, Insane Clown Posse Meetup, Weblogger Meetup, Buffy Meetup , Japanese Language Meetup, Expat American Meetup, SINGLES AND FRIENDS, Entrepreneur Meetup, PHP User, Knitting Meetup, The L Word Meetup, Looking for a Roommate Meetup, Vampire Meetup, Slashdot Meetup, French Language Meetup , Pagan Meetup, Expat Brit Meetup, Chinese Language Meetup, Ken Wilber Meetup , Elvis Meetup, Punk Meetup

Overwhelmed with possibilities I retired to think which meet I would attend first. Too hard. So I tried to see which I‘d least like to attend. Cross off Expat Brits first or PHP User, or Slashdot meet up. I don’t even know who Ken Wilber is, but I reckon having meet named after you must make one an uber blogger.

It’s late, I’m tired, one lot of substances are wearing off, the next lot hasn’t kicked in, and I still can’t make up my mind. Any suggestions appreciated.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Francis, being somewhat of a fan of the series, I registered for the Brisbane L Word Meetup but somehow think my presence might not be massively welcome… but you never know…

I like the pen portrait of the GG – exactly as I’d imagined him!

One thing I did notice about the Melbourne festivities is that people couldn’t wait to get back home (or to the nearest internet cafe?) and write about them on their sundry blogs…

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

ps – my suggestion would be that you try to meld the Buffy Meetup and the Vampire Meetup into one group – could be interesting?

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

cameron – I’ve been on irc for 10 years or so and resisted every meet. In most respects blogging has replaced issues and topic based irc.

Cameron Riley
2022 years ago

Francis, you dont know what you are missing then. I have met IRCers from all over the world, either at home or in my travels. It is definately a good thing.

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

cameron – oh I have met individuals but no group meets. In fact one person who was a co founder of a irc channel with me about 7 years ago abandoned irc a few years ago then morphed into a well known serious blogger. Now in hiatus.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

It all reminds me of an old anecdote from Dylan Thomas who described meeting T.S.Eliot. The old Anglican was in his braces, was drunk and fell down the stairs. (and yes, it took one to know one.)

Will our heroes turn out to be snuffling and smelly, leering at children in the street? Or just boring and mundane?

At least Mr Holden discovered that I am a man of surprising social grace – with the ability to lean over and suggest he should pop himself back inside his trousers without anyone at all noticing. In return he helped me distill a particularly fine can of boot polish around dawn on the banks of the Yarra.

A couple of years ago when the world was young, a reporter for Wired went into the jungle of online dating. Got on famously with one person until she found out he was homeless and lived in a phone booth. He cut into the line to connect his laptop to his ISP.

In general, i would say that meeting people does destroy some of the mystery. But it deepens the fun. This communication bit is about relating to human beings, which is enhanced by knowing them in more complex ways.

I suspect this is particularly important for writers. It is a solitary business and blogging is a great way of connecting writer to writer. Person to person somehow completes this, for me.

I was a bit relieved to discover that Nabakov is not actually an amorphous glob of wired cells in a box with nutrient hoses and a couple of well-trained gibbons to wheel him from phone socket to phone socket.

Now I am sorry I never said hello to Sophie earlier this year. I very nearly did, but I was always late for sessions.. and I don’t think she made the full week.

And Mark, if you come to Melbourne without looking me up, I will hex your aeroplane clean outta the sky – and damn the rest of the passengers.

The one rule for anyone meeting me is simple. Don’t expect me to be as entertaining in real life as I hope I am on the page. I’m just another ageing ratbag desperate for attention.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

David, it would be a pleasure. And I wouldn’t want any planes falling out of the sky!

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

I am not a particularly shy type, but when I get to know someone pretty well through telephone conversations or an exchange of emails (or blog cmments) I feel incredibly awkward on meeting them in the flesh for the first time. On the one hand, we are in many important respects strangers. On the other hand, we already know so much about each other that the usual small-talk ritual is unavailable as a way to break the ice. To make it worse, each party is terrified of not matching up to the persona he has crafted. Maybe it’s just me, getting my just deserts for being such a phoney, but I wonder if others experience this sensation.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

James, I’m not sure how distinctive the process of crafting an online persona in the blogosphere is. It seems to me that it’s just another way of representing ourselves – as we might do through writing, but more immediately. I’ve found when meeting people I’ve only known online the fact that we already know something about each other through that interaction is a comfortable substitute for small talk. But then, I’m not that good with small talk. I’m sure it’s a little different for everyone, but the whole process of moving from online to f2f interaction is surely a new thing, and must have some common elements in everyone’s experience, and if anyone knows of any studies into it, I’d be interested to hear from them.

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

James, I can relate to what you say, yes I can. But there are a couple of other things that bother me. One is the settings. I have a bit of environmental deafness. Most pubs, bars and eateries in this fair town are like echo chambers to me and I’m hard put to hear the person next to me. Any-one on the other side of a table is on another planet.

The other main problem is that I’m slow of brain and not good at one-liners. The film and ‘media’ mob I worked with in education could trade one-liners all night. Not my scene. Yet I perceive that many bloggers and commenters would excel at same. So yes it is a worry.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

Repartee ain’t much Brian. Substance is worth waiting for.

Most people don’t bother to build much of an alter ego in this world – what’s the point? but some do. At the far end of it, there’s someone out there blogging as a werewolf.. it can be a form of roleplay but almost completely absent in blogs where yarning about politics is the go. Like around here.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

David, forget where I read it but wasn’t there something in the press recently about some NZ blogger bloke blogging as a woman for years? Reminded me of the plethora of weird stuff about identity happening in fiction a while back – Helen Darville/Demidenko, that white guy pretending to be a Koorie, etc. I think on a blog though you’d need to be far more consistent with a fictional/constructed identity than just in the publicity for a book. Helen Darville probably had the most exposure, and the threads unravelled… What if she’d had a blog and had to interact with actual Ukrainians, or people who knew her and her family – it would have taken much more work (and a lot of deleted comments!) to maintain the pretence…

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Mark, Margot’s school had a staff Xmas get-together this pm at Merthyer Bowls Club near you at the end of Moray St. She was so impressed she took out a membership which cost her all of $2. Sounds a good place for some food and a quiet ale on the deck looking over the river this time of the year. May have possibilities for a congress of Brisbane bloggers.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

Mark (and David)

There’s a difference between adopting a whole identity (e.g. Ukrainian) that you can’t sustain, and creating a glossy persona drawing on your own culture or subculture. Like the Wizard of Oz.

What I’m describing is really just the presentation of self in everyday life, removed to another medium. (When John Quiggiin posted something aboout Erving Goffman a year ago, I commented that Goffman would have been fascinated by blogs.) But it’s easier to sustain a blog self than a face-to-face self. You don’t have to press ‘post’ until you’re ready. You can take all day to think of a witty put-down. You can be much more calm and dignified than you are in real life. And of course by means of the google miracle, with a casual name-drop or an obscure reference, you can sound like a world authority on something you only just heard of. (Or someone you’d forgotten about for 20 years, like Erving Goffman.)

Speaking of Helen Darville interacting with real Ukrainians, can any tell me why Norma Khouri wasn’t exposed much earlier? Didn’t she give lots of talks and interviews? Were none of them for Arabic speaking audiences? Presumably anyone from Jordan would have noticed that her accent and idiom were wrong.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Hi Brian – yes, Merthyr Bowls club is a really nice venue – cheap drinks, great views, beautiful river views. It’s a good idea too!

James, the idea of Goffman writing about blogs is intriguing!

On Norma Khouri, I think she was Jordanian (though had been living in the US for much longer than she suggested) – the heart of her deception seems to be the invention of a friend who’d been killed. But my memory of it’s a little hazy.

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

“You can be much more calm and dignified than you are in real life.”

james – I reckon people become ranters and insulters online for some reason when in my experience of meeting people f2f, “after” meeting and knowing online, is that with very few exceptions the death beasts (of any kind – not even necessarily political) are quiet polite inoffensive types.

I’m not including the recent melb bloggers mini meet the other week because I am sworn to secrecy – especially sworn to secrecy about GG Sedgwick’s consuming, and I fear potentially violent, obsession with forcing Bracks to bring back the pink coloured Sporting Globe.

I hav a book here that I run across again while “tidying up” the other week, by Sherry Turkle I think, about online personas,which has a thoughtful mix of intellectual and experiencial writing. Its a few years since I read it and she does talk mainly about MUDs and small bit about irc. I don’t know if MUDs are still around anymore.

I just googled – it is Sherry Turkle.
Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet.
http://www.transparencynow.com/turkle.htm

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

That’s interesting, FX. The docile person who becomes offensive on the net is almost the opposite of what I had in mind. I’ll see if Ms Turkle has a general theory that explains both phenomena.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

From memory, Francis and James, Turkle’s book is a good one but it’s also an age since I read it.

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

james – its a bit dense and over detailed I reckon from memory.

mark – its a long time since I read it and its a long time since she wrote it – 1995 I think. Thats nearly 10 years. In internet time thats 3 dog years or a Howage.