What started as an experiment in how the Internet distributes content has become an experiment in human nature.
I started this blog back in August as a way to have hands experience about how the Internet distributes content – how fast, how deep and what gets picked up. I was pretty quiet about my blogging adventures largely because this was part of my education as I was tired of so called “experts” telling me how viral marketing worked. I wanted to understand it from the bottom up – by doing it myself. Also, I didn’t tell many people because I didn’t actually think my friends would be all that interested to be honest.
Slowly over time, though word got out among my circle of friends and I thought they would view it more as a laugh than anything else. Much to my surprise, though, people took it far more seriously than I ever did. More and more conversations started with, “are you going to blog that?” or “I hope you don’t blog that” or my favorite “you should blog that!”
At first I was amused – after all I probably IM more people in any given day than actually read this blog. But I’ve never liked being told what to do (if I don’t want to do it) and I certainly don’t like to be to told what NOT to do. So as the volume of friends’ blogging concerns became louder – I started to ponder …
What were they so afraid of?
I certainly live by the rules of the bloggers’ road as I articulated in my post entitled, “To blog or not to blog”. I would never jeopardize relationships by saying anything that would embarrass or in any way compromise someone. So I continued to ponder this for a while.
Why were so afraid of this little blog that ranks 2,124,856 according to Technorati?
And then it hit me. Blogging is fundamentally about a redistribution of power. Blogging potentially puts someone else in control of what the Internet sees and hears about you. A blogger (any blogger) can taint your reputation with a keyboard and an Internet connection and the blogger has tremendous power over what the Internet knows about you. Power shifts from the person owning their reputation to the blogger who can affect someone’s reputation more radically than the person themselves. High schools are struggling with this very phenomenon which has been termed cyber bullying. This is where vendettas are played out on the Internet and kid’s reputations are destroyed.
And that, it seems is the Blogging Boogie Man my friends are scared of.
So dear friends – rest assured. I will be magnanimous – yielding my new found power (however limited) for good. Let me take you by the hand and we’ll look under the digital bed together so you can see there are no boogie men hiding under there, no nasty monsters that will come back to bite you.
But if you need more reassurance, I will leave the digital nightlight on for you tonight J .