I think reading in the local "blogosphere" is somewhat addictive, an invitation to compulsiveness. I don't want to be like weird neighbor #1 who apparently has a full and imaginative life in front of his computer screen. But in real life? Not so much. I could become that way, just like WN#1 and I don't want to become that.
So I will just marvel that blogging certainly does seem to have trumped newspapers and maybe even TV and radio for finding out about local issues. Even the newspapers know it and have jumped on the bandwagon.
I only discovered the world of local bloggers quite recently after writing a letter to the editor about a problem one of my family members had with a city employee. It was published online too and people began to respond. I found it quite innocently; doing a Google search for similar situations, I was surprised to find my own letter at the top of the search results. My heart and belly ached as I saw the ignorance of many of the postings and the animosity of one person who was really involved. I was warned by someone I respect not to read the blogs, they would just upset me. But I couldn't help myself.
Now I read them daily and post regularly. I find I have more opinions than I thought I did. It took me years to develop opinions after carefully weeding them out of my writing in search of journalistic truth. Asked to write an editorial and I would go blank. I had too many people to please.
Blogs are better. I have no one to please. I can say what I really think and remain reasonable because I value reason, not because I fear someone's opinion of me. I wrote here recently that internet anonymity frees the inner monster in people. It also frees the inner crusader.
What I have learned about myself:
1) I am a human rights activist
2) I believe in order
3) I think marijuana should be legalized
4) I detest gangs, thievery and hard drugs and would support the police if I trusted them.
5) I am an advocate of youth.
6) I really believe in the idealistic principles of the country's Founders.
What I have learned about the world
1) Mob mentality rules
2) Chaos, anarchy and a tendency to lynch lurk in many human hearts
3) People feel most comfortable when they can lump people into categories, then dismiss whole groups of them
4) The world really is divided into two types of people, and this country's conservative/liberal division pretty much sums it up.
5) There is very little questing for human understanding going on.
There is more, but I will have to think about it.